Welcome back keto friends! I’m excited to tackle this question about whether green apples can be part of a ketogenic diet. As a Certified Ketogenic Coach, I get asked this a lot by my clients who are new to keto and love crunchy green apples. I’ll walk through everything you need to know about the carb count, glycemic index, and other factors to consider when eating green apples on keto.
The Basics of Keto
First, a quick refresher on the ketogenic diet: keto is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When you severely restrict carbs to around 25-50 grams per day, your body burns fat for fuel instead of carbs. This produces ketones, which supply energy to your brain and body. To stay in ketosis, you’ll need to keep net carbs low and get 60-75% of calories from fat with adequate protein.
Carb Count of Green Apples
When considering any fruit on keto, the total carb count is extremely important. Here are the carb counts in 1 medium green apple (182 grams):
- Total carbs: 25 grams
- Fiber: 4.4 grams
- Sugar: 19 grams
- Net carbs: 21 grams
As you can see, one green apple contains a hefty dose of total carbs and sugar. After subtracting fiber, the net carb count comes to 21 grams per apple.
Daily Net Carb Limit on Keto
To determine if green apples fit into your keto diet, you’ll need to consider your personal daily net carb limit. Here are some general recommendations:
|Keto Carb Recommendation
|Daily Net Carb Limit
|Standard ketogenic diet
|Cyclical keto diet
|Up to 80-100 grams on high-carb days
|Strict keto diet
As you can see, most keto plans aim to keep net carbs around 20-50 grams each day. Some allow for the occasional higher carb day or meal, especially if you are an athlete. But for most standard keto and weight loss plans, sticking to 20-30 net grams is recommended.
Can You Eat Green Apples on Keto?
Given the 21 gram net carb count in a medium green apple, it is difficult to fit it into a standard ketogenic diet. Eating a whole apple would likely max out your daily carb limit in one snack. However, there are a few options if you want to work green apples into your keto plan:
- Eat a smaller apple – Opt for a small green apple, which has about 15 grams net carbs. Pair it with a low-carb high-fat side like nut butter.
- Slice it up – Cut your green apple into thin slices and eat 5-10 slices at a time. This will spread the carbs out over multiple snacks.
- Save it for a high-carb day – If you follow cyclical keto, enjoy green apples on your designated high-carb days.
Glycemic Index and Load
In addition to net carbs, it’s helpful to look at a fruit’s glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL). This measures how quickly a food raises your blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI or GL can spike blood sugar, which is something you’ll want to avoid on keto.
Here are the GI and GL scores for green apples:
|Low – 39
|Low – 6
Green apples have a low GI and GL, meaning they will have less of an impact on blood sugar compared to high-GI foods like dates or white bread.
Fiber is an important nutrient on keto for gut health, digestion, and feeling full. One medium green apple contains 4.4 grams of fiber, which provides 17% of the Daily Value.
Aim for 25-30 grams of fiber per day on keto. While green apples provide a decent fiber punch, you’ll need to get fiber from other low-carb foods like avocado, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and non-starchy vegetables.
Vitamins, Minerals, and Antioxidants
In addition to fiber, green apples provide an array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants:
- Vitamin C – 9% DV
- Potassium – 5% DV
- Vitamin K – 5% DV
- Quercetin – antioxidant that may reduce inflammation
- Catechin – antioxidant that may protect brain cells
These nutrients and antioxidants can support your immune system, blood pressure, brain function, and more on keto. However, you can get these micronutrients from lower-carb foods as well.
Health Benefits of Apples
Studies show that eating apples may provide these health benefits:
- Lower LDL “bad” cholesterol and reduce heart disease risk
- Improve gut health and promote good bacteria
- Regulate blood sugar and insulin levels
- Support brain health and reduce risk of neurodegenerative diseases
- Provide anti-cancer benefits and reduce risk of certain cancers
The fiber, antioxidants, and polyphenols in apples likely contribute to these benefits. However, more research is needed on apples specifically.
Best Low-Carb Fruit Alternatives
If you want to avoid the high carb count in green apples, here are some delicious keto-friendly fruit options:
|Net Carbs per Cup
Focus on getting your fill of low-glycemic berries, citrus fruits, avocado, olives, and coconut on keto. They provide nutrients plus fiber and healthy fats.
The Bottom Line
At 21 grams net carbs per medium-sized apple, green apples are quite high in carbs compared to the limits of a standard ketogenic diet. While green apples provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, you can get plenty of these nutrients from lower-carb foods.
If you really love green apples, enjoy a slim wedge along with nut butter or save them for the occasional higher carb day. Otherwise, berries, lemons, limes, avocados and olives make excellent keto-friendly fruit choices without spiking blood sugar.
As always, work with a qualified dietitian or nutritionist if you have any concerns about modifying your keto diet or health conditions that require special nutrition planning. I hope this gives you a balanced overview on whether green apples can fit into your ketogenic lifestyle!