Are peaches OK on a low carb diet?

Quick Answer

Peaches can be included in moderation on a low carb diet. A medium peach contains around 15 grams of net carbs, so they should be limited to stay within daily carb intake goals. The fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in peaches provide health benefits, so enjoying a serving occasionally can be part of a healthy low carb eating pattern.

Carb Count of Peaches

The total carbohydrate content of a medium peach is around 15 grams. However, over half of those carbs come from fiber. Fiber does not raise blood sugar levels or require insulin like other carbs.

The net carb count, which is total carbs minus fiber, is what matters most on a low carb diet. A medium peach contains about 6-7 grams of net carbs.

Here is the carb breakdown for a medium peach (5.5 oz or 154g) [1]:

Nutrient Amount
Total carbohydrate 15g
Dietary fiber 2g
Sugars 13g
Net carbs 6-7g

As you can see, the total carb content is not too high considering the serving size. And once you account for the high fiber content, the net carb count is reasonably low.

Daily Net Carb Goal on a Low Carb Diet

To stay in ketosis and maintain the benefits of a low carb or keto diet, daily net carb intake is typically limited to 20-50 grams per day.

For most people, aiming for 20-30 grams of net carbs allows enough room in the diet for some carb-containing fruits and vegetables. It still keeps total carbs low enough to achieve ketosis.

With 6-7 net grams of carbs per serving, one medium peach would use up about one third of a daily low carb carb allowance.

So peaches can fit into a low carb eating plan, but portions need to be managed. One whole peach would be a sensible portion for most low carbers. Two peaches in a day may put you over a 30 gram carb limit.

Glycemic Index and Load of Peaches

The glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) are measures of how a carbohydrate food impacts blood sugar levels.

Foods high on the GI raise blood sugar more rapidly. GL accounts for serving sizes and indicates the overall blood sugar effect of a typical serving.

Peaches have a low to moderate GI and GL [2]:

Peaches GI GL
Raw 42 5
Canned in syrup 55 8

This means peaches provide a relatively gradual rise in blood sugar compared to other fruits. The GL is low, indicating a small overall blood sugar impact per serving.

This blood sugar Friendly quality makes peaches a better choice for low carb and diabetic diets compared to high GI fruits like grapes, pineapple and watermelon.

Nutrition Profile of Peaches

In addition to being low in net carbs, peaches provide an array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

One medium peach (5.5 oz) contains [1]:

Vitamins Minerals Antioxidants
  • Vitamin C – 10% RDI
  • Vitamin A – 6% RDI
  • Niacin – 5% RDI
  • Vitamin E – 4% RDI
  • Vitamin K – 4% RDI
  • Thiamin – 4% RDI
  • Folate – 4% RDI
  • Potassium – 6% RDI
  • Phosphorus – 4% RDI
  • Magnesium – 3% RDI
  • Calcium – 2% RDI
  • Iron – 2% RDI
  • Zinc – 2% RDI
  • Copper – 5% RDI
  • Manganese – 4% RDI
  • Beta-carotene
  • Lutein & Zeaxanthin
  • Cryptoxanthin
  • Hydroxycinnamic acids

Some of the standout nutrients in peaches include:

– Vitamin C – An antioxidant that supports immune function and collagen production.

– Vitamin A – Important for eye health, immune function and cellular communication.

– Potassium – Needed for blood pressure regulation, fluid balance and muscle contraction. Many people don’t get enough potassium.

– Niacin – Helps convert food into energy and supports nervous system function.

– Antioxidants – Lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene and others help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.

So while peaches provide carbs and natural sugar, they also supply a nutritious package of vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds. Enjoying them in moderation can be healthy on a low carb diet.

Benefits of Peaches

Here is more on some of the top benefits that peaches provide:

May support heart health

Peaches contain nutrients linked to better cardiovascular wellness. The potassium helps control blood pressure. And the antioxidants may reduce oxidation of LDL cholesterol and damage to blood vessels [3].

May reduce cancer risk

The antioxidant content of peaches may help prevent cancers. Peach extract and compounds isolated from peaches have shown anti-tumor potential in laboratory studies [4, 5].

May support healthy digestion

The fiber, water and nutrients in peaches benefit digestive health. Fiber promotes regularity and healthy gut bacteria. The sorbitol sugar alcohol they contain acts as a natural laxative [6].

