Limes: Carb Counts and Health Benefits

Nutritional Information for Limes on a Low-Carb Diet

sliced limes on wooden table
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Limes, like lemons, are used to boost the flavor of a dish without adding very much, if any, carbohydrate. Lime juice can be used in salads, soups, and dips in place of dressings that may have high carb counts.

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts for Limes

You'll often use lime juice rather than the whole lime, so values for both are given.

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice: 1 gram effective (net) carbohydrate plus 0 grams fiber and 4 calories.
  • Juice of 1 medium lime (a little over 1.5 ounces): 4 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 0 grams fiber and 11 calories.
  • 1 whole lime (about 2 inches in diameter): 5 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 2 grams fiber and 20 calories.

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load for Limes

There is no scientific study of the glycemic index of lime juice, as is typical for many non-sugary fruits and non-starchy vegetables. This is because they contain little carbohydrate and aren't expected to have much effect on your blood sugar. The glycemic load takes into account the amount of the food that is eaten and how it affects your blood sugar and insulin response. A value of less than 10 is considered to be low. Here are the values estimated for lime juice:

Glycemic Load:

  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice: 0
  • Juice of 1 medium lime: 1

Health and Nutritional Benefits of Limes

Limes and lemons, like all citrus fruits, are an excellent source of vitamin C.

Just one small lime packs a third of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C for adults. Limes are also recognized for their antioxidant properties as well as providing bioflavonoids. To get a significant amount of nutrients from lime juice, you'd have to use more juice than usual. Still, 1/4 cup of lime juice is a very good source of vitamin C, and there are a number of healthful phytonutrients in limes as well.

Low-Carb Eating With Limes

You can make a quick and healthy sweet and sour lime salad dressing by whisking together lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and sweetener. Or, leave out the sweetener for a tart dressing. Some people even forgo the oil and dress greens only with a squeeze of lime juice and seasonings.

A wedge of lime or a squeeze of lime juice in water or seltzer can enliven your glass or cover the taste of boring tap water. Lime juice is the basis of many low-carb cocktails you can mix and enjoy.

Lime juice is the base for marinades for beef or chicken fajitas or for Mexican grilled chicken. Save some wedges for a final squeeze over the grilled meat or vegetables before you wrap them in the tortilla and enjoy. You'll be adding bright flavor and a good dose of vitamin C.

Sources:

Atkinson FS, Foster-Powell K, Brand-Miller JC. International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values: 2008. Diabetes Care. 2008;31(12):2281-2283. doi:10.2337/dc08-1239.

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, United States Department of Agriculture. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/.

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