Everybody knows the familiar phrase, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” It is true that apples can have a positive impact on your overall health because they contain plenty of Vitamin C, fiber, and other nutrients.
But are not apples keto-friendly.
An average apple is too high in carbs and therefore not suitable for the ketogenic diet.
In this article, we’ll compare different apple varieties and explore whether applesauce, apple juice, or dried apples are suitable for keto.
We’ll also tell you the best alternatives to apples and an easy way to make a keto-friendly apple crumble.
Are Apples Suitable for Keto?
When following a ketogenic diet, most guidelines recommend consuming whole foods that are high in fats and limiting your carb intake to around 30 grams of net carbs per day (*).
On average, one medium apple contains around 20.6 grams of net carbs (*).
Even though they are minimally processed whole foods, their carb content is too high to make them fit into your daily allowance.
Even consuming only half of an apple would significantly impact your carbs for the day, so we recommend you stay away from apples on the keto diet.
What Are the Benefits of Eating Apples?
What are the reasons behind the popular saying? What are the health benefits of eating apples?
Apples are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can improve your health and “keep the doctor away.”
They are full of fiber, which can help to manage blood pressure, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, aid digestion, and lower cholesterol levels (*).
Apples are also high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and antioxidants. They support a healthy immune system, defend the body from infection and diseases, aid in cancer prevention, and help to prevent chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s (*).
The Potassium in apples further boosts your heart health, reduces the risk of high blood pressure, and relaxes the blood vessels (*).
But can you eat apples and still maintain ketosis?
Maintaining ketosis is the main objective of ketogenic diets. When you sufficiently limit your carb intake, the metabolic effect on your body is that it starts to utilize fats for energy instead of glucose and enters ketosis (*).
If you eat too many carbs at the same time, they are broken down to glucose which causes a spike in blood sugar levels, thus breaking ketosis.
The amount of carbs that would kick you out of ketosis depends on the individual and how long you’ve been in ketosis, but most approaches consider 5 grams of net carbs per meal a safe intake that maintains ketosis (*).
Will an Apple Break Ketosis?
As mentioned, a medium apple contains around 20 grams of net carbs. This means that even if you only consume half of an apple, it would still probably kick you out of ketosis.
The ketogenic diet doesn’t ban any foods but depending on the number of carbs they contain; some are more suitable to eat on the keto diet.
Technically, you could include some apples in your keto diet in very limited amounts. But since these portion sizes would be extremely small, we recommend you stay away from apples altogether.
Do Apple Varieties Matter? (Gala, Pink Lady, or Granny Smith?)
Apples are one of the most popular fruits, and there are many varieties available. Do different apple varieties have an impact on the number of net carbs?
Even though there are differences in taste between popular apple varieties, the differences in the number of total carbs are not that significant.
Granny Smith apples taste sourer and have a slightly lower carb content than Gala or Pink Lady apples. They still contain around 18 grams of carbs per apple, meaning they are not suitable for the keto diet (*).
Apple Products and Keto Diet
Apart from the whole fruit, apples can be found and eaten in many forms because of their delicious flavor. Which ones of these common products are keto-friendly, if any?
Is Apple Juice Keto?
Similar to orange juice and other juices, apple juice is very high in carbohydrates and not suitable for a keto diet.
One glass of apple juice contains up to 30 grams of net carbs.
Many brands of apple juice can contain added sugar that makes the carb and sugar content even higher.
If you’re feeling like a refreshing drink that is not water, we recommend opting for sugar-free apple-flavored soda or adding an apple flavoring to sparkling water.
Apple juice is not suitable for keto diets, even in moderation.
Is Applesauce Low Carb?
Applesauce is often used as a sweetener in healthy baking recipes. Apple sauce contains fewer carbs than traditional sugar and can boost the recipe with Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
It also has fairly low-calorie content, with one-half of a cup containing around 51 calories and 13 grams of carbs (*).
However, many brands of applesauce contain added sugar that bumps up the carb content.
And regardless of whether your applesauce contains added sugar or not, it’s not a low-carb product, and we do not recommend eating it while following a keto diet.
The good news is, making your own keto-friendly apple sauce is easier than you think.
All you need to do is use low-carb vegetables such as zucchini, mix it with apple seasoning, sugar-free keto-friendly sweetener, mix it with cinnamon for added flavor, and the resulting sauce will have a very similar taste and texture as the traditional applesauce.
You can then use it for making low-carb keto desserts such as muffins or cookies.
Dried apples are a convenient snack, but they are stripped of most of the water, are lower in fiber, high in carbs, and easy to overeat, making them unsuitable for the keto diet.
In addition, most of the popular brands, such as Seneca original apple chips, have 18 grams of carbs per serving and contain unhealthy processed ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, canola oil, and sunflower oil (*).
Other brands like Bare Cinnamon apple chips have even higher carb content, 23 grams of net carbs per 30-gram serving (*).
We recommend you stay away from apple chips and select keto-friendly chips that are made of cheese or seeds that are low carb and will help you maintain ketosis.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Keto?
Apple cider vinegar has been popularized in recent years for its health benefits. ACV has been reported to promote weight loss, is known for stabilizing blood sugar levels, and reducing appetite (*).
But is ACV keto-friendly?
Marinades and sauces are often packed with sugar and can surprise you with an unexpected high carb content. ACV, on the other hand, contains just 1 gram of carbs per tablespoon serving (*).
Apart from the refreshing apple flavor, ACV contains Magnesium, Iron, Phosphorus, Manganese, amino acids, and antioxidants (*).
Studies have proven that a tablespoon of ACV can successfully reduce cravings, induce satiety, improve digestion, reduce belly fat, lower cholesterol, help with diabetes, reduce bloating, improve health and lower the risk of cancer (*).
ACV is a flavorful vinegar that can be a good addition to salad dressings and marinades, and when used in small amounts, it’s safe to consume on a keto diet.
Making Keto Apple Crumble
Apples are a popular ingredient in many desserts and treats, apples crumble and apple pie being the desserts everybody loves. The combination of apples, sweetness, cinnamon and satisfying texture can be just delicious.
You can find plenty of keto-friendly apple crumble recipes online that are low in carbs and can be enjoyed on a keto diet.
The recipes tend to use low-carb vegetables such as zucchini or cauliflower to replace the apples, combine them with lemons, sugar-free sweeteners such as stevia, apple flavoring, and cinnamon to create the apple flavor.
Substituting traditional flour for almond flour, using full-fat butter and the mixture above can create a delicious keto alternative to the classic apple dessert recipes.
Benefits of High-Fat Desserts
Don’t be afraid to experiment with new keto recipes and create low-carb versions of your favorite meals. The keto diet gives you plenty of delicious foods to get creative with.
In addition, making desserts that are high in fats rather than just simple sugar makes these meals more filling and satisfying.
High fat desserts can hit the sweet spot after dinner, maintain ketosis and still promote weight loss and other benefits of the keto diet.
Focusing on the foods you can eat rather than the ones that aren’t keto-friendly will improve your diet mindset and make the ketogenic diet more sustainable and enjoyable.
What Are the Best Keto-Friendly Alternatives?
Apart from making a keto-friendly apple crumble, how can you substitute the apples themselves?
Apple is a healthy fruit that contains vitamins and minerals that can provide a health boost. But they are too high in net carbs in order to be suitable for the keto diet.
Luckily, there are plenty of other fruits that have similar nutritional value and are lower in carbs. Low-carb fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or cantaloupe melons contain lots of vitamin C and are suitable for the keto diet.
The Bottom Line: Are Apples Keto-friendly?
Apples are too high in net carbs and are not a suitable fruit for a low-carb diet.
The same goes for applesauce, apple juice, or apple chips. These foods are too high in sugar and would kick you out of ketosis.
Apple cider vinegar can be used for salad dressings and marinades and provide you with the apple flavor you crave. ACV contains only 1 gram of carbs per serving, making it suitable for keto.
If you’re craving apple crumble or other desserts that use apples, you can easily modify the recipe to make it lower in net carbs.
Even though keto diets don’t ban any foods and only recommend that you adjust the serving to fit your carb requirements, when it comes to apples, your serving would be extremely small.
We recommend you select other keto-friendly fruits that are easier to incorporate into your daily intake than apples.
Our top low-carb fruits that you can enjoy in moderation are strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, star fruit, or melons.