January 10, 2018 by Adapt Your Life

Fruit & Veg On A Low-Carb Diet – Dr. Eric Westman

Vegetables are important because they give you fiber, minerals and vitamins, but there’s a lot of debate about whether or not fruit is necessary. Dr. Eric Westman discusses consuming vegetables and fruit on a low-carb or keto diet. 

Exclude fruit and limit vegetables

There’s a lot of sugar in fruit which is why Dr. Westman recommends that you exclude it  when you first start a low-carb diet. If you do decide to eat fruit, you have to limit the amount, so it’s often easier to simply exclude it. You should also only consume a limited amount of non starchy vegetables.

Are low-carb veggies good prebiotics or should I add a little starch to feed my gut bacteria?

Dr. Westman admits to wondering about whether or not prebiotics and probiotics even matter. There certainly is a lot of hype about them, but the clinical trials done on humans are still in an early phase. However, a lot of people continue to push them.

There have been people doing well without probiotics for a long time so the role of probiotics is questionable. He doesn’t necessarily recommend probiotics so there’s no need to add starch to feed the gut bacteria, the bacteria will be just fine.

Will half a piece of fruit once in a while impede progress?

It comes down to the number of grams of carbohydrates in the fruit and whether you can control the amount that you eat. If you can have a bite or a half piece of fruit and stop there, it’s probably okay. There’s really no forbidden food on a keto diet. It’s just that if the food has carbohydrates in it, you can’t have too much of it and most people can’t stop at a bite of an apple or orange, so the recommendation is to simply stay away from it completely. 

What are the best fruit choices on the keto diet?

Fruits with the lowest carbohydrates are berries and grapefruits. However, you should avoid them at first because it’s hard to control how much you eat.

What about Vitamin C?

If you’re cutting out fruit, there is plenty of vitamin C in the vegetables and other foods that you’re eating on the keto diet. You might wonder how you can get vitamin C without orange juice and that’s because of marketing that we’ve been hearing that for so long.

How do you get past cravings for fruits?

You only crave something because you’re having it. It may take a few weeks or a month to not crave the food, but the cravings will eventually go away.

One option is to have a little piece of fruit or berries in your yogurt or to add a small amount of cream on it so that you just don’t have much of it. At first, fruit and nuts represent trigger foods and that means that it triggers your hunger making it hard to stop having it.

Can you have more than the 20 grams of carbs a day if you have veggies with fiber?

This is really the net carb versus total carb calculation. Whether it matters or not depends on your metabolism. You might be able to have 30 or 40 and have it work fine. Net carbs is calculated by taking out the fiber and sugar alcohols from the total carbs, assuming that you don’t absorb the fiber and assuming that the sugar alcohols don’t interfere with the ketone metabolism. It’s my recommendation to stick to 20 total carbs at first.

Should we subtract out the fiber from the total carbs?

You shouldn’t do this at first. Another point about net carbs is that a lot of products have low net carbs, but they’re high total carbs, so look at the back or the side for the nutrition facts, and look at the total grams of carbs, not the net carbs like it says on the front.


Dr. Eric Westman takes you through the ins and outs of eating fruit & veg on a low carb diet and answers some interesting questions about anticoagulants, prebiotics, probiotics and vitamins. He reveals the real reason you’re experiencing cravings as well as the difference between net carbs and total carbs.