What kind of apples can you eat on a low-carb diet?

Apples are a delicious and nutritious fruit that can be enjoyed as part of a low-carb diet. The key is choosing apple varieties that are lower in carbohydrates and sugars. Some apples with a lower glycemic index and fewer carbs per serving that can fit into a low-carb eating plan include Granny Smith, Gala, and Red Delicious.

The Glycemic Index of Apples

The glycemic index (GI) measures how much a food raises your blood sugar. Foods are ranked on a scale of 0 to 100. The higher the number, the more that food impacts blood sugar. Foods with a GI of 55 or below are considered low glycemic.

Apples have a moderate glycemic index, ranging in the mid-30s to mid-40s for most varieties. This means they shouldn’t cause major blood sugar spikes in most people. However, some apples are lower or higher on the glycemic index scale:

  • Lower GI apples (under 40): Granny Smith, Gala, Red Delicious, Braeburn
  • Medium GI apples (40-55): Fuji, Pink Lady, Golden Delicious, McIntosh
  • Higher GI apples (over 55): Rome, Ambrosia, Honeycrisp, Jazz

Choosing medium or low GI apple varieties can help control blood sugar as part of a low-carb diet.

Carb Content in Apples

In addition to the glycemic index, the total carbohydrate content of apples is important on a low-carb diet. The carb counts can vary significantly based on apple type and serving size.

One medium apple (182g) contains about:

  • Red Delicious: 25g total carbs, 19g net carbs
  • Granny Smith: 19g total carbs, 14g net carbs
  • Gala: 22g total carbs, 16g net carbs
  • Braeburn: 21g total carbs, 15g net carbs
  • Fuji: 19g total carbs, 14g net carbs

Net carbs account for the fiber content, which doesn’t impact blood sugar. So apples with more fiber will have fewer net carbs.

A low-carb diet usually limits net carbs to 20-50g per day. With around 15g net carbs per medium apple, most people can fit one apple into a low-carb eating plan. You may need to watch your portions of higher carb varieties like Red Delicious.

Best Low-Carb Apple Options

The best apples for a low-carb diet are those lowest in carbs and sugar. Here are some top picks:

Granny Smith

Tart green Granny Smith apples are one of the lowest carb and lowest GI options. With only 14g net carbs and a glycemic index of 36, they can fit into almost any low-carb meal plan.


Bright red Gala apples are sweet, crisp and juicy. With 16g net carbs and a low glycemic index of 36, Gala is an excellent choice for low-carb diets.

Red Delicious

Red Delicious apples are mildly sweet and offer a great source of vitamin C and fiber. A medium apple contains 19g net carbs and has a glycemic index of 44.


Braeburn apples have a pleasing tart-sweet taste. With 15g net carbs and a GI of 43, they can be worked into a low-carb diet in moderation.


Sweet, crisp Fuji apples contain 14g net carbs and score 39 on the glycemic index scale. Their versatility and sweet flavor make them one of the tastiest low-carb apples.

Health Benefits of Apples on a Low-Carb Diet

Apples offer many health benefits, even when eating low-carb. Some of the top nutrients and compounds found in apples that support health:

  • Fiber – Apples contain soluble fiber called pectin that helps regulate digestion and cholesterol.
  • Vitamin C – One medium apple provides 14% of your daily vitamin C needs.
  • Antioxidants – Apple skin contains the antioxidant quercetin which may help reduce inflammation.
  • Potassium – Apples are a good source of potassium which is important for heart health and muscle function.

The high water and fiber content of apples can also promote fullness and help with weight management. So don’t be afraid to enjoy them on a low-carb diet.

Tips for Eating Low-Carb Apples

Here are some tips for fitting apples into your low-carb eating plan:

  • Stick to small or medium apples under 200g to control portions.
  • Eat apples whole and unpeeled to get more fiber.
  • Pair apples with protein like nut butter or cheese.
  • Add lemon juice to prevent browning when prepping apple slices.
  • Saute sliced apples in cinnamon for a quick low-carb dessert.
  • Work chopped apples into plain Greek yogurt.
  • Bake apples and fill with nuts and sweetener for a treat.

Worst Apples for Low-Carb Diets

The highest carb apple varieties can be hard to fit into low-carb eating plans. Apples to limit on a low-carb diet include:


Sweet, mildly tart Rome apples are one of the highest carb options, with 28g net carbs per medium fruit.


These sweet, tropical tasting apples contain 23g net carbs. Their glycemic index is also very high at 59.


Incredibly sweet and juicy Honeycrisp apples are higher in carbs with 26g net carbs per medium apple.


Crisp, tangy Jazz apples are quite high in carbs at 26g net carbs per medium fruit.

Should You Avoid Apples on Keto?

The keto diet strictly limits carbs to 20-50g per day to achieve ketosis. This makes including any type of fruit challenging.

Most people following a keto diet aim to get carbs from healthier sources like non-starchy veggies. Limiting fruit intake is common.

While apples are one of the lowest carb fruits, most varieties still contain too many carbs to regularly fit into a keto diet.

Occasionally enjoying a small, low carb apple like Granny Smith may be possible on keto if it fits your macro goals. But apples are generally not recommended for keto.

Preparing and Serving Low-Carb Apples

It’s easy to incorporate apples into all kinds of low-carb meals and snacks. Here are some preparation tips and serving ideas:

Preparation Tips

  • Wash apples well before eating or cooking.
  • Leave skin on for more nutrients, reduce waste.
  • Slice apples and toss in lemon juice to prevent browning.
  • Refrigerate cut apples in an airtight container 2-3 days.
  • Freeze sliced apples up to 8 months for smoothies or baking.

Serving Ideas

  • Dice apples into plain or Greek yogurt.
  • Saute apples in butter and cinnamon.
  • Roast apple wedges with pork or chicken.
  • Puree cooked apples into unsweetened applesauce.
  • Bake apple halves filled with chopped nuts.
  • Add shredded apple to coleslaw or salad.

Common Questions

Are apples keto friendly?

Most types of apples are too high in carbs to fit into a true ketogenic diet. Only occasionally eating small portions of the lowest carb apples like Granny Smith may work for some following keto.

What apple has the lowest carbs?

Granny Smith apples are the lowest carb variety, with only 14g net carbs per medium-sized apple.

Can I eat apples on a low-carb diet?

Apples can be part of a low-carb diet in moderation. Focus on small or medium portions of the lowest carb varieties like Granny Smith, Gala, and Red Delicious.

Are apples OK for diabetics?

Apples are a good fruit option for diabetics due to their high fiber and low glycemic index. Granny Smith, Gala, Red Delicious, and other low GI apples make the healthiest choices.

The Bottom Line

Apples offer nutrition, fiber and antioxidants along with delicious flavor. Low carb apples like Granny Smith, Gala, Red Delicious, Braeburn, and Fuji can be enjoyed occasionally on reduced carb diets. Stick to small portions, opt for lower carb varieties, and pair apples with protein or healthy fats.

Apple variety Net carbs per medium apple Glycemic index
Granny Smith 14g 36
Gala 16g 36
Red Delicious 19g 44
Braeburn 15g 43
Fuji 14g 39
Rome 28g 42
Ambrosia 23g 59
Honeycrisp 26g 55
Jazz 26g 38

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