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Is Pomegranate Keto-Friendly?

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Yes, pomegranate seeds are keto-friendly. While most fruits are not keto-friendly because they’re high in carbohydrates, pomegranate seeds are an exception.

They’re low-carb and have some incredible health benefits! 

Learn why pomegranate seeds are keto-friendly and why you should avoid pomegranate juice.

Halved pomegranates

What is keto?

Keto is a low-carb, moderate-protein, and high-fat diet. A keto diet causes your body to run on ketosis—a metabolic state where your body burns fat for energy instead of blood sugar. 

To remain in ketosis, you have to limit your daily carb intake to 20 to 50 grams.

The keto diet has many health benefits. It promotes weight loss, insulin sensitivity, mental clarity, and high energy levels.

Most fruits aren’t compatible with keto because they contain too many carbs and rank high on the glycemic index (GI). Blueberries and blackberries are exceptions since they rank lower on the GI and are the best berries to eat when on a ketogenic diet.

But let’s focus on pomegranates!

What are pomegranates?

Pomegranate is an odd-looking red fruit with a tough, leathery outside. The peel houses nutrient-dense juice and delicious edible seeds, also called arils. 

The arils taste like cranberries—slightly tart and sweet.

They’re rich in essential vitamins and minerals that promote a healthy body. 

How many carbs are in pomegranate?

A whole pomegranate contains 52.7 grams of carbs and 41.4 grams of net carbs. The juice contains 34 grams of total carbs and 33 net carbs, and one-quarter cup of arils contains 8.2 grams of total carbs and 6.4 net carbs. 

From these numbers, you can tell that the arils are safe on a healthy keto diet. 

Pomegranate nutrition facts

Here’s the nutrient breakdown of an average-sized pomegranate:

Calories: 234

Fat: 3.3 grams

Protein: 3 to 5 grams

Net carbs: 41.4 grams

Fiber: 11.7 grams

Other nutrients: potassium, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin K 

Are pomegranates healthy?

Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants, which help support healthy cells. In fact, they have even more essential nutrients and antioxidants than green tea and red wine. 

If you want to integrate pomegranates into your keto diet, it’s important not to have sugar-rich pomegranate juice. Instead, enjoy the nutrient-dense seeds.

Pomegranate juice ranks 60 out of 100 on the glycemic index, indicating high sugar content. There are 12 grams of sugar in one-half cup of pomegranate juice. In contrast, the seeds contain just 6.4 grams of net carbs.

Table with pomegranate seeds

Amazing pomegranate seed benefits

Unlike pomegranate juice, the seeds contain lower carb content, making them compatible with a keto diet. Here are some other nutritional benefits of pomegranate seeds.

1. Supports healthy blood glucose 

Pomegranate seeds contain phytonutrients helpful for prediabetic or diabetic patients. They increase the size and number of pancreatic cells that make insulin. They also contain potent antioxidants, which improve insulin sensitivity.

2. Improves your cardiovascular health 

Cholesterol can build up in your arteries and cause heart disease. Eating pomegranate seeds protects against low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) oxidation, which can result in atherosclerosis and a higher risk of heart attacks. Pomegranate extract also helps dilate your arteries and improve blood flow.

3. Boosts vitamin C 

Pomegranate seeds are rich in vitamin C, which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and may help protect against certain types of cancer, including prostate cancer. Vitamin C is also necessary for the growth and repair of body tissues.

4. Contains antioxidants 

The seeds contain antioxidants that may help lower high blood pressure to keep your arteries, heart, and brain healthy. Some antioxidants in the seeds include tannins, flavonoids, and lignans.

5. Rich in fiber 

The seeds contain fibers that help lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, and reduce the risk of intestinal cancer. One study showed that flour from these seeds boasts fifty percent fiber. The two most abundant forms of fiber in these seeds are cellulose and lignin.

6. Contains unique fatty acids 

The seeds have about 12 to 20 percent seed oil, mainly punicic acid (a polyunsaturated fat). Punicic acid helps improve insulin sensitivity, promote weight loss, and reduce inflammation.

Salad with pomegranate and feta

The best ways to enjoy pomegranate on keto

Pomegranate seeds are not only delicious, but versatile—and easy to integrate into your keto diet. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Freeze them and eat them after a meal - it’s almost like having candy after dinner. Remember to freeze them individually to prevent them from clumping into a large ball.

  • Toss them into your salad - the pomegranate feta salad is a perfect blend of salty and sweet.

  • Make salsa with them - pomegranate salsa can be made with arils, cucumber, jalapeno, mint, cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, honey, salt, and pepper. 

  • Scatter the seeds over hummus - this is a delicious addition to a healthy keto diet.

  • Add some sparkling water - the perfect alternative to sodas with a refreshing taste. The combination of sparkling water, arils, and other ingredients produces a delicious sweet-tart flavor.

  • Pair them with avocado slices - a perfect healthy side. Try adding lime, fresh cilantro, and jalapenos for a burst of flavor.

  • Eat the dried seeds plain - they’re delicious on their own!

Ripe pomegranates on tree

Key takeaways

Generally, fruits are not keto-friendly, especially dried fruits with the exception of some berries. But pomegranate fruits are unique because they are healthy and won’t kick you off a ketogenic diet.

Avoid pomegranate juice because it has up to 33 grams of carbs, which is too high on a keto diet. The delicious seeds are relatively lower in carbohydrates, with just 6.4 grams of carbs per serving.

 

You can integrate pomegranate seeds into your low-carb diet by pairing them with avocado slices, mixing them with sparkling water, or making pomegranate salsa.

Add dried pomegranate seeds to this week’s shopping list and have them as a delicious and nourishing low-carb treat.

FAQs

1. Are pomegranates keto-friendly?

Yes, pomegranates are a keto-friendly fruit, but make sure you consume the seeds, not the juice. There are too many carbs in pomegranate juice. Keep in mind that consuming too many pomegranate seeds can push you over your daily limit if you’re not careful. 

2. How many carbs are in pomegranate seeds?

There are 16 grams of carbs in a half-cup serving of pomegranate seeds. 

3. Are pomegranate seeds keto-friendly?

Yes, pomegranate seeds have low carbs and are keto-friendly. Avoid the seeds if you’re close to your daily carb limit.

4. Is pomegranate juice keto-friendly?

No, pomegranate juice is not safe on a keto diet because it has a high-carb content. There are up to 34 grams of carbs in pomegranate juice.

5. Will pomegranate seeds break a fast?

Yes, pomegranate seeds contain enough carbs to break a fast. Only have the seeds during your eating window. 

6. How do I use pomegranate seed oil?

The oil can be used topically to help promote healthy skin—do not ingest it.

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