Unfortunately, while fruit is great for you in a dietary sense, most fruits are too high in carbs to be consumed on the keto diet. Less unfortunately, berries are one exception to that rule. If you found this page wondering, “are strawberries keto?” you’ll be happy to know that the answer is yes, in moderation.
Quick Answer: Strawberries are fine on the keto diet in moderation with each berry being between .5 and 1.5 net carbs depending on size. These applies to both fresh and unsweetened frozen berries, but not dried.
What’s in a Strawberry?
Strawberries are roughly 91 percent water, 7.7 percent carbs (26 percent being fiber), .7 percent protein, and .3 percent fat. They are rich in antioxidants (primarily vitamin C), manganese, potassium, and folate.
Strawberries: Keto Positive Points
-High in vitamin C.
Strawberries pack an impressive 104 mg of vitamin C in a single cup– 104 percent of your daily recommended intake! Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that needs to be consumed regularly. It’s vital for bone, teeth, and skin repair as well as immune system health and iron absorption. As an antioxidant, it also helps prevent and repair cell damage.
-May help maintain stable blood sugar levels.
Several studies between 2011 and 2016 (study 1, 2, 3, and 4) have shown strawberries not only slow glucose digestion resulting in more stable blood sugar levels, but they also reduce the amount of insulin necessary to process sugars. This is especially helpful in preventing insulin resistance.
-Low glycemic index and carb content.
Given the studies mentioned above, it’s not surprising that strawberries also have a low glycemic index, meaning they don’t cause sudden spikes in blood sugar.
Strawberries have a glycemic index of 40, and a glycemic load of 1. Glycemic index refers to how quickly a food raises your blood sugar in comparison to straight glucose (a score of 100), and glycemic load refers to how likely the carb content of a single serving of a certain food is to raise your blood sugar based on its glycemic index.
This number is obtained by multiplying the carb content of a typical serving by the food’s glycemic index. The glycemic load of strawberries is based on 120 g or roughly 6 to 10 medium to large berries.
Strawberries: Keto Negative Points
-Easy to over consume.
Strawberries are only considered OK on the keto diet in moderation, but they are very easy to over eat. This is because the net carbs in strawberries varies by the size of the berry pretty greatly.
A small strawberry around 1” in diameter only has around .5 net carbs, but an extra-large strawberry at 1 5/8” has close to 1.5 net carbs. This means eating just five extra-large berries would kill half a day’s carb allotment for someone following the 20-carb limit on keto.
An easy rule of thumb, literally, is that each berry as wide as the length between your knuckle and the end of your thumb is .5 net carbs (a small berry). If the berry measures the length of your whole thumb, it’s 1.5 net carbs (extra-large berry).
-Small allergy risk.
While as an adult most folks already know what they’re allergic too, 15 percent of food allergies aren’t diagnosed until adulthood. Strawberries certainly aren’t the most common food allergy occurring in .5 to 1 percent of adults, but they are common enough to warrant warning those who weren’t big berry eaters prior to starting keto about the small risk. Symptoms of a strawberry allergy may be mild, such as skin reactions and headache.
-Risk of contamination.
Based on the most current data from the USDA’s Pesticide Data program (2016) strawberries are ranked as the most-pesticide-contaminated food with one third of commercial berries having more than ten types of pesticides present in samples. Strawberries have consistently ranked within the top five since 2006, holding as part of the “Dirty Dozen” of produce. Be sure to properly wash your berries, and if possible, buy from suppliers who avoid heavy pesticide use–a great reason to support small local farmers!
Some Keto-friendly Strawberry Uses
Keto smoothies make a great pre- or post-workout option, as well as breakfast. They are also easy to alter to your tastes. Coconut milk, a few frozen strawberries, and a sugar-free sweetener make a good base recipe for strawberry keto smoothies. You can add protein powders, sugar-free fiber, unsweetened cocoa, heavy cream, and more to customize yours.
If you want to thicken your keto smoothie up a bit, adding ice cubes and/or heavy cream before blending will give it more of a milkshake consistency.
Finally, strawberries make a great addition to keto cheesecake and mousses/puddings. For instance, blending cream cheese, a low-carb sweetener such as Xylitol, a splash of lemon juice, and whipped cream (whipped at home without sugar) makes a delicious quick, no-bake cheesecake filling to add strawberries to.
Another option is to heat heavy cream on your stove top until bubbling, pour over low-carb chocolate chips (such as Lily’s), stir until smooth, allow to cool, and whip for low-carb mousse and strawberries.
Still have questions about strawberries? Have an awesome strawberry keto recipe? Drop us a comment!