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Are Pomegranates Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

On the ketogenic diet the goal is to keep your carbohydrate intake low enough. What about pomegranates, are they keto-friendly?

Pomegranates are a type of fruit with a thick outer skin with edible seeds inside. This fruit is mostly consumed on its own, as a snack or dessert, and as juice but it can play a role in salads and dessert recipes too.

The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in raw pomegranates is around 14.7 grams per 100 grams.

While it depends on the rest of your diet, for most people pomegranates are not very keto-friendly. This fruit is not completely off-limits but you will have to exercise some serious portion control.

In any case, there are many substitutes for pomegranates that are better for staying in ketosis.

When is a food keto-friendly

The goal of the ketogenic diet is to put your body into ketosis, a state where it starts mainly burning fat as a fuel (1). This comes down to more or less getting 55%-60% of your macronutrients from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates.

For most people this comes down to eating around 20g – 50g of carbohydrates a day.

In reality, this number is different depending on a lot of factors. For example, people who exercise a lot may be able to consume more carbohydrates before getting kicked out of ketosis.

That being said that daily amount can be a good general guideline.

It is also common to exclude fiber from this amount since it doesn’t get absorbed into your body the same way as regular carbohydrates.

Carbs in pomegranates

100 grams of pomegranates contains the following amounts of carbs (2):

  • Total carbs: 18.7 grams
  • Of which fiber: 4 grams
  • Net carbs: 14.7 grams

Combined with the other foods in your diet the 14.7 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of pomegranates is likely enough to kick you out of ketosis.

One ounce of pomegranates is about 28 grams and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 5.2 grams
  • Of which fiber: 1.1 grams
  • Net carbs: 4.1 grams

The number of net carbs in 1 ounce of pomegranates, 4.1 grams, is a bit easier to fit into a keto diet. Whether or not pomegranates are keto for you ultimately depends on the quantity, your individual situation, and the rest of your diet.

Carbs in pomegranate juice

The above amounts of net carbs in pomegranates are with regular raw pomegranates. You can also consume pomegranates as pomegranate juice but this will impact how keto-friendly it is.

Here is the comparison between raw pomegranates and pomegranate juice as an example (2, 3).

Values Per 100gRaw PomegranatesPomegranate Juice
Total Carbohydrates18.7 g13.1 g
Of Which Fiber4 g0.1 g
Net Carbs14.7 g13 g
Chart of carbs in raw pomegranate vs pomegranate juice

Surprisingly the number of net carbs per 100 grams in the pomegranate juice example is lower. You do need to keep in mind that it is a lot easier to consume 100 grams of pomegranate juice compared to the raw fruit. Fiber can also reduce the spike in blood sugar from food.

This example of pomegranate juice is also without added sugar. Many pomegranate juice brands do add sugar which makes this drink even less keto-friendly.

For these reasons, if you decide to eat pomegranates on the ketogenic diet, you still preferably want to eat them raw, not as pomegranate juice.

Other nutrients in pomegranates

Other nutrients like fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals also still matter on the ketogenic diet.

100 grams of raw pomegranates contains the following nutrients (2):

  • Calories: 83
  • Protein: 1.7 grams
  • Carbs: 18.7 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 4 grams
  • Fat: 1.2 grams
  • Vitamin K: 21% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Vitamin C: 17% of the DV
  • Folate: 10% of the DV
  • Copper: 8% of the DV
  • Potassium: 7% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

Pomegranates do contain a few valuable nutrients per 100 grams. That being said, you can definitely also find foods with more nutrients that are lower in net carbs.

How to avoid eating too much pomegranates

By now it is clear that to be able to fit pomegranates in your keto diet, you will have to exercise some portion control. Having a big bowl of eat-ready pomegranates near you and hoping that you don’t eat too much is not the ideal way to do this.

You can avoid eating too many pomegranates with some of the following tips:

  • Plan ahead, how much pomegranate will you eat?
  • Put the planned amount in a bowl and leave the rest of the pomegranates out of sight
  • Don’t eat during other activities like watching TV
  • Consider not buying it if you can’t control yourself

If you notice you get out of ketosis you may need to reduce the number of pomegranates you eat.

Substitutes for pomegranates on keto

Pomegranates are not the only option when you want to eat fruit on the ketogenic diet. Pomegranates are actually one of the fruits highest in net carbs so there are many fruits that are more keto-friendly.

Some of the following substitutes may be better on the keto diet. These are the net carb values per 100 grams (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9):

  • Blackberries: 4.9 grams of net carbs
  • Raspberries: 5.4 grams of net carbs
  • Strawberries: 5.7 grams of net carbs
  • Watermelon: 7.1 grams of net carbs
  • Cranberries: 7.6 grams of net carbs
  • Cantaloupe: 7.9 grams of net carbs

If you have trouble staying in ketosis but still have cravings for fruit, it may be smart to choose some of these substitutes over pomegranates. However, even with these examples you will have to exercise portion control to stay in ketosis.

What is your goal with keto?

Even a small portion of pomegranates added to certain daily diets can potentially put you just over the net carbs border, out of ketosis. Depending on the goal you have with keto this may or may not be a problem.

If your goal is to stay strictly in ketosis 24/7 you want to be careful about your carbohydrate intake.

If your goal is to lose weight and become healthier, pomegranates can be a decent food option even if they potentially put you at a carbohydrate level slightly above your ketosis level. That being said, for weight loss too there are better alternatives than pomegranates.

Even if you are just trying to lose weight pomegranate juice is generally not recommended.