It's a simple enough question, but the answer can be elusive, especially because it depends on what kind of cranberries we're talking about: fresh, juiced or dried.
If we're talking about 100g of ordinary, raw cranberries, the carbohydrate figures according to wikipedia are as follows: dietary fibre = 4.6g; total sugars = 4.04. These figures might confuse some of us however, because as low carb dieters we are advised to subtract dietary fiber from total carbohydrates to calculate "net carbs" which is the figure we really care about (dietary fiber is a carbohydrate, but it is not digested so doesn't contribute to raising blood sugar levels).
As wikipedia lists only total sugars and not total carbohydrates, its necessary to check another reputable source to see if they list total carbs. The calorie counter at about.com gives us the following numbers for 1 cup (95g) of cranberries: dietary fiber = 4.4g; sugars = 3.8g; total carbohydrates = 11.6g. Subtracting the fiber from the total gives us 7.2g net carbs, which is low enough for us to conclude that cranberries are a low carb fruit. So far so good, except that we hardly ever eat cranberries raw, we are more likely to drink their juice or eat them dried.
If we're talking about 95g of cranberry juice, these figures from the National Agricultural Library should be interesting: dietary fiber = 0.1g; sugars = 11.49g; total carbohydrates = 11.59g, giving us net carbs of 11.49g (11.59 - 0.1). In other words, gram for gram, cranberry juice contains 1.5 times as many net carbs as raw cranberries. But how often would we drink just 95g of juice?
A typical cup holds 253g of liquid. Using a cup as our new unit of measurement gives us 7.2g net carbs for raw cranberries and a whopping 30.57g net carbs for cranberry juice! Although fundamentally cranberries are a low carb fruit, when you consider how many cranberries must be used to produce a single glass of juice, and the fact that most of the fiber is removed, its easy to see how concentrated the sugar content would be.
Now if that's not bad enough, most cranberry juice has extra sugar added to it because the pure stuff is simply too sour for most people's tastes. So unless it's a specially processed cranberry juice made with artificial sweetener, you're probably best to avoid cranberry juice on a low carb diet.
Finally, let's consider dried cranberries, popularly known as "craisins". Unfortunately, most commercially available craisins are loaded with sugar for the same reason cranberry juices are - plain dried cranberries are too sour for most people. The exact net carb count for a cup of dried craisins would depend on the brand because each producer has its own production process, but suffice it to say that unless they are artificially sweetened, dried cranberries are not low carb fruit.
If you're lucky enough to get a hold of dried unsweetened cranberries, the net carb count on a gram for gram basis will still be higher than for fresh ones simply because they are smaller, so you can fit more of them into 95g than you can the raw fruit.
So are cranberries a low carb fruit? In theory yes, but in practice, the answer is often no.
The other day, I received an email which asked me how many carbohydrates would be consumed on a typical day on the Medifast program. I'll tell you the answer to this question, as well as take a look at a typical daily menu and go over the amount of carbohydrates in it, in the following article.
The Amount Of Carbohydrates Consumed Each Day On Medifast: According to company guidelines, if you eat your five "Medifastmeals" each day (which the company provides) and then consume your larger "lean and green meal" (which you provide) then you should be taking in roughly between 80 to 100 grams of carbohydrates each day.
How Does The Amount Of Carbs Consumed On Medifast Compare To Other Diets Like Atkins?: This diet is considered to be a low carb / high protein one that will, over time, put your body in fat burning mode (or ketosis) because excess carbs are not available. However, you are allowed much more leeway than keto net carbs or total carbs you are on diets like Atkins, which has the optimal level at under 20 per day, which is obviously much lower.
A Look At The Carbs In A Daily Medifast Menu: So, let's now look at a typical day of foods and see, exactly what we have. Your morning cappuccino (the diet's version, of course) would come in at about 13 grams. A breakfast of the plan's oatmeal would also have 13 grams. And guess how many your mid morning shake would have? That's right. 13. A lunch of chili would yield a little more at 15. And the protein bars have more carbs than any of the other items at about 22 grams (which is why they only want you to have one per day.)
So you have now consumed five of the diet's meals exactly as you are supposed to and you are now at 76 grams of carbohydrates. And, you still have your "lean and green" meal to go. This gives you roughly 25 grams to play with for your larger meal. Now, the guidelines of the lean and green have you eating 5 - 7 ounces of lean protein and 3 servings of vegetables. So long as you chose low glycemic vegetables, you should be well within this range.
But, due to your lean and green varying every day, the amount of carbs, calories, and protein is going to vary from day to day. Since your diet meals are provided for you though, these should remain constant. So long as your follow the guidelines for the meals that you put together on your own, you should still be well within the optimal levels that are going to get you into ketosis so that you'll rapidly begin to burn fat.