There are many types of foods that can prove tricky to eat while on the keto diet. One of those foods is definitely fruit. That’s because the popular ketogenic diet is built on significantly limiting your overall intake of carbohydrates, and certain types of fruit are actually packed with carbs because of their sugar content – often a lot more carbs than you’d think.
The idea of the keto diet is to keep your body in a ketogenic state; this means that you’ll naturally burn your source of fat for energy, rather than the carbs your body stores. To accomplish this, the ketogenic diet focuses on foods that are high in fat, very low in carbs, and moderate in protein. Maintaining ketosis can aid with weight loss and improve your overall health and body function.
When it comes to fruit, it can be confusing to know which varieties are keto-friendly and which ones aren’t. It all comes down to their net carbs – which essentially means the fruit’s total carbohydrates content, minus their fiber content. So where does the juicy, refreshing, vitamin-C filled orange net out for those following a keto diet?
The verdict: oranges are NOT keto-friendly
Unfortunately, oranges are not considered a keto-friendly food. While the fruit is fairly high in fiber, there’s not quite enough fiber content to cancel out the amount of carbs it contains – so it ends up being a high-carb fruit that doesn’t fit into a keto diet. (Unfortunately, that means no orange juice on the keto diet, either).
Since daily net carbs are supposed to be kept at a low intake when following the keto diet, an orange would simply take up too much of that allowance to pass as a keto-friendly snack or addition to a meal. Most people need to stick to a range of 20 to 50 grams of net carbs per day on the keto diet, depending on their specific needs, to maintain ketosis.
One medium-sized navel orange typically contains around 16 grams of total carbohydrates. Since it has under 3 grams of fiber, an orange comes out to nearly 14 grams of net carbs – which means that one piece of fruit could account for half of your net carb intake for the whole day. You can decrease that number if you go for a smaller orange, or a different variety like a mandarin, but overall the whole fruit will account for too many carbs to be a keto-approved choice.
That said, eating one single orange won’t automatically kick your body out of ketosis, and you can certainly enjoy a squeeze or a slice on occasion – or even something like a keto orange chicken. If you’re looking for that orange flavoring, there are some substitutes that will work great on a keto diet, like orange zest or orange extract, which you can use in both sweet and savory recipes.
Which fruits are keto-friendly?
Okay, so you can’t have oranges on the keto diet…but if you’re wondering which fruits you can enjoy, there are still some varieties to choose from that can help you satisfy that fruit craving or add something sweet and delicious to your day.
Most fruits are similar to oranges and contain a high amount of carbs – like bananas, apples, mangoes, and dried fruits, which are all high in sugar. But certain types of fruit – like berries, which contain a decent amount of fiber – have a lower net carb content, and can be enjoyed in moderation without threatening ketosis.
The following fruits are all low in net carbs and make for keto-friendly options:
Because of their high carb and sugar content, oranges are not considered a keto-friendly food.
Yes, if you’re looking for an orange flavor but want to keep your meal keto and avoid eating the fruit itself, you can replace an orange with these keto-friendly substitutes: fresh orange zest, dried orange peel, or orange extract.
Oranges typically contain anywhere between 12 and 18 grams of total carbohydrates. Once their fiber content is factored in, most oranges amount to above 10 grams, and often closer to 14 grams, of net carbs.
Net carbs are calculated by taking the total grams of carbohydrates (which includes sugars), and subtracting the grams of fiber. This number will give you the net carbs, in grams, for a specific food.