For people following a low-carb, high-fat keto diet, finding keto-friendly foods can be a challenge.
Most fruits are limited on the keto diet due to their high carb content. However, there are a few exceptions, such as raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries.
You might be wondering whether acai could be another keto-friendly option. Keep reading to find out!
What is acai?
Acai (“ah-sigh-ee”) berries are dark purple fruits produced by Acai palm trees that grow in the Amazon rainforest (1).
They are small, about 1 centimeter in diameter, and round with a single large seed in the middle. Although they are referred to as berries, they are actually classified as drupes (or stone fruits).
Acai’s flavor is often described as a cross between blackberries and dark chocolate. It tastes earthy and bitter but also slightly sweet and tart.
Acai has a unique nutrient profile that makes it very keto-friendly. Unlike most fruits, it is low in carbohydrates, high in fat, and provides a small amount of protein, making it a great choice for people following a ketogenic diet.
- Calories: 65
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: 5 grams
- Carbohydrates: 5 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Sugars: <0.5 grams
- Vitamin A: 1000 IU (20% DV)
- Vitamin C: 10 mg (11% DV)
- Iron: 1.1 mg (6% DV)
- Calcium: 40 mg (3% DV)
- Potassium: 105 mg (2% DV)
Is acai keto?
Acai is very keto-friendly due to its low carb, high-fat content.
Although fiber is a carbohydrate, it can’t be digested or absorbed and therefore doesn’t increase blood sugar levels (6).
Many people following ketogenic diets calculate “net carbs” — the amount of digestible carbs in food — using the following formula:
Net carbs = total grams of carbs – total grams of fiber
This means that acai has only 1 gram of net carbs per serving!
A typical ketogenic diet allows for about 20-50 grams of total carbs or less than 25-35 grams net carbs per day, so a single serving of acai would only account for 2-5% of your daily carb allowance (7).
This makes acai an excellent choice for people following a ketogenic diet or other low-carbohydrate diets.
Can acai bowls be keto?
Unfortunately, traditional acai bowls aren’t very keto-friendly.
They often include high-carb ingredients like juice, yogurt, granola, sweeteners, and other fruits in addition to acai.
However, it is possible to make a keto-friendly version of this dish using some of the low-carb ingredients listed below.
- Acai berries (1 gram net carbs per 100-gram serving) (2, 3, 4)
- Blackberries (4 grams net carbs per 100-gram serving) (13)
- Raspberries (5 grams net carbs per 100-gram serving) (14)
- Strawberries (6 grams net carbs per 100-gram serving) (15)
- Canned coconut milk (1 gram net carbs per ⅓ cup serving) (16)
- Unsweetened almond milk (3 grams net carbs per 1 cup serving) (17)
- Unsweetened coconut water (6 grams net carbs per 1 cup serving) (18)
- Unsweetened almond milk yogurt (6 grams net carbs per ¾ cup serving) (19)
- Plain Greek yogurt (7 grams net carbs per ¾ cup serving) (20)
- Hemp seeds (1 gram net carbs per 1-ounce serving) (21)
- Unsweetened shredded coconut (2 grams net carbs per 1-ounce serving) (22)
- Sliced almonds (2 grams net carbs per 1-ounce serving (23)
- Pepitas (2 grams net carbs per 1-ounce serving) (24)
- Chia seeds (2 grams net carbs per 1-ounce serving) (25)
- Cocoa nibs (4 grams net carbs per 1-ounce serving) (26)
If your acai bowl is a little too tart for your taste, consider adding some keto-friendly sweetener like stevia or monk fruit.
If you are looking for a keto acai bowl recipe, try one of these delicious options:
Acai berries are low in carbs and high in healthy fats and fiber, which makes them an excellent choice for people following a ketogenic diet.
To make a keto-friendly acai bowl or smoothie, blend acai puree with low-carb ingredients like berries and coconut milk, then top with nuts and seeds.
Want to learn more about acai?
Check out our in-depth post:
Acai Berries: History, Nutrition, & Uses
Amy Richter is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Missouri. She is an experienced nutrition writer and medical advisor for Healthline and Medical News Today. Amy is passionate about all things food-related and enjoys translating complex science into easy-to-understand articles.