Enjoy Fruit and Lose Weight Too – The Best Ways to Eat Fruit on Low Carb (Keto) Diet

Enjoy Fruit and Lose Weight Too – The Best Ways to Eat Fruit on Low Carb (Keto) Diet

Video | Fruit as a Flavor Enhancer | Eat Fruit Second | Eat It, Don’t Drink It

Fruit is an enjoyable way to get micronutrients and a touch of sweetness into your diet. However, all fruits contain carbs, so if you are a low-carb or keto dieter, mindlessly grabbing a fruit snack whenever the desire hits will work against your overall goal. 

This blog post shares three ways to enjoy fruit on a low-carb diet without the high-carb consequences. 

Eating Fruit on a Low-Carb Diet – At-A-Glance

  • #1- Use Fruit as a Flavor Enhancer, Not a Snack. This allows you to enjoy a touch of sweetness without the high-carb consequences.
  • #2- Eat Fruit Second, not First. You will minimize post-meal blood sugar and insulin rise by eating fruit after very low glycemic foods (i.e., protein, fat, and non-starchy vegetables).
  • #3- Eat Fruit, Don’t Drink It. Fruit juice absorbs quickly, increasing the blood sugar and insulin response. 

Enjoy Fruit and Lose Weight Too – The Best Ways to Eat Fruit on Low Carb (Keto) Diet [Video]

In this video, you’ll learn…

  • Why carbohydrate tolerance affects how much fruit you can consume.
  • Three ways to eat fruit on a low carb (keto) diet.
  • Additional resources to help you achieve success.

Carbohydrate Tolerance

How much fruit you can consume on a low-carb diet is determined by your body’s carbohydrate tolerance. That tolerance is unique to every individual and depends on factors such as age, activity level, past health and diet history, and genetics. 

These factors impact how sensitive your cells are to insulin and, therefore, how many carbohydrates your body can tolerate.

Also, as you know, there are many different types of fruit. Fruits vary in sugar, carbohydrate, and fiber content, making some fruits better choices than others. 

I have a blog post that lists low-carb fruit options from best to worst. I will point you to that video if you’d like to see it.

But for this post, let’s focus on the best ways to consume fruit so you can enjoy it worry-free. 

#1- Use Fruit as a Flavor Enhancer, Not a Snack 

The best first step is to change how you look at fruit. You’ll find it beneficial to think about fruit as a flavor enhancer, not a snack. By doing this, you enjoy the natural sweetness of fruit in naturally smaller quantities. 

Instead of grabbing a whole apple or mandarin orange as a snack, add slices of these fruits to a salad. Fold a few chunks of apple into tuna or chicken salad. Put slices of lemon in water or unsweetened hot or iced tea, or mix frozen berries into plain yogurt.

It is easy to use the fruits I just mentioned in small quantities. With frozen berries, you simply grab what you need and stick the bag back in the freezer. I add a few apple slices to my daily salad, then wrap up the leftover apple, stick it in the refrigerator, and use it in tomorrow’s salad. 

#1- Use Fruit as a Flavor Enhancer, Not a Snack 

You can do the same with a mandarin orange or a lemon. Just know yourself with certain fruit choices. For instance, two or three grapes will add a lot of sweetness to a recipe. However, leftover grapes sitting in the refrigerator are tempting, so take that into consideration. 

Another advantage of using fruit as a flavor enhancer is that the nutrients from the fruit mix with the other nutrients from the meal. When the right foods are chosen, this blunts the rise of blood sugar and insulin. 

This mixing of nutrients leads us to our next way to consume fruit on a low-carb diet, namely, eat fruit second, not first. 

#2- Eat Fruit Second, not First 

It is normal for your blood sugar or blood glucose level to rise following a meal. But if you have insulin resistance, prediabetes, or diabetes, or you just want to keep insulin levels low to make it easier for your body to burn fat, you want to eat in a way that minimizes the post-meal blood sugar and insulin rise. 

