The old saying is that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Low-calorie and undoubtedly healthy, if you have a hankering for a big, juicy apple on the keto diet, can you bite right in or should you refrain?
Apples contain 25 to 27 grams of carbs per whole medium-sized fruit. Many keto dieters consider apples too high-carb to eat regularly, although on cheat days, you might enjoy an apple or two.
In today’s article, we’ll further explore the carb content in apples and whether some types of apples are more carb-heavy than others. We’ll also recommend some fruits you can sub out for apples on the keto diet. You won’t want to miss it, so keep reading!
How Many Carbs Are in Apples?
According to a 2020 Statista survey, in the United States that year, bananas were the most consumed fruit. Americans bought the fruit that year at an astounding rate of 65 percent. Trailing bananas very closely at 63 percent were apples.
That’s probably because apples have such a sterling reputation. There’s the old idiom about apples being good for your health that we mentioned in the intro. Kids were always told to give their teachers apples back in the day as well.
So what’s the nutritional profile of apples? Per the USDA, here are the nutrition facts for one whole medium-sized (three-inch diameter) apple, a 182-gram serving:
- 95 calories
- 3 grams of fat
- 1 grams of saturated fat
- 0 milligrams of cholesterol
- 2 milligrams of sodium
- 195 milligrams of potassium (5 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 25 grams of carbs (8 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 4 grams of dietary fiber (17 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 19 grams of sugar
- 5 grams of protein (1 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 14 percent vitamin C
- 1 percent iron
- 5 percent vitamin B5
- 2 percent magnesium
- 1 percent calcium
Should You Eat Apples on Keto?
The ketogenic diet is about maximizing fat consumption, eating a moderate amount of protein, and reducing carb loads. This is necessary to encourage your body to enter the fat-burning state known as ketosis.
Looking above at the nutrition facts for apples again, you can see that apples are not keto-friendly.
For one, they don’t have a lot of fat. That’s true of fruits and vegetables as a whole. Second, apples have very little protein, which is another fact of fruits and veggies.
Third–and potentially most important to keto dieters–apples contain a surprising amount of carbs.
The average carb load that a keto dieter eats varies. If you’re new to the ketogenic diet, then it’s a good idea to cut carbs without hacking and slashing your diet too much. Sticking to a range of 40 to 50 grams of carbs per day will allow your body to begin entering ketosis.
That may sound like a lot of carbs, but it’s anything but. Mayo Clinic says that a healthy non-low-carb diet should restrict the carbs to 225 to 325 grams per day. You’re eating far, far fewer than that even at 40 to 50 grams of carbs!
So let’s say you are a new keto dieter and your carb macro target is 40 grams of carbs per day. Well, one apple at 25 grams of carbs is already more than half of the carbs you’ve allocated for the day.
You’d have 15 grams of carbs to work with for the rest of the day, which isn’t many!
For more experienced keto dieters who are sticking to a range of around 20 grams of carbs per day, one apple would already put you over your carb load.
The worst part is that people don’t eat apples as meals, only as a snack. At 100+ calories, an apple won’t provide enough satiety that you can forego eating for a few hours. You’ll be back in the pantry or fridge soon enough.
They’re just too much risk and too little reward for keto dieters.
Do Apples Have More Carbs Depending on the Variety?
Granny Smith, pink lady, Fuji, gala…there are up to 7,500 varieties of apples out there. The sheer multitude of options at your local farmer’s market or grocery store produce aisle has made you wonder about something.
Since apples come in different shapes and sizes depending on the variety, do they contain different amounts of carbs as well?
Yes! Here is an overview of the most popular types of apples and their accompanying carb content per whole apple.
