The popular keto diet doesn’t seem like it’s losing any steam. It’s not all that surprising, considering the impressive before-and-after photos from devotees (celebs included) and the science to back up weight-loss claims. And if you’re considering jumping on the keto diet bandwagon, you might be wondering if there’s room for some sweet fruits like cherries in the trendy low-carb plan.
FYI, the keto diet, or “ketogenic diet,” eating plan is all about minimizing your carbs and upping your fats to get your body to use fat as a form of energy, Scott Keatley, RD, of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy, previously told Women’s Health. While everyone’s body and nutrition needs can vary, most keto dieters getabout 60 to 75 percent of their calories from fat and 15 to 30 percent from protein.
That leaves room for 5 to 10 percent of your daily calories for carbs. Ideally, you’d eat no more than 50 grams of carbs a day (some strict keto dieters even opt for as few as 20 grams of carbs a day). The minimal carb consumption leads to ketosis within about two to seven days. That’s when your body starts making ketones, or organic compounds it can use in place of those missing carbs, and burns fat for more energy.
Limiting carb intake also keeps your body in ketosis. So will fruit max out your carb count? With only 20 to 50 grams of carbs a day, that does cut out most, but not all, fruits.
Here’s what nutritionists have to say about how cherries stack up for keto dieters.
So, are cherries keto?
Cherries can fit in a keto diet, as long as you watch your portion sizes. “Cherries are not as keto-friendly as other low-carbohydrate fruits like raspberries and blueberries,” says Valerie Agyeman, RD, women’s health dietitian at Flourish Heights. “They are higher in carbohydrates but also come with a wide range of nutrients, which are beneficial to your health.”
In one cup of tart cherries, there are 18.9 grams of carbs and 13.2 grams of sugar. In one cup of sweet cherries, there are 24.7 grams of carbs and 19.7 grams of sugar. Eating a whole serving of tart or sweet cherries can take up almost all of your daily allotment of carbs. Instead, Agyeman suggests eating a few cherries at a time.
“Each individual cherry has about 1.2 grams of carbs, so ultimately if you are craving cherries, go for one or two,” says Agyeman. “I wouldn’t cancel cherries completely if you really want them. You can still enjoy them, just in smaller amounts.”
Are cherries worth the carbs if you’re keto, tho?
This is a resounding yes from nutritionists. For one, cherries are high in anti-inflammatory antioxidants and that means tons of health benefits.
“Cherries are a good source of fiber and provide potassium and are high in vitamin C,” says Marisa Moore, RD, nutritionist. “Plus, they’re portable for snacking throughout the day.”
That’s not all. Cherries support a healthy gut and can boost exercise performance and recovery. “You should still try to incorporate cherries into your diet even if you’re keto because they’re packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—providing your body with many health benefits like better sleep and helping to fight against disease,” explains Agyeman.
What fruits are best on the keto diet?
If you want more than one or two bites of fruit, “you might be better off choosing more keto-friendly fruits like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries,” says Agyeman.
Berries, cucumbers, and avocado are some of the best fruits for keto dieters. These are lower in carbs, so you can enjoy a few more and still stay in ketosis.
The bottom line: You can totally enjoy small portions of cherries while sticking to the keto diet and keeping your daily carb count low. If you want to enjoy more fruit, try some even lower-carb options like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.
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