Fruits vs. vegetables on a ketogenic diet

How often have you heard someone say “eat more fruits and vegetables”? It sounds like they’re the same thing. Sadly, from a nutritional point of view, they have very little in common. While many fruits are mostly made up of sugar, a little water and some fiber, vegetables are low in sugar and have a significantly higher nutrient content.


Eat fruits as dessert

If you want to be in great shape and perform better without sudden energy crashes, then make vegetables a main part of your diet while only occasionally eating fruits. Reprogram your mind to think of fruits as ‘nature’s candy’ and primarily eat them as an occasional dessert after dinner, not as a quick snack or a meal replacement. There are three exceptions: Lemons, coconuts and avocados. You can include as many of these three fruits into your diet as you want. And yes, coconuts and avocados are technically classified as fruits, although they’re nutritionally very different.

Fructose, the real danger

Fructose, the main source of sugar in fruits, is the reason why I don’t recommend binging on fruits. Your liver transforms fructose into either glucose or into triglycerides, which are then stored as fat in your body. Excess fructose damages the liver and can lead to insulin resistance as well as fatty liver disease. What is more, fructose is even less filling than other sugars, so there is a high risk of over-indulging on fruits – especially when you wrongly believe that they’re perfectly healthy for you, without knowing about the downsides of adding so much extra sugar to your diet.

Avoid packaged fruit juices at all costs

The industrial juicing process of fruits kills most nutrients, antioxidants and fiber. When eating fruits whole, the contained natural fiber reduces spikes in blood sugar, but after the lengthy juicing process what is left is basically just sugary water, that is closer to common soft drinks than it is to anything natural. Processed fruit juice increases the risk of diabetes and is linked to obesity. So no, drinking a glass of orange juice in the morning is not a healthy start of your day, but rather a sugar bomb that will start a vicious cycle of constant hunger and snacking while leading to low energy and possibly brain fog later in the day.

Eat as many vegetables as you want

As far as veggies are concerned – there is no need to restrict yourself. Eat as many as you possibly can. Just make sure to avoid nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and white potatoes) in case you have an autoimmune disease or gut problems. Also steer clear of soy and corn whenever possible.

Not all fruits and vegetables are the same

Still, some fruits and vegetables are better than others. This infographic gives you a good overview of the best (green) to worst (red) fruits and veggies based on nutrients, sugar/carb content and antinutrients. Feel free to ignore BP’s product placements.

Less cravings and more satiety, among other things

You will quickly realize several pleasant changes in your life when you start to reduce your fruit intake and switch your focus to nutrient-dense vegetables instead. Less food and sugar cravings, a longer feeling of satiety after meals and more energy throughout the day, as you won’t be subject to sudden carb crashes that come as a result of mindlessly snacking on fruits. As a bonus, you will have an easier time keeping your insulin in check and losing weight.

If you feel the need to snack throughout the day, try some cucumbers and celery instead of bananas and apples. Yes, some people might think you’re slightly weird, but to me personally, that just makes it more fun.

Vegetables & fruits on a low carb, ketogenic diet

If you want to be successful on a low-carb, high-fat (mostly) ketogenic diet, you need to limit your fruit intake, since most fruits are high in carbs. For optimal results, I would limit fruits to maximum once to twice a week in the evening (timing is key, unless you want to feel tired in the middle of the day), where you could use them as a carb-up. Most of the time however, stick to vegetables instead.

Some of my favorite vegetables that I mix with fish, eggs or meat with my meals are broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, spinach and kale. They all go really well with some healthy fats like grass-fed butter (I recommend Kerrygold), olive oil or coconut oil, which also helps make the meals more filling and keeps hunger in check for a longer time.


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