Fruits with natural sugars are packed with a variety of vitamins and nutrients, and less harmful for teeth than candies and other sugary sweets. They also contain calories that supply energy for the body. Fruits rich with natural sugars are seasonal throughout the year. Fruit juices and purees are free of fat, cholesterol and sodium. However, eating whole fruits is better than drinking fruit juices or eating fruit-flavored snacks as these have just a few nutrients and whole fruits have more fiber and antioxidants.
10 Fruits With Super-High Sugar Counts
Sugar is kind of like your fave reality TV show: You know you should consume it in moderation, it’s just about everywhere, and you’ll probably never quit it entirely. Okay, admittedly, sugar is a bit worse for your health—the sweet stuff has been linked to increasing rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. But in the rush to avoid sugar (and carbs, too!), many people are shunning fruit. So…should you?
First things first—fruit is good for you. The fear of sugar and carbs has created massive confusion, says Lauren Harris-Pincus, RDN, founder of Nutrition Starring YOU and author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club. “Yes, [fruit] turns to sugar, but so does every other carb we eat at the end of the digestive process,” she says. “It’s a matter of what that food provides nutritionally, and fruit is very nutrient dense.”
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Plus, the sugar found in fruit is different from your standard sweeteners like agave, honey, coconut sugar, maple syrup, or granulated sugar, according to Harris-Pincus. These sources of added sugar have a high glycemic index, meaning that they are digested and absorbed lightening fast by your body. Think: How quickly your blood sugar spikes when you nosh on candy.
“When it comes to sugar in fruit, it’s a bit different because of the fiber and other health benefits,” says Harris-Pincus. The fiber slows down the processing of sugar, and helps your body absorb it more gradually. (This means that fruit generally has a lower glycemic index.)
There are some cases when you do have to pay a little more attention to the type of fruit you eat. For example, if you are a person with diabetes, Harris-Pincus says you need to keep a tighter rein on your blood sugar levels. In that case, you need to be a little more picky, and choose nutrient-rich fruit with lower carbs and sugar. Same goes for anyone on a special diet, like keto.
Otherwise, don’t fear fruit. “Since all fruit contributes vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants to our diets, we should consume them daily,” says Harris-Pincus. “Just monitor the portion sizes, and consume them with a source of protein and fat to temper the glycemic response—like the famous apple and peanut butter combo.”
Since there’s no nutrition label on produce, check out this list of 13 high-sugar fruits, according to the USDA. (P.S. These fruits have crazy-low sugar counts.)
Sugar: 29 grams per cup serving
This tropical fruit packs a serious sugar punch. Here’s why it’s okay to consume in moderation, though: It also gives you 136 milligrams of calcium, superseding your daily recommended intake of 75 milligrams.
Per 1 cup: 125 cal, >1 g fat (>1 g sat), 31 g carbs, 29 g sugar, 2 mg sodium, 2.5 g fiber, 1.6 g protein.
Sugar: 23 grams per cup
Mangoes are a quintessential summer fruit. They’re also a very high-sugar fruit. By providing over a third of your daily vitamin A quota, though, that serving also helps to keep your eyes healthy.
Per cup: 99 cal, >1 g fat (>1 g sat), 25 g carbs, 23 g sugar, 2 mg sodium, 2.6 g fiber, 1.3 g protein.
Sugar: 20 grams per cup of pitted cherries
With that much sugar per serving, no wonder it’s so easy to pop them like candy. Fortunately, they may also help you sleep better at night. Other benefits of cherries include cancer-fighting antioxidants and recovery-promoting potassium.
Per cup of pitted cherries: 97 cal, >1 g fat (>1 g sat), 25 g carbs, 20 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 3.2 g fiber, 1.6 g protein.
Sugar: 19 grams per medium apple
It may surprise you that a medium apple (three inches in diameter) has 25 grams of carbs. That’s partly because it’s a high-fiber fruit. Apples are also rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, which help keep your immune system humming.
Per medium fruit: 95 cal, >1 g fat (>1 g sat), 25 g carbs, 19 g sugar, 2 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, >1 g protein.
Sugar: 17 grams per one large orange
While there’s a good amount of sugar in one orange, it’s also dripping with antioxidants like vitamin C (more than your daily dose in just one fruit!) and minerals like selenium. P.S.: Opt for the whole fruit over juice. The fiber will help slow down the absorption of sugar.
Per one large fruit: 86 cal, >1 g fat (>1 g sat), 22 g carbs, 17 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 2 g protein.
Sugar: 17 grams per one medium fruit
If you’re looking for a mid-day snack, nosh on a pear. Not only will the high-sugar fruit satisfy your sweet tooth, it will keep you full longer, thanks to the six grams of fiber per medium fruit. You’ll also get a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals.
Per one medium fruit: 101 cal, >1 g fat (>1 g sat), 27 g carbs, 17 g sugar, 2 mg sodium, 6 g fiber, >1 g protein.
Sugar: 16 grams per one cup of sliced kiwifruit
The little fuzzy green fruit looks so unassuming, but one cup of sliced kiwi contains 16 grams of sugar. That said, you’ll also get nearly three times your daily recommended dose of vitamin C and nearly a full dose of vitamin K.
Per one cup: 110 cal, >1 g fat (>1 g sat), 26 g carbs, 16 g sugar, 5 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 2 g protein.
Sugar: 16 grams per cup of pineapple chunks
While tropical fruits like pineapple tend to be sticky sweet, one cup serves up 131 percent of your daily vitamin C needs, and 76 percent of your daily manganese needs. It’s also super-hydrating, making it perfect for warm weather months.
