Carbs in Apple: Are apples okay on keto?

Carbs in Apple

An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to keep you in ketosis. So what’s the deal, can you eat an apple on a low carb diet? Or will the carbs in apple cause you to run to the doctor wondering what the heck is going on?

Carbs in Apple

In a perfect world, all apples would be created equal. Because this is unfortunately NOT a perfect world, the carbs in apple will vary.  The size of the apple will affect it’s carb count, as well as the variety of apple.

Per the USDA database, these are the total carbs for various sizes of raw apples with the skin on:

  • A large apple (3 ¼” diameter) has 30.8g of total carbs, 5.4g of fiber, and 23.17g of sugar.
  • A medium apple (3” diameter) has 25.13g of total carbs, 4.4g of fiber, and 18.91g of sugar.
  • A small apple (2 ¾” diameter) has 20.58g of total carbs, 3.6g of fiber, and 15.48g of sugar.
  • An extra small apple (2 ½” diameter) has 13.95g of total carbs, 2.4g of fiber, and 10.49g of sugar.
  • Per 100 grams, apples have 13.81g of total carbs, 2.4g of fiber, and 10.39g of sugar.

As I said, the VARIETY of apple also plays a part in the carbs in apple. Per the USDA database, these are the total carbs in apples of various types (per 100g, with skin):

  • Fuji: 15.22g of total carbs (USDA)
  • Gala: 13.68g of total carbs (USDA)
  • Golden Delicious: 13.60g of total carbs (USDA)
  • Granny Smith: 13.61g of total carbs (USDA)
  • Red Delicious: 14.06g of total carbs (USDA)

While most apple varieties share similar amounts of total carbs, Fuji and Red Delicious apples have a higher amount of total carbs than expected! Sure, these apples taste sweeter, but they’re also more likely to affect your diet if you’re not careful!

Net Carbs in Apple

To calculate the net carbs in apple, we subtract the total dietary fiber from the total carbs. Pretty simple, huh?

The net carbs in apple are calculated based on the values from the USDA database. Your daily net carbs will likely fall between 20 and 50 grams, so these values are important!

  • A large apple has 25.4g of net carbs.
  • A medium apple has 20.73g of net carbs.
  • A small apple has 16.98g of net carbs.
  • An extra small apple has 11.55g of net carbs.
  • Per 100 grams, apples have 11.41g of net carbs.

Remember those outliers, Fuji and Red Delicious? Red Delicious apples have 11.76g of net carbs per 100 grams, and Fuji apples have 13.12g of net carbs per 100 grams! 

Apple Carbs

Are apples good carbs or bad carbs?

There’s a reason apples are likened to good health; they are a great food for a huge number of people! In a regular diet, apples have definitely marked their spot as a fruit that is both delicious AND nutritious. 

Raw apples are just that: raw. They are a whole food that do not contain refined carbohydrates. Their sugars are natural (not added), and they contain dietary fibers. 

However, in terms of the keto diet, there aren’t good carbs and bad carbs. A carb is a carb is a carb. Even the carbohydrates in whole, plant-based foods can affect nutritional ketosis.

Are apples OK on keto?

We’ve figured out what an apple will run you carb-wise, so now it’s time for the million dollar question: can you eat apples on keto? 

Given that the average limit is 20 grams of net carbs per day for ketosis to work it’s magic, and a medium size apple is 20.73 grams of net carbs, things don’t look very promising. Again, this is NOT because apples are a bad carb. Eating an apple will provide your body with sugar to burn instead of allowing it to target fat. 

If you desperately want an apple and nothing will satisfy that need, break out your kitchen scale! Measuring out the exact amount you are consuming will ensure that you are staying within your limit. You might only be able to eat a couple slices in order to maintain ketosis, so it is important to know the exact amount you consume.

Calories in Apple

Repeat after me: calories do matter! Limiting carbohydrate intake is necessary for achieving and maintaining nutritional ketosis. Understanding calorie intake is equally necessary for gaining and losing weight! Therefore, it is important that you are aware of the carbs in apple AND the calories in apple as well.

There are 52 calories in 100 grams of raw apple.

The range of calories is 53 calories for an extra small apple to 116 calories for a large apple. While the largest fruit is more than double the smallest, these numbers are still quite low!

Apple Nutrition

Now that we know the carbs in apple are high and the calories in apple are low, let’s check out how the nutrients rank.

Apples are high in dietary fiber, with one medium apple providing 4.4 grams. Apples also provide a good source of Vitamin C, Potassium, and antioxidants. While apples do include other vitamins and minerals, (Vitamins A, E, and K, Calcium, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, and Phosphorus to name a few), they are in smaller amounts.

Keto Apple Substitutes

Instead of risking everything on a tiny apple, here are some keto-friendly apple substitutes!

Nutrition: There are plenty of low-carb choices that provide similar (or better) nutrition than apples. Almonds, pecans, dried mushrooms, dried seaweed, grape leaves, and avocados are all high in both fiber and Potassium. Lemon peel, kumquats, raspberries, and blackberries are all high in Vitamin C.

Texture: Chayote squash is the number one low carb apple replacement! In fact, I have a recipe for keto apple pie filling that uses chayote and believe me, it’s spot on! Jicama and zucchini are also great texture substitutes.

Flavor: Again, chayote and jicama take the cake. While you might not be inclined to bite into these substitutes raw, they create an incredible flavor substitute in apple-based dishes.

NutrientUnitper 100 g1 cup, quartered or chopped = 125.0g1 cup slices = 109.0g1 large (3-1/4" dia) = 223.0g1 medium (3" dia) = 182.0g1 small (2-3/4" dia) = 149.0g1 extra small (2-1/2" dia) = 101.0g1 NLEA serving = 242.0g
Total lipid (fat)g0.
Carbohydrate, by differenceg13.8117.2615.0530.825.1320.5813.9533.42
Fiber, total dietaryg2.432.
Sugars, totalg10.3912.9911.3323.1718.9115.4810.4925.14
Calcium, Camg68713119615
Iron, Femg0.
Magnesium, Mgmg5651197512
Phosphorus, Pmg1114122520161127
Potassium, Kmg107134117239195159108259
Sodium, Namg11122112
Zinc, Znmg0.
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acidmg4.65.8510.
Vitamin B-6mg0.0410.0510.0450.0910.0750.0610.0410.099
Folate, DFEµg34375437
Vitamin B-12µg00000000
Vitamin A, RAEµg34375437
Vitamin A, IUIU546859120988055131
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)mg0.
Vitamin D (D2 + D3)µg00000000
Vitamin DIU00000000
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)µg2.
Fatty acids, total saturatedg0.0280.0350.0310.0620.0510.0420.0280.068
Fatty acids, total monounsaturatedg0.0070.0090.0080.0160.0130.010.0070.017
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturatedg0.0510.0640.0560.1140.0930.0760.0520.123
Fatty acids, total transg00000000

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