Which fruits are best for a low carb lifestyle?

It’s a common misconception that fruit isn’t ‘allowed’ on Atkins yet it’s only sugar, refined carbs and trans-fats that are discouraged, long-term, on a low carb plan, like Atkins. Fruit has many health benefits and is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Some fruits are fine to eat from day one on Atkins. Here are 3 of my favourites:

Olives

Not often recognised as a fruit, olives are a great source of nutrition and are practically sugar free. Olives contain monounsaturated fats, the kind of fats which have been linked to lowered blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease risk factors. Olives also have antioxidants which can improve overall health, reduce inflammation and they contain other vital nutrients like Vitamin E and iron.

Eat a variety of olives from green olives added to stews, black olives made into tapenade to Kalamata olives as a canape with crumbled feta

Avocado

Very low in sugar, half an avocado contains about 1.5g carbs yet are full of fibre, healthy fats – especially heart-healthy monounsaturated fats - and plentiful vitamin and minerals. A serving of avocado contains more potassium than a banana and eating them has been linked with lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol & blood triglyceride levels.

Avocados are great in any meal but make a great accompaniment to eggs and other breakfast fayre Poached Egg on Avocado 'Toast'

Poached Egg on Avocado Toast

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is surprisingly low in sugar and makes a great dessert, paired with cream, for phase one followers. 100g rhubarb contains less than 1g sugar but avoid tinned rhubarb which is often preserved in juice or syrup which packs a hefty sugar punch. Rhubarb also contains Vitamin K which may enhance cognitive function.

Simply stew, or microwave, until softened and add some sweetener to taste. Whip up some double cream or serve with full fat Greek yoghurt for a tasty dessert.

More commonly known fruit should be avoided for the first 2 weeks of Phase one, this is simply because the high sugar content may spark cravings in some people. So reducing all sugar intake initially helps to establish fat burning and get blood sugar levels on an even keel but do reintroduce low sugar fruit after 2 weeks and monitor the effects, such as whether doing so causes sugar cravings. If so you can always stop eating fruit and try another food, such as nuts & seeds.

Pairing fruit with cream, or add to a shake, to slow down the blood sugar response. Here are some of the top picks for fruit to try once you’ve reintroduced it:

Raspberries

Raspberries are one of the lowest sugar berries and contain a good dose of fibre too, which will slow down the sugar rush and will keep you feeling fuller. 100g raspberries is only about 4g carbs (4g sugar) but stick to a small serving of about 30-40g initially until you gauge your tolerance to fruit.

Strawberries

Packed with Vitamin C & fibre, 100g strawberries contains about 6g carbs from sugar. So, again, stick to small servings and have with cream. Or keep a bag of frozen strawberries in your freezer and add to shakes to add some fruity goodness.

Try these chocolate dipped strawberries for a decadent treat Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Melon

100g of cantaloupe melon is only 4.5g carbs so another good choice for after 2 weeks in phase one, or when you reintroduce fruit in phase two. Avoid watermelon though as it’s a higher glycaemic fruit and has 7g sugar per 100g

What are your favourite, low carb, fruit recipes? Feel free to visit our forum and share your favourites!

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Posted by Linda O'Byrne
Atkins Nutritionist