Per cup: 82 cal, >1 g fat (>1 g sat), 22 g carbs, 16 g sugar, 2 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, >1 g protein.
Sugar: 15 grams per cup
Sorry to break it to you…but grapes def count as a high-sugar fruit (that’s why they’re so delicious). The red kind are also rich in antioxidants, though, and both red and green pack a fiber punch.
Note: In raisin form, the grapes’ sugar is concentrated in a smaller package—just like with any dried fruit. “It’s much easier to eat a larger portion, too. Think of 12 to 15 grapes versus 12 to 15 raisins. They both contain the same amount of sugar,” says Harris-Pincus. So, if you have a soft spot for dried fruit, use it as an accent for your salad or trail mix, not the main attraction.
Per cup: 97 cal, >1 g fat (>1 g sat), 25 g carbs, 20 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 3.2 g fiber, 1.6 g protein.
Sugar: 14 grams per medium fruit
Bananas get a bad rep as a sugar-laden, calorie-packed fruit. But they also have a good amount of fiber and a ton of potassium and magnesium, along with other inflammation-fighting antioxidants.
Per medium fruit: 105 cal, >1 g fat (>1 g sat), 27 g carbs, 14 g sugar, 1 mg sodium, 3.1 g fiber, 1.2 g protein.
10 Best Low-Sugar Fruits
Watching your sugar intake is a good idea, but taming your sweet tooth can be an incredibly difficult feat.
Perhaps you’ve already cut out processed sugars, but didn’t realize how much sugar is contained in fruit. Or maybe you live with diabetes and want to know which fruits will have the least impact on your blood sugar.
While fruit also contains lots of other healthy nutrients, some varieties are higher in sugar than others. Learn which fruits are lowest in sugar content so you can satisfy your sweet tooth without breaking the sugar bank.
1. Lemons (and limes)
High in vitamin C, lemons and their lime green counterparts are fairly sour fruits. They don’t contain much sugar (only a gram or two per lemonTrusted Source or limeTrusted Source) and are the perfect addition to a glass of water to help curb your appetite.
With only five gramsTrusted Source — a bit more than a teaspoon — of sugar per cup, and lots of fiber to help fill you up, raspberries are one of several amazing berries to make the list.
Strawberries are surprisingly low in sugar considering they taste so sweet and delicious. One cup of raw strawberries has about seven gramsTrusted Source of sugar, along with over 100 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
Blackberries also only have seven gramsTrusted Source of sugar per cup. You don’t have to feel guilty snacking on these dark colored berries. As a bonus, they’re also high in antioxidants as well as fiber.
These odd fuzzy green-fleshed fruits are technically considered a berry too. Kiwis (or kiwifruits) are rich in vitamin C and low in sugar — with just six gramsTrusted Source per kiwi. You can find kiwis all year-round at the grocery store.
Another citrus fruit to make the list is grapefruit. While grapefruits certainly don’t taste as sweet as a grape, they make for a great breakfast with only nine gramsTrusted Source of sugar in half of a medium-sized grapefruit.
While not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you think of fruit, avocados are indeed fruits, and naturally low in sugar. An entire raw avocado only has about one gramTrusted Source of sugar. What avocados do have a lot of are healthy fats, which will help keep you satiated.
Watermelons are the iconic summer fruit. They may seem like a treat, but they’re low in sugar. A whole cup of diced up watermelon has under 10 gramsTrusted Source of sugar. A bonus of eating watermelon is it’s also a great source of iron.
Cantaloupes owe their orange color to a high vitamin A content. A cup of this delicious melon contains less than 13 gramsTrusted Source of sugar. This may be a bit higher than other fruits, but keep in mind that a 12 ounce can of soda has nearly 40 grams of sugar, and very little nutritional value.
Oranges are another great way to enjoy a sweet snack without all the calories and sugar, while also boosting your Vitamin C intake. A typical naval orange has about 12 gramsTrusted Source of sugar per fruit and less than 70 calories.
The Worst Fruits to Eat If You’re Watching Your Blood Sugar
First things first: fruit is your friend. Sure, a staggering one in 10 Americans has diabetes, but bananas are not the culprit.
Unlike ultra-processed foods that are filled with added sugars (think: corn syrup and cane sugar), fruit contains natural sugar called fructose. Fruit also provides hydration—most fruits are about 90% water!—and fiber. The presence of fiber helps to slow down the body’s absorption of sugars like fructose from the gut into the blood, meaning you experience less of a blood sugar spike after eating an apple compared to, say, a cookie.
Of course it’s possible to overdo anything, fruit included. Consuming very large amounts of fruit everyday (fruitarianism, anyone?) may hike up blood sugar levels over time. This is especially important to consider for people with insulin resistance (IR) or Type 2 diabetes who are striving to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. Or for the 88 million Americans—that’s more than 1 in 3 adults—living with prediabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But we want to be clear: Nobody needs to cut fruit from their diet, even if they have IR or diabetes. Fruit is an essential part of a nutritious diet. That said, it’s helpful for everyone to have a sense of which fruits are the highest and lowest in sugar, and to be aware of what a serving of fruit looks like. Because a whole bag of grapes is not a single serving (sorry!).
In general, we recommend sticking to two or three servings of fruit per day. Be sure to choose whole fruits instead of juices, which lack that critical fiber we mentioned earlier.
Curious which fruits are the highest in sugar? Read on for our high-sugar fruit list and