May benefit skin health

Thanks to their lutein, beta-carotene, vitamin C and zinc, peaches provide nutrients that support skin health. These nutrients help protect the skin from sun damage and oxidative stress [7].

May reduce inflammation

Chronic inflammation drives numerous diseases when unchecked. The antioxidants and phenolic compounds found in peaches exhibit anti-inflammatory effects that may help [8].

May support healthy bones

Peaches contain nutrients like vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium that support bone health. They may help reduce bone loss and risk of osteoporosis [9].

May lower diabetes risk

Some evidence suggests the phenolic compounds in peaches may help regulate blood sugar levels and insulin secretion, reducing diabetes risk [10].

Downsides of Peaches

Peaches do contain natural sugar. One medium peach has around 13 grams of sugar.

This is not a problem in small portions. But overdoing high sugar fruits could make blood sugar control more difficult. Those with diabetes should be mindful of portions.

Peaches are also high in FODMAPs, carbohydrates that can cause digestive distress in some people. Peaches contain the FODMAPs fructose and sorbitol [11].

Those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may want to limit peach intake to see if symptoms improve. Otherwise, peaches are generally well tolerated since they supply fiber that feeds healthy gut bacteria.

As with any fruit, moderation is key. One or two peaches per day can be incorporated into a low carb diet for most healthy individuals without issue.

Best Time to Eat Peaches on Low Carb

The optimal time to eat high carb fruits on a low carb diet is when you are more physically active.

Your body can use the glucose from carb foods for energy during and after exercise. Having peaches before or after a workout allows the carbs to be utilized rather than overly spiking blood sugar levels.

Peaches also pair well with protein foods like Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or nuts. The protein and fat helps slow digestion, resulting in a more gradual rise in blood sugar.

For instance, a peach with a handful of almonds or pecans makes a balanced low carb snack or light breakfast.

Tips for Maximizing Your Peach Nutrition

Here are some tips to get the most out of peaches when you enjoy them:

– Choose ripe peaches at peak freshness. They are sweeter and provide more antioxidants when ripe.

– Wash well before eating. Peaches tend to have a fuzzy peel that holds pesticides.

– Leave the skin on. Many of the nutrients in peaches are found in or just under the skin.

– Slice and add to yogurt, oatmeal or salads. Or blend into smoothies.

– Bake, grill or roast for a warm dessert. This caramelizes natural sugars.

– Freeze slices to use later in shakes. The cold, sweet peach slices make smoothies more refreshing.

Low Carb Peach Dessert Recipes

When you want to enjoy the flavor and nutrition of peaches in a low carb dessert, here are some tasty options:

Baked Peaches with Cinnamon Pecans

– Ingredients: peaches, pecans, cinnamon, butter.
– Directions: Slice peaches and top with pecans, cinnamon and small pieces of butter. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes until warmed through.

No Sugar Added Peach Ice Cream

– Ingredients: frozen peaches, heavy cream, powdered monk fruit/erythritol sweetener.
– Directions: Blend all ingredients in a food processor until creamy. Freeze until set.

Peach Fat Bombs

– Ingredients: cream cheese, peach extract, vanilla extract, powdered erythritol, chopped pecans.
– Directions: Mix ingredients together. Form into 1-inch balls and freeze until solid.

Peach Avocado Smoothie

– Ingredients: frozen peaches, avocado, almond milk, collagen peptides, cinnamon.
– Directions: Blend all ingredients together until smooth and creamy.

Grilled Peaches with Mascarpone

– Ingredients: peaches, mascarpone cheese, vanilla, sugar-free syrup.
– Directions: Slice peaches and grill for 2-3 minutes per side. Top with sweetened mascarpone cheese.

The Bottom Line

Peaches can be part of a healthy low carb diet when enjoyed in moderation. Limit to one or two medium peaches per day to keep net carbs within your target range.

Time carb intake around physical activity. Pair peaches with protein or fat for better blood sugar control. Select ripe, in-season peaches and include the skin to maximize nutrition.

While peaches do contain natural sugars, they also provide antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that benefit health in small servings. Allowing an occasional peach is a nice way to add more variety to your low carb diet.

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