What fruits should I avoid on a low carb diet?

A low carb diet limits carbohydrates to help manage blood sugar levels. Typically, a low carb diet restricts carb intake to less than 130 grams per day (1).

While limiting carbs can be beneficial for some people, cutting carbs too low can make it difficult to get enough nutrients from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Moderation is key.

When following a low carb diet, focus on getting carbs from nutritious, fiber-rich sources like vegetables, berries, and legumes. Limit high-sugar fruits and starchy foods like bread, pasta, and rice (2).

This article reviews common fruits and whether they fit into a low carb diet.

What is considered low carb?

There’s no standard definition for what is considered a low carb diet. Generally, low carb eating patterns limit total carbs to 130 grams or fewer per day.

Here’s a breakdown of different low carb diet carb ranges (1, 3):

– Very low carb: Less than 50 grams per day
– Low carb: 50–130 grams per day
– Moderate carb: 130–225 grams per day
– High carb: More than 225 grams per day

The level of carb restriction that’s right for you depends on your health goals, activity levels, medical history, and personal tolerance.

Work with a healthcare provider or dietitian to determine your carbohydrate needs. Tracking your macronutrients using an app can also help you stay within your optimal carb range.

Fruits to avoid on a low carb diet

When limiting carbs, it’s important to choose fruits that are lower in sugar and higher in nutrients.

Avoid fruits that are high in sugar and low in fiber. Fiber helps slow digestion, allowing for a more gradual rise in blood sugar (4).

It’s also best to limit intake of dried fruits and fruit juices, which are concentrated sources of sugar and carbs.

Here are some fruits that are higher in carbs that you may want to limit on a strict low carb diet:


Bananas are one of the most popular fruits in the American diet.

However, they’re high in carbs, providing about 27 grams of net carbs in a medium banana (5).

Plus, as bananas ripen, their starch turns into sugar. This makes very ripe bananas higher in sugar and carbs than unripe ones (6).


Mangoes are a tropical fruit known for their sweet taste and creamy texture.

Yet, they’re also high in carbs, with around 28 grams of net carbs in an average mango (7).

What’s more, over half of the carb content in mangoes comes from sugar (7).


Grapes are nutrient-dense fruits filled with beneficial plant compounds.

Nonetheless, around 3⁄4 of their carb content comes from sugar. A cup (151 grams) of grapes provides about 27 grams of net carbs, most of which is sugar (8).

For this reason, grapes may not fit into a strict low carb diet. However, eating them in moderation is unlikely to significantly impact blood sugar levels for most.


Cherries make a delicious snack or tart topping, but they’re fairly high in carbs.

A cup (155 grams) of cherries contains about 22 grams of net carbs. Plus, 89% of their carb content comes from sugar (9).

While fresh cherries can fit into a more moderate low carb diet, limiting your intake to a small serving is best if restricting carbs more strictly.


Prunes, or dried plums, have a high natural sugar content.

In fact, a 1⁄4 cup (44 grams) of prunes provides over 50% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for carbs. Prunes get over 97% of their calories from carbs, packing 25 grams of net carbs per 1⁄4 cup (44 grams) (10).

If you’re counting carbs carefully, it’s best to use caution with portion sizes of prunes and other dried fruits.


Pineapple is a healthy fruit loaded with vitamin C, antioxidants, and enzymes like bromelain (11).

However, it’s fairly high in carbs, with about 21 grams of net carbs in a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving (12).

While fresh pineapple can be enjoyed in moderation on a low carb diet, it may be best limited to small portions.


Watermelon is a refreshing, hydrating fruit that’s especially popular in warmer months. It’s high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and lycopene.

That said, watermelon has a high glycemic index (GI), meaning it rapidly raises blood sugar levels after eating it (13).

One wedge of watermelon (286 grams) contains 11.6 grams of net carbs (14).

