Is pineapple good for low carb diet?

Quick Answers

Pineapple can be a great addition to a low carb diet when eaten in moderation. It is low in carbs and high in nutrients. One cup of pineapple has around 15 grams of carbs, so it can easily be incorporated into a keto meal plan. The fiber and water content in pineapple make it low glycemic as well. Pineapple is also rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that provide health benefits. So yes, pineapple can absolutely be part of a healthy low carb eating plan.

What is Pineapple?

Pineapple is a tropical fruit that originated in South America. It belongs to the Bromeliaceae plant family and its scientific name is Ananas comosus. Pineapples are the only edible member of the bromeliad family.

The pineapple plant has a short, stocky stem with stiff, waxy leaves. It takes around 2 years for the plant to produce its first fruit. The pineapple itself is a composite of many flowers whose individual fruitlets fuse together around a central core.

Pineapples are oval or cylindrical in shape with a green, brown or yellow outer skin. The flesh inside ranges from yellow to white in color with a mix of sweet and tart flavors. Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain that gives the fruit its tangy taste.

Some key nutrients found in pineapple include:

  • Vitamin C – Pineapple is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing 131% of the RDI in one cup.
  • Manganese – It contains over 100% of the RDI for manganese, a mineral involved in immunity, bone health and metabolism.
  • Vitamin B6 – Also known as pyridoxine, vitamin B6 helps support red blood cell production.
  • Copper – Important for heart health, copper is another mineral abundant in pineapple.
  • Thiamin – This B vitamin is needed to convert food into energy.
  • Folate – Essential for cell growth and DNA formation.
  • Potassium – A necessary electrolyte that regulates fluid balance.

In addition to vitamins and minerals, pineapple provides beneficial plant compounds like flavonoids, phenolic acids and bromelain. These function as antioxidants to reduce inflammation in the body.

Carb Content in Pineapple

Pineapple is one of the lowest carb fruits available.

One cup (165 grams) of pineapple chunks contains approximately:

  • Calories: 82
  • Net carbs: 13.7 grams
  • Fiber: 1.4 grams
  • Sugar: 11.8 grams

So in a typical serving size, pineapple provides around 14 grams of carbs. A good chunk of these carbs come from natural sugars like sucrose, glucose and fructose.

It also has a decent fiber content. The fiber and water in pineapple contribute to its low glycemic index, meaning it does not raise blood sugar levels as dramatically as other high sugar fruits.

Carb Count in Other Pineapple Products

Here is the carb count for other pineapple products:

  • 1 cup pineapple juice – 25.6 grams carbs
  • 1 ounce dried pineapple – 16 grams carbs
  • 5 pineapple rings canned in juice – 10.4 grams carbs
  • 1/2 cup pineapple salsa – 9 grams carbs

When making juices, sauces and other products, the concentration of sugar tends to increase relative to the fiber content. So these processed versions will be higher in carbs than fresh pineapple. Canned products also have added syrups that increase the carb amount.

Is Pineapple Keto-Friendly?

The ketogenic diet typically limits carbs to 20-50 grams per day. With around 14 grams of net carbs in one cup, pineapple can potentially fit into a keto low carb diet when eaten in moderation.

Here are some ways to incorporate pineapple into a keto meal plan:

  • Add 1/2 cup pineapple chunks to a green salad topped with coconut flakes, avocado and chicken.
  • Mix some pineapple into full-fat Greek yogurt for a quick dessert.
  • Blend pineapple with coconut milk, collagen and ice for a tropical keto smoothie.
  • Stir a few ounces of diced pineapple into egg scrambles.
  • Skewer pineapple chunks and grill them with bacon or ham.

When pairing pineapple with protein, healthy fats and fiber, the carb impact can be minimized. This allows you to enjoy the unique flavor and nutrition of pineapple while maintaining ketosis.

Glycemic Index of Pineapple

The glycemic index (GI) measures how much a food raises blood glucose levels.

Pineapple has a relatively low glycemic index of about 66. Foods are considered low GI if 55 or less, medium GI if 56-69 and high GI if 70 or more.

Pineapple’s low GI can be attributed to its fiber content. The fiber causes slower digestion, preventing blood sugar spikes. The water and acidity in pineapple also slow down its digestion and absorption.

Even though pineapple contains sugar, its low GI means it will not rapidly raise blood glucose levels compared to a high GI food like white bread.

This makes pineapple a good fruit choice for diabetics and those looking to better manage their blood sugar levels. The small amounts of carbs and low GI are less likely to disrupt ketosis as well.

Benefits of Pineapple for Low Carb Diets

Here are some of the top benefits that pineapple can provide for those on low carb, ketogenic and diabetic diets:

Low in Carbs

With only 13.7 net carbs per cup, pineapple is one of the lowest carb fruits. This makes it easy to incorporate into a low carb lifestyle. Just monitor your portions to account for the carbs.

High in Nutrients

Despite being low in carbs, pineapple is very nutrient dense. It provides ample amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are often lacking on restricted diets. Consuming pineapple enables you to get more of these beneficial nutrients into your low carb diet.

Contains Fiber

Pineapple offers a source of prebiotic fiber. Fiber is low in carbs and calories and helps regulate digestion. This fiber can help relieve constipation, which is a common side effect of ketogenic and low carb diets.

Has a Low Glycemic Index

The low glycemic index of pineapple means it does not cause large spikes in blood glucose levels compared to other high carb fruits. This makes it less likely to disrupt ketosis or negatively impact blood sugar control.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Pineapple provides antioxidants and enzymes like bromelain that fight inflammation in the body. Reducing inflammation can help enhance energy levels and improve overall health – both useful benefits on low carb diets.

Potential Downsides of Pineapple

While pineapple can be included as part of a low carb eating plan, there are some potential downsides to keep in mind:

Carb Count Adds Up Quickly

If you eat large amounts of pineapple, the carbs can accumulate over the course of a day. Sticking to a serving or two is best for low carb diets. Going overboard could easily knock you out of ketosis.

High in Fruit Sugar

Even though pineapple has a low glycemic index, almost all of its carbs come from sugar. Some restrict high sugar fruits to limit glycemic load on keto. Pineapple may cause cravings or hunger in some individuals.

Low in Fat

Pineapple itself offers little fat or protein. Be sure to balance it with fattier foods to avoid blood sugar and insulin spikes. This will help mitigate hunger and crashes.

Possible Allergies

Some people may be sensitive or allergic to bromelain in pineapple. Reactions can include swelling, rashes, vomiting and diarrhea. Discontinue use if any adverse symptoms develop.

Increased Risk of Cavities

Like other fruits, the sugars in pineapple could potentially increase the risk of dental caries and tooth decay if consumed excessively. Practice good oral hygiene and don’t overdo it.

Portion Control is Key

Pineapple can fit into a low carb lifestyle when consumed mindfully. Here are some tips for keeping portions in check:

  • Stick to 1 cup fresh pineapple or less per day
  • Measure out portions rather than eating straight from container
  • Avoid drinking large amounts of pineapple juice which concentrates the carbs
  • Read labels and track intake if eating dried, canned or processed pineapple products
  • Be careful not to go overboard by adding pineapple to multiple meals and snacks in a day

Tracking your carb intake from pineapple and being cautious with portion sizes will allow you to incorporate it without throwing yourself out of ketosis.

Opt for Fresh Over Canned or Dried

Fresh pineapple tends to have less carbs and more nutrients than canned or dried versions.

Canned pineapple is often packed in sugary syrup, which significantly increases the carb amount compared to fresh. Just 5 rings canned in juice can contain over 10 grams of carbs.

Dried pineapple is lower in water so the sugar content becomes concentrated. A 1-ounce serving of dried pineapple can provide 16 grams of carbs – more than a full cup of fresh!

For this reason, enjoy pineapple in its fresh form as often as possible when watching your carb intake. Read labels carefully and account for carbs if opting for canned, dried or juice.

Pair Pineapple With Other Low Carb Foods

Since pineapple itself is low in fat and protein, be sure to pair it with other macronutrient-rich foods to create a balanced, carb-conscious meal.

Some examples of keto-friendly foods to eat with pineapple include:

  • Nuts – Walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, almonds
  • Seeds – Chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds
  • Nut butters – Peanut butter, almond butter
  • Full-fat dairy – Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, hard cheeses
  • Coconut – Coconut flakes, coconut milk, coconut cream
  • Proteins – Chicken, beef, pork, fish, eggs, tofu
  • Non-starchy veggies – Greens, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers

Combining pineapple with foods that offer fat, protein and fiber helps slow the absorption of sugar in the fruit. This prevents spikes in insulin and blood glucose to minimize impacts on ketosis.

Watch Out for Added Sugars

Avoid pre-made foods sweetened with pineapple, as these often have added sugars that ramp up the carb count. For instance, pineapple upside down cake could have over 40 grams of carbs per slice.

Pineapple salsa, jam, juice and other products sometimes contain extra sweeteners as well. Check the nutrition facts and ingredients lists to identify added sugars. Stay away from these sweetened pineapple items if following a ketogenic diet.


Pineapple can be included in a low carb, ketogenic and diabetic diet when consumed in moderation. While it contains fruit sugar and carbs, the fiber, nutrients and low glycemic index make it a good choice. Enjoy fresh pineapple in your diet and aim for reasonable portion sizes around 1 cup per day max. Pair it with fatty foods to help regulate blood sugar response. This allows you to reap the benefits of pineapple’s unique flavor, nutrition and antioxidants while staying in ketosis.

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