How many cherries is OK on keto?

When following a ketogenic diet, limiting carb intake is key. While fruits like cherries contain important vitamins and minerals, they also contain natural sugars that can quickly add up. So how many cherries can you eat on keto?

Quick Answer

Most experts recommend limiting cherries to around 1/2 cup or less per day on keto. This provides around 12 grams net carbs. Track your totals and aim to stay within 20-50 grams daily.

How Many Net Carbs are in Cherries?

One cup (154g) of raw, pitted cherries contains:

  • Calories: 87
  • Fat: 0.3g
  • Protein: 1.6g
  • Carbs: 22g
  • Fiber: 2.4g

To find the net carbs, you subtract the fiber from the total carbs. So 1 cup of cherries has about 19.6g net carbs.

Typical serving sizes for cherries are:

Serving Grams Net Carbs
1 cup 154g 19.6g
1/2 cup 77g 9.8g
1/4 cup 38g 4.9g

As you can see, the net carbs add up quickly. Even a small 1/4 cup serving provides nearly 5 grams.

Daily Net Carb Limit on Keto

On keto, experts recommend keeping net carbs between 20-50 grams per day.

The recommended keto macros are:

  • Carbs: less than 50g daily, ideally 20-30g
  • Protein: 0.8-1.2g per pound of lean body mass
  • Fat: Fill in the rest of your daily calorie needs

Of the total carbs, you want the majority to come from fiber and you subtract fiber grams to calculate your net carbs.

The level of carb restriction needed to get into ketosis varies by individual. Some find they need to keep net carbs closer to 20-30g daily, while others can get away with up to 50g.

It’s best to start on the lower end around 20-30g and see how your body responds. You may be able to increase your carb intake slightly over time and remain in ketosis.

Why Net Carbs Matter on Keto

On keto, you want to restrict the carbs that significantly impact blood sugar levels. Total carbs measures all carbs, including from fiber.

But fiber is indigestible, so it does not raise blood sugar or insulin like other carbs. Subtracting out the fiber content gives you net digestible carbs.

For ketosis, net carbs give the most accurate representation of how a food will impact your body and ketone levels.

Can You Have Cherries on Keto?

Cherries contain natural fructose or fruit sugar. Because of their carb content, they are restricted but not completely off-limits on keto.

The key is keeping portion sizes very small and accounting for the net carbs in your daily totals.

Benefits of Cherries

Cherries provide some beneficial nutrients, despite the carbs. Some of the top nutrients in 1 cup (154g) cherries include:

  • 62mg anthocyanins – antioxidants for health
  • 19% DV vitamin C – immunity and collagen production
  • 2.6mcg melatonin – sleep regulation
  • 222mg potassium – electrolyte balance
  • 12% DV manganese – bone health

So while you need to limit portion sizes, cherries can provide antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and compounds like melatonin on keto diets.

Drawbacks of Cherries

The biggest drawback of cherries is their sugar and carb content. One cup provides:

  • 19.6 grams net carbs
  • 12.8 grams sugar
  • 57 calories from carbs

This can quickly use up a large chunk of your daily carb and calorie allotment.

They are also very easy to overeat. With a high water content and small pit, cherries are simple to pop one after another.

How Many Cherries Fit into Keto Macros?

To work cherries into your keto diet, portion control is key. Most experts recommend limiting cherries to about 1/2 cup or less per day.

This fits into a typical keto diet providing around:

  • 50g net carbs
  • 1,700 calories

Here’s how 1/2 cup cherries would fit into those daily keto macros:

Macros Grams Calories
Net carbs 9.8g 39
Fat 0.2g 1.6
Protein 0.8g 3.2
Totals 10.8g 43

As you can see, 1/2 cup cherries provides around 10 grams net carbs and minimal calories.

This fits nicely into a standard keto plan. You still have 40+ grams remaining for other carbs and around 1,650 calories for fat and protein.

Typical Keto Cherry Portions

Here are typical keto-friendly serving sizes for fresh cherries:

  • 1/2 cup or less
  • About 15 cherries
  • 100 grams or 3.5oz

Even if you reduce the portion to 15 cherries, you still get around 6 grams net carbs. So it’s hard to really eat more than about 1/2 cup and stay within keto carb ranges.