- Red delicious apple (medium, 212 grams) – 30 grams of carbs and 125 calories
- Fuji apple (medium, 192 grams) – 29 grams of carbs and 121 calories
- Pink lady apple (medium, 182 grams) – 25 grams of carbs and 95 calories
- McIntosh apple (medium, 154 grams) – 22 grams of carbs and 80 calories
- Granny Smith apple (small, 109 grams) – 15 grams of carbs and 63 calories
- Golden delicious apple (small, 100 grams) -13.8 grams of carbs and 47 calories
- Gala apple (medium, 172 grams) – 21 grams of carbs and 80 calories
- Honeycrisp apple (medium, 100 grams) – 14 grams of carbs and 52 calories
- Jonagold apple (medium, 182 grams) – 25 grams of carbs and 95 calories
- Winesap apple (medium, 154 grams) – 22 grams of carbs and 80 calories
- Mutsu apple (medium, 154 grams) – 22 grams of carbs and 80 calories
- Pacific rose apple (medium, 100 grams) – 14 grams of carbs and 52 calories
- McIntosh apple (medium, 154 grams) – 18 grams of carbs and 80 calories
- Empire apple (medium, 154 grams) – 17 grams of carbs and 80 calories
- Ambrosia apple (medium, 150 grams) – 21 grams of carbs and 90 calories
Does Cooking Apples Reduce Their Carb Count?
That certainly was a smattering of apple varieties we covered in the last section. Not all those types of apples are meant to be eaten straight off the tree. Some types are better for baking than they are eating raw.
Does baking or cooking an apple make it lower-carb?
While this is a good thought, it doesn’t work in practice. Livestrong states that a raw apple that’s 95 calories with four grams of fiber and 25 grams of carbs becomes 105 calories and 28 grams of carbs when baked.
The fiber increase to five grams, and you get one gram of protein. A raw apple usually contains no protein.
It doesn’t matter whether you cut them, bake them, cook them, cube them, or sliver them. Apples are high-carb.
Alternatives for Apples on Keto - Which Fruits Are Keto-Friendly?
Apples can be a part of your keto cheat meals/days, but otherwise, refraining from consuming them is best.
That doesn’t mean your keto diet should be devoid of fruits, though! Fruits are a source of vitamins and minerals, and they’re often low-calorie.
Here are some fruits that are low-carb as well that you can begin eating instead of apples.
Peaches – 13 grams of carbs per 150 grams
Although peaches don’t deliver that same toothsome bite that apples do, they’re far juicier and have a sweet flavor as well. You might be able to skip dessert or at least reduce your sugars for a while after munching on a peach.
Cantaloupe – 11 grams of carbs per 160 grams
Here’s some fruit with that same firm texture as an apple (well, close enough, anyway). The exotic cantaloupe has only 11 grams of carbs per 160-gram serving, which is ideal for those with a daily carb load between 30 and 50 grams.
Clementine – 9 grams of carbs per 75 grams
If you like the feeling of peeling something, then unroll a few clementine skins! Each one of these citrus fruits contains only 9 grams of carbs, which is very low. Just make sure you don’t eat too many at once!
Blueberries – 9 grams of carbs per 75 grams
In the summertime, blueberries can be part of your seasonal spread. You can eat a whopping 75 grams of blueberries and still only ingest 9 grams of carbs. Make dessert with them, eat them with breakfast, or just snack on ‘em. You have plenty of ways to enjoy!
Cherries – 8 grams of carbs per 75 grams
In the same vein as blueberries, the ruby-red summer fruit known as cherries can also be eaten plentifully on the keto diet. A 75-gram serving of this small fruit contains even fewer carbs than the same serving size of blueberries.
Kiwis – 8 grams of carbs per 75 grams
Another way to add more exotic fruit into your diet besides eating cantaloupe is to unpeel a kiwi. Each fruit contains 8 grams of carbs. Like clementines, kiwis are small, so you must have the self-control to avoid overdoing it.
Strawberries – 6 grams of carbs per 100 grams
The most third popular fruit in America in 2020 is the strawberry. Keto dieters love strawberries as well since they contain only 6 grams of carbs in 100 grams. If you have the room in your macros for the day, you could dip strawberries in sugar or even chocolate.
Raspberries – 3 grams of carbs per 60 grams
What’s the fruit with the lowest carbs? That would be the humble raspberry, which contains 3 grams of carbs in a 60-gram serving. Even if you’re really working hard to cut the carbs, there should be room in your keto diet for raspberries as a snack.
Apples might be healthy, but keto dieters must eschew the fruit since it contains a whopping amount of carbs. Save the apples for your cheat meals and reach for raspberries, strawberries, kiwis, or clementines instead!