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Can I Eat Pomegranates on a Ketogenic Diet?


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Someone asked me if they could have pomegranates on a ketogenic diet.

I know what you’re thinking…

It’s fruit. And pretty much all fruit is off-limits.

They have too many carbs. They rank too high on the glycemic index. They’ll kick you out of ketosis. You won't get the weight loss you want.

Well, with pomegranates, it’s not quite so straightforward. It turns out they're actually quite keto-friendly.

Let me explain.

What Are Pomegranates?

a picture of a whole pomegranate

You probably know that fruit isn’t a big component of a ketogenic diet. The fruit is generally too high in carbohydrates, which quickly turns to sugar in your body and will push you out of ketosis. There are only a few fruits I recommend, such as blueberries and blackberries, and even those should be eaten in limited quantities.

Happily, you can add pomegranates as one other fruit that is compliant with a keto diet. This odd-looking red fruit with the tough leathery outside contains substantial health benefits. Plus, pomegranates are delicious. Their distinctive-looking seeds, called arils, are packed with nutrients and antioxidants, which are substances that can help, prevent or delay damage within your cells

Though pomegranates are good for a ketogenic diet, there's a catch.

I want you to stay away from the pomegranate juice.

Here’s why:

Not only is it too high in carbohydrates, but there are also 12 grams of sugar in one-half cup of pomegranate juice. On the glycemic index, which rates how quickly foods raise your blood sugar, the juice has a ranking of 60 out of a maximum 100. It’s not terribly high, but you don’t want to consume the juice on a ketogenic diet because its sugar and carb content will kick you out of ketosis. Then you won't get the benefits of a keto diet such as weight loss, sharper mental clarity, and abundant energy.

However, the seeds have a much lower ranking on the glycemic index, making them an excellent addition for you when you’re on keto.

Interestingly, there is a small amount of fat in a pomegranate; less than one gram each of saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and monounsaturated fat in the whole fruit. But because the amount is so small, it won’t really count toward the fat content required for a keto diet.

As well, pomegranates provide a small amount of protein. A medium-sized fruit provides 3 grams of protein. You'll get nearly 5 grams of protein from a larger fruit. You can see how this special fruit is very keto-friendly.

Pomegranate’s Amazing Health Benefits

Pomegranates contain beneficial phytonutrients that can increase the size and number of pancreatic cells that make insulin. Pomegranate seeds are therefore very helpful for someone who is pre-diabetic or has developed full diabetes.

pomegranate seeds in the shape of a heart being held in women’s hands

The fruit is beneficial in other ways as well. It:

  • Promotes cardiovascular health by protecting low-density lipoprotein (LDL, “the bad cholesterol”) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL, “the good cholesterol”) from oxidation, a condition that can result in atherosclerosis with its risk of heart attacks.
  • Contains high vitamin C content, which has anti-inflammatory properties that may protect against certain types of cancer, including prostate cancer.
  • Includes antioxidants that may help lower high blood pressure to keep the arteries, heart, and brain functioning well.

You can see that pomegranates are rich with beneficial phytonutrients. Be sure to make them part of your ketogenic diet - the seeds, though, not the juice.

How To Use Pomegranates

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Eat the seeds plain, on their own.
  • Freeze them and eat them after a meal; they’re so good, it’s almost like having candy after dinner.
  • Toss them into your salad.
  • Make salsa with them.
  • Scatter the seeds over hummus (hummus is another of my recommendations to eat on a healthy keto diet)
  • Add some to sparkling water.
  • Pair them with avocado slices.
  • Mix them with roasted red peppers, walnuts, and a bit of extra virgin olive oil to make a tangy dip for celery sticks or other low-carb vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower.
  • Serve them alongside olives.

See how many possibilities there are to eat these delicious seeds while you’re on a keto diet? And if you search online, I guarantee you’ll find many more ideas and recipes to suit you.

pomegranate seeds on a dish of salad

Thumbs Up For Eating Pomegranates On A Keto Diet

These tips about pomegranates aren’t complicated. In fact, you could consider them downright plain. But just when you think there isn’t any fruit other than berries to have on a keto diet, you discover a delicious one that is.

Sure, you’ve got to skip the juice. Yet those seeds that are so packed full of nutrients will delight your taste buds and add zing to your diet while keeping you safely within keto diet guidelines.

So go ahead and treat yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

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