Are Limes Keto Friendly? (You’d Be Surprised!)

Are Limes Keto Friendly

If you’re on a ketogenic diet, it might seem like fruit can’t fit into your lifestyle. Fruit is naturally higher in sugar than vegetables but is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. It’s also high in fiber, a type of carbohydrate found only in plant-based foods. The good thing about fiber is that even though it’s a carb, it doesn’t impact ketosis!

Limes are keto-friendly because they are very low in carbohydrates. Adding lime as a flavoring in your keto meals and drinks is a great way to add flavor without sugar. One lime only has around 5 grams of net carbs, and that’s if you ate the entire lime. The best keto-friendly alternative to limes is lemons.

Limes might make your mouth pucker, but there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this tangy and sour fruit. In this article, we will discuss the different types of limes and nutritional value of limes. We will then discuss other keto-friendly alternatives. Let’s dig in!

Nutritional benefits of limes

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps to fight inflammation and cell damage. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron, a mineral important for building proteins in red blood cells.

One lime provides over 30% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C is also important for wound healing, helps form collagen (the most abundant protein in your body), and promotes healthy bones, cartilage, and teeth.

Low in sugar

Compared to many types of fruit, limes are very low in sugar. One lime (2″ diameter) only has around one gram of sugar.

Diets high in sugar can be problematic for people with blood sugar metabolism issues like diabetes and insulin resistance. Low-sugar foods like limes don’t significantly raise blood sugar levels so are a good option for these people.

Different types of limes

You probably haven’t thought much about the types of limes you buy at the store aside from key limes. There are eight types of limes, some of which might not be readily available in your area.

The most popular types of limes in the United States are key limes and Persian limes.

1. Kaffir limes

Kaffir limes are also called makrut limes. They come from a lime tree native to tropical Southeast Asian countries as well as southern China. Kaffir limes and their tree leaves are popular in Asian cuisine.

A strong citrus scent is released by crushing the rind of kaffir limes and their tree leaves. Essential oils are extracted from Kaffir limes to be used for fragrance due to their strong scent.

Kaffir limes have a strong flavor so you probably don’t want to attempt to eat them raw. Instead, kaffir limes are usually sliced thinly and saved to use in Asian dishes later. Kaffir lime tree leaves are used in foods like soups or curry.

2. Key limes

Key limes are native to Southeast Asia but are primarily produced in India, Mexico, and Egypt. Key limes are juicier than some types of limes which is why they’re great for squeezing fresh lime juice.

Key limes don’t look like the type of lime most people are familiar with at first. They start green and turn yellow when they’re ripe!

3. Finger limes

Finger limes look much different from the common spherical limes at most grocery stores. They are long and contain caviar-looking vesicles, the only edible part of the lime (you can’t eat the exterior).

Finger limes are primarily made in California in the United States so are more expensive since there is a more limited supply. Otherwise, finger limes primarily come from Queensland and New South Wales.

4. Desert limes

Desert limes are most commonly used to make jams, tarts, and jellies. They are native to Queensland, New South Wales, and South Australia.

Desert lime trees can easily adapt to different environments which is why they are suitable to grow in home gardens.

5. Blood limes

Blood limes are a hybrid between red finger limes and a type of mandarin orange. Because it’s crossed with sweet orange, blood limes have a sweet/sour flavor. Blood limes are burgundy on the exterior and have an orange-colored interior.

6. Mandarin limes

Mandarin limes are a hybrid of mandarin oranges and lemons. Mandarin limes get their name because of their close resemblance to mandarin oranges. The skin of mandarin limes is thicker than other limes which increases its shelf life.

Mandarin limes are very tart so are best paired with sugar in foods like marmalade.

7. Calamansi limes

Calamansi limes are primarily found in the Philippines. They are green when unripe and turn yellow/orange in color when ripe.

In the Philippines, calamansi limes are used with savory sauces like soy sauce for a unique sweet and salty flavor.

8. Persian limes

Persian limes are a hybrid of key limes and lemons. Persian limes can be substituted for key limes because they’re similar in taste.

A refresher on the ketogenic diet

The ketogenic (keto) diet is a very low carbohydrate diet. Most keto diets contain fewer than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day, while stricter keto diets might limit carbs to around 20 grams per day.

The ketogenic diet is high in fat (70-80% of total calories) and moderate in protein. When you restrict carbohydrates and rely on fat for your energy, your body goes into ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body burns fat for fuel instead of carbs.

Potential benefits of following a keto diet include weight loss, improved blood sugar levels, and increased insulin sensitivity. However, the long-term benefits of the ketogenic diet have yet to be studied.

How can I tell if a food is keto-friendly?

Some foods have a keto stamp on them to make it easy to determine if it’s keto-friendly. However, most foods won’t necessarily have this stamp even if they are keto-friendly.

In general, keto-friendly foods are low in net carbohydrates and low in/free of added sugar.

Net carbohydrates are the amount that impacts blood sugar levels and ketosis. To determine the net carbs, subtract dietary fiber from total carbs. Most keto-friendly foods will contain around ten or fewer grams of net carbs per serving, but that isn’t a set-in-stone rule.

How can I use limes on a keto diet?

Besides using limes as a flavoring to complement spicy dishes, you can make keto-friendly versions of drinks such as:

Limeade: use lime juice, water, and a keto-friendly sweetener like xylitol.

Lime vinaigrette: a homemade dressing for your keto salads that just requires limes, olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt, and a dash of keto-friendly sweetener.

Lime water with mint: infused water using limes and mint can make drinking water more interesting. Fruit- and herb-infused waters are a great keto-friendly drink and a healthy alternative to sugary drinks.

Cilantro lime ranch: mix cilantro, lime juice, and keto Ranch dressing for a delicious twist on Ranch dressing.

Nutrition Information for Limes

Lime fruit


  • Lime fruit

Nutrition Facts (per 2″ diameter fruit):

  • Calories: 20
  • Total Fat: 0.1 g
  • Sodium: 1 mg (0% DV)
  • Total Carbohydrate: 7 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.9 g
  • Total Sugars: 1.1 g
  • Protein: 0.5 g
  • Vitamin C: 32% DV

Keto alternative to Limes


Lemons are the best keto-alternative to limes as they are both citrus fruit and have similar acidity.

Nutrition Facts (per 2 1/8″ fruit):

  • Calories: 17
  • Total Fat: 0.2 g
  • Sodium: 1 mg (0% DV)
  • Total Carbohydrate: 5 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.6 g
  • Total Sugars: 1.5 g
  • Protein: 0.6 g

Other keto-friendly fruit


Avocados are technically a fruit but they don’t taste sweet. Avocados are rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats and fiber.

Nutrition Facts (per 100 grams):

  • Calories: 160
  • Total Fat: 15 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.1 g
  • Sodium: 7 mg (0% DV)
  • Total Carbohydrate: 9 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 7 g
  • Total Sugars: 0.7 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Potassium: 13% DV
  • Vitamin C: 16% DV
  • Vitamin B6: 15% DV


You might associate vitamin C with citrus fruits and bell peppers. However, strawberries are a fantastic source of vitamin C.

Nutrition Facts (per one cup sliced):

  • Calories: 54
  • Total Fat: 0.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 2 mg (0% DV)
  • Total Carbohydrate: 13 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 3.3 g
  • Total Sugars: 8 g
  • Protein: 1.1 g
  • Vitamin C: 162% DV

Related Questions

Are limes good for you?

Limes are rich in vitamin C, a type of antioxidant that helps fight inflammation. Many chronic diseases are rooted in inflammation such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

Are limes good for your liver?

According to a study, vitamin C (as found in limes) helped inhibit the accumulation of fat in the livers of animal test subjects. While no food will “detoxify” your liver (your liver’s job is to detoxify your body, so it already has that role taken care of), whole plant-based foods like limes definitely make it easier for your liver to do its job.

Are limes alkaline?

Like lemons, limes are acidic due to their citric acid content.

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Diana Gariglio-Clelland

Diana Gariglio-Clelland is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. She obtained her Bachelor's in Nutrition from the University of Idaho in 2012 and has worked in clinical, community, and primary care nutrition settings. She currently works as a freelancer on various health- and nutrition-related projects.

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