Tracking Your Carbs from Cherries

To fit cherries into your keto diet, make sure to accurately track portions and net carbs.

Weighing or measuring servings is best versus eyeballing portions. It’s very easy to underestimate serving sizes.

You also need to check labels and internet sources to find the exact carb counts for the variety you are eating. This varies slightly between types of cherries.

Here are some of the most common varieties and their net carbs in 1/2 cup:

Type of Cherry Net Carbs in 1/2 Cup
Bing cherries 9.7g
Rainier cherries 10.3g
Maraschino cherries 13.4g
Sweet cherries 9.8g
Sour cherries 9.1g

Be sure to look up the exact variety you are eating, as the carb count can vary. And track your portions diligently along with other carb sources throughout your day.

Tips to Fit Cherries into Keto Diet

Here are some tips to help you fit cherries into your keto diet:

1. Account for Net Carbs

Always check labels or online data for the exact net carbs in the serving size of cherries you eat. Different varieties can change the totals.

2. Weigh Portions

Measuring servings by weight or cup measurements gives you a more accurate carb count versus estimating portions.

3. Limit to 1/2 Cup or Less

A good general guideline is limiting cherries to about 1/2 cup or less per day to keep net carbs moderate.

4. Count Cherries as 15 Per Serving

If counting whole cherries, limit to about 15 cherries or less as a serving.

5. Pair with Low-Carb Foods

Combine cherries with low-carb foods like unsweetened Greek yogurt or nut butter to help keep meal totals low.

6. Watch Maraschino Cherries

Maraschino cherries are packed in syrup, so make sure to account for the added sugar.

7. Skip Dried Cherries

Dried cherries are super concentrated in sugar, so are difficult to fit into keto macros.

8. Enjoy In Moderation

Savor small cherry servings as an occasional treat a couple times per week versus daily.

Keto-Friendly Cherry Recipes

Here are some keto-approved recipes using measured portions of cherries:

Keto Cherry Cobbler

This cobbler uses coconut flour and almond flour for a lower carb crust. Just 6 ounces of pitted cherries keeps net carbs to 5g in each serving.

Keto Cherry Smoothie

Blending 10 whole cherries with unsweetened almond milk and chia seeds makes a balanced 120 calorie keto smoothie.

Cherry Cheese Ball

Mixing 1/4 cup dried, tart cherries into a creamy cheese ball keeps net carbs under 3 grams per cheese ball.

Grilled Pork Chops with Cherry Salsa

The salsa is made keto-friendly using 1/2 cup chopped cherries, red onion, cilantro and lime juice over pork.

Chocolate Cherry Fat Bombs

Blend melted cacao butter with almond butter and just 2 chopped cherries for an easy, decadent fat bomb.

Should You Avoid Cherries on Keto?

Overall, most healthy adults don’t necessarily need to fully avoid cherries on keto. The key is enjoying them in moderation and carefully tracking portions.

Here are some reasons you may want to further limit or avoid cherries on a ketogenic diet:

  • Goals to get into deeper nutritional ketosis with carb restriction under 30g daily
  • Stalling weight loss or difficulty getting into ketosis
  • Sensitivities to FODMAPs or fructose intolerance
  • History of disordered eating or bingeing on sugary foods

In these cases, it can be best to leave higher sugar fruits like cherries out. Focus instead on lower glycemic options like berries in smaller amounts.

Healthier Keto Fruit Choices

For those wanting to limit carbs from fruit, here are some of the best low glycemic, lower sugar fruit options:

  • Berries – raspberries, blackberries, blueberries
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
  • Star fruit
  • Fresh coconuts
  • Lemons/limes
  • Olives

These all can be eaten in moderation on keto, even in smaller amounts like 1/4 – 1/2 cup servings.

Other Low-Carb Cherries Options

If you want the flavor without all the carbs, opt for these low-carb cherry alternatives:

  • Unsweetened cherry extract
  • Sugar-free cherry syrups
  • Cherry-flavored collagen peptides or protein powder

This allows you to get the taste you crave without extra carbs or throwing you off ketosis.


Cherries contain beneficial nutrients but their carb content means portion control is essential. Keep net carbs in check by limiting fresh cherries to around 1/2 cup or 15 cherries daily on keto. Track your servings diligently and pair with lower carb foods to help cherries fit into your macros.

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