Dried fruit

All types of dried fruit should be limited on a low carb diet, including raisins, dates, figs, and apricots.

Dried fruits are higher in calories and carbs than their fresh versions. For example, 1⁄4 cup (44 grams) of raisins contains over 30 grams of net carbs, almost all of which is sugar (15).

Although healthy in small portions, it’s best to avoid dried fruit if you’re counting carbs and limiting sugar intake.

Fruit juice

While 100% fruit juice provides some vitamins, you should limit intake on a low carb diet.

Juices like orange juice, apple juice, and grape juice are high in sugar and carbs but lower in fiber compared to whole fruit. This makes it easy to take in high amounts of sugar very quickly (16).

It’s best to cap fruit juice at 4–6 ounces (118–177 ml) per day and focus on getting your fruit from whole food sources that also provide fiber.

Low carb diet-friendly fruits

Many delicious fruits can be enjoyed in moderation on a low carb diet.

The fruits below are lower in carbs, so they won’t significantly impact your blood sugar levels.

However, portions still matter. Even lower carb fruits should be eaten in limited amounts if you’re restricting carbs to less than 50 grams per day.


Avocados are incredibly nutritious, providing nearly 20 vitamins and minerals plus fiber and plant compounds (17).

Although avocados are technically a fruit, they’re low in carbs. Each 1-ounce (28-gram) serving provides just under 2 grams of net carbs (18).

Avocados are a great high fat, low carb food. Add them to salads, smoothies, or savory dishes for a creamy, rich texture.


Blackberries provide an impressive amount of antioxidant anthocyanins, which give this fruit its dark color (19).

They’re also low in net carbs. A 1-cup (144-gram) serving contains about 5 grams of net carbs (20).

Berries like blackberries make an excellent addition to a low carb diet.


Coconuts are an awesome low carb food. The milk and flesh are high in healthy fats.

A cup (80 grams) of shredded coconut contains just over 5 grams of net carbs (21).

Here are a few ways to enjoy coconut on a low carb diet:

– Add shredded coconut to yogurt, baked goods, oatmeal, or smoothies.

– Use coconut milk in soups, stews, chia pudding, overnight oats, or sauces.

– Snack on coconut chips or add toasted coconut flakes to trail mix.

Lemons and limes

Lemons and limes provide lots of flavor with minimal carbs.

One fluid ounce (30 ml) of lemon or lime juice contains between 1–2 grams of net carbs (22, 23).

Squeeze some lemon or lime juice over fish, salads, avocado toast, orcooked veggies to add fresh flavor.


Olives provide lots of healthy fats along with vitamin E, iron, copper, and calcium (24).

Ten large olives have less than 1 gram of net carbs (25).

Add olives to salads, homemade pizzas, antipasto platters, tapenades, and Mediterranean dishes.

Star fruit

Exotic star fruit is sweet, crunchy, and full of vitamin C and antioxidants (26, 27).

A 1-cup (151-gram) serving contains about 11 grams of net carbs. However, you can enjoy a few star fruit as part of a mixed fruit salad on a low carb diet (28).


Strawberries are nutritious, low carb berries.

They’re rich in vitamin C, manganese, folate, and antioxidants. Just 1 cup (144 grams) provides under 12 grams of net carbs (29, 30).

Add strawberries to smoothies, salads or yogurt, or enjoy them plain for a healthy low carb snack.


Tomatoes have a rich flavor and saucy texture. Although fruits, tomatoes are generally grouped with vegetables because of their lower sugar content.

One cup (149 grams) of cherry tomatoes contains around 5 grams of net carbs (31).

Enjoy tomatoes raw in salads, sautéed with olive oil and herbs, blended into sauces, or roasted.

Other low carb fruits

Other fruits that can be enjoyed in moderation on a low carb diet include:


About 5 grams of net carbs per apricot (32)


Around 11–12 grams of net carbs per cup (33)


Around 10 grams of net carbs per cup (34)


Around 11 grams of net carbs per half (35)


Around 9 grams of net carbs per fruit (36)


About 10 grams of net carbs per cup (37)


Around 11 grams of net carbs per kiwi (38)


Roughly 11 grams of net carbs each (39)


Around 13 grams of net carbs per cup (40)


About 12 grams of net carbs each (41)


Around 19 grams of net carbs per medium pear (42)


About 11 grams of net carbs per plum (43)


Just 4 grams of net carbs per cup (44)


Around 10 grams of net carbs per tangerine (45)

Fruits to eat sparingly

The fruits below are higher in carbs so should be limited on a strict low carb diet under 50–60 grams of carbs per day.

However, you may be able to work in small portions of these fruits if your low carb diet is more moderate at 70–130 grams of carbs daily.


About 19 grams of net carbs per medium apple (46)


Around 20 grams of net carbs per cup (47)


About 24 grams of net carbs per fig (48)


Around 11 grams of net carbs per half (49)


Around 25 grams of net carbs per cup, cubed (50)


About 12 grams of net carbs per orange (51)


Around 12 grams of net carbs each (52)


About 19 grams of net carbs per medium pear (53)


Around 18 grams of net carbs each (54)


About 21 grams of net carbs per cup, chunks (55)


Around 20 grams of net carbs per pomegranate (56)


About 12 grams of net carbs per cup, diced (57)

Tips for choosing low carb fruits

Here are some tips to choose low carb fruits:

– Focus on berries, citrus fruits, avocados, tomatoes, and small portions of tropical fruits like kiwi and guava.

– Be mindful of portion sizes, even with lower carb fruits. Aim for 1⁄2–1 cup (70–150 grams) per serving.

– Limit intake of bananas, mangoes, pineapples, grapes, and dried fruits.

– Always pair fruits with protein or fat. This helps slow the digestion of sugars.

– Opt for whole fruits over juices whenever possible to get fiber benefits.

– Buy frozen fruits without added sugars and use them to make smoothies.

Healthy ways to enjoy low carb fruits

While fruits are healthy, you may need to watch your portions on a low carb diet. Here are some healthy ways to fit fruits into your low carb eating pattern:

– Add berries, tomato, avocado, or lemon to a green salad.

– Include tomato, onion, or avocado on an omelet or frittata.

– Make a fruit salsa with diced mango, pineapple, or jicama and enjoy with pork or fish.

– Mix chia seeds or hemp hearts into a bowl of mixed berries and top with unsweetened coconut.

– Blend avocado and cocoa powder into a smoothie with your favorite low carb veggies and protein powder.

– Grill peaches, pineapples, or nectarines and enjoy with Greek yogurt for dessert.

– Make frozen fruit popsicles by blending coconut milk and frozen berries.

Sample low carb fruit meal plan

This meal plan provides around 60–75 grams of net carbs to give you an idea of how to incorporate low carb fruits into your daily routine:

Breakfast: Veggie omelet with 1⁄2 avocado, 1⁄2 cup blueberries, coffee

Snack: Hummus with celery sticks and 10 olives

Lunch: Chicken kale salad with tomatoes, lemon vinaigrette, 1 oz goat cheese

Snack: 1⁄4 cup mixed nuts with 1 plum

Dinner: Baked salmon with sautéed kale and onions, side salad with strawberries

Dessert: 1⁄2 cup raspberries mixed with 2 tbsp heavy cream

The bottom line

When following a low carb diet, fruits high in fiber and low in sugar like berries, avocados, tomatoes, and small portions of tropical fruits can fit into your daily carb budget.

Limit intake of bananas, grapes, mangoes, dried fruits, fruit juices, and large servings of sweeter fruits to keep carbs in check.

Pair fruits with protein or fat sources and watch your portions to help slow the absorption of sugars. While fresh fruits are healthy, moderation is key to balancing your blood sugar on a low carb diet.

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