Is Acai Keto?

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 nutrition

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.

A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) of frozen acai puree provides the following nutrients (2, 3, 4, 5):

  • 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.

A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of frozen acai puree contains 5 grams of carbs, 4 of which are fiber (2, 3, 4).

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).

Compared to other fruits, acai is also high in fat, which should comprise at least 70% of calories for keto diets (2, 8). 

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. 

The average homemade acai bowl contains 30-45 grams of carbs, while some restaurant versions have close to 100 grams (9, 10, 11, 12).

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.

Fruits:

  • 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)

Liquids:

  • 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)

Mix-Ins:

  • 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)

Toppings:

  • 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:

Final thoughts

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

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