In a recent blog post, I highlighted a study on food order and insulin sensitivity. The study involved people with type 2 diabetes and found that the order of eating the main nutrients of a meal significantly affected their blood glucose and insulin response (1)

Specifically, the most favorable response came when the participants ate protein, fat, and non-starchy vegetables before quick-digesting carbs.

In the study, that meant eating chicken, salad, and broccoli with butter. Then, 15 minutes later, eating bread and drinking orange juice. 

What we can take away from this study and use in real life is that you will get the most favorable blood sugar and insulin response when you consume fruit after you’ve filled your stomach with slow-digesting foods, like protein, fat, and non-starchy vegetables. 

#2- Eat Fruit Second, not First 

In other words, eat fruit second, not first, or as a dessert, not an appetizer, and you will blunt the rise of insulin, which makes fat loss harder. 

Now, I took some liberty here by talking about eating fruit rather than drinking fruit juice, as was done in the study. 

Whole fruit contains fiber and nutrients that slow the absorption of natural sugars, much of which is fructose, which is metabolized differently than glucose. 

However, I have tested fruits using a CGM, and fruits have a glycemic index.

The glycemic index is a rating system that shows how much and how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food raises your blood sugar levels. 

Most whole fruits are low glycemic index foods. However, you will still minimize the post-meal blood sugar and insulin rise by having fruit after very low or zero glycemic foods, like protein, fat, and non-starchy vegetables, especially if the fruit is mixed with sugar, flour, or other quick-digesting carbs making it more of a dessert, which I am not recommending you do.

Now, with that said, whole fruit is the way to go.

#3- Eat It, Don’t Drink It – Avoid Fruit Juice 

When fruit is turned into juice, there is little fiber left to slow absorption, so if you do enjoy fruit on your diet, eat it, don’t drink it. That “don’t drink it” rule applies to freshly squeezed fruit juice and processed juice with fruit juice concentrate listed as an ingredient. 

Fruit juice concentrate adds a layer of trouble. It is simply fruit juice without the water. Removing the water makes it easier to transport and store and also helps to stabilize the juice so it can stay on the shelf longer (2).

However, extracting the water from fruit juice causes two problems for us, as consumers. First, the water is often extracted with heat. This heat kills nutrients in the fruit juice. Second, while the water is removed, the sugar content remains, so it is basically a concentrated source of sugar. In fact, if you see fruit juice concentrate on the ingredient list, you should read it as sugar.

"Fruit juice concentrate is one of the many hidden names for sugar."

And to be clear, we are not talking about insignificant amounts of sugar. In fact, a glass of orange juice from concentrate contains almost as much sugar as a regular soda. Eight ounces of soda (i.e., Pepsi) has 27 grams of sugar, and eight ounces of orange juice from concentrate has 23 grams.

What About Nutrients? 

You may be concerned about missing out on vitamins and minerals by cutting back on fruit. However, non-starchy vegetables contain plenty of vitamins and minerals with fewer carbs. Replace fruit with a variety of vegetables, and you won’t miss out on nutrients. 


Adding enjoyment to your diet makes it much easier to stick with it long-term. Fruit can be an enjoyable part of your low-carb diet if you look at it as a flavor enhancer rather than a stand-alone snack. Pair it with slow-digesting nutrients, preferably eating fruit after eating protein, fat, and non-starchy vegetables. And stay away from the juices that concentrate the sugar content and get absorbed too quickly. 

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!


(1) Shukla, Alpana P., et al. “Food order has a significant impact on postprandial glucose and insulin levels.” Diabetes care 38.7 (2015): e98-e99.

(2) Adnan, Ahmad, Muhammad Mushtaq, and Tanveer ul Islam. “Fruit juice concentrates.” Fruit Juices. Academic Press, 2018. 217-240.

About the Author

Becky Gillaspy, DC, is the author of The Intermittent Fasting Guide and Cookbook and Zero Sugar / One Month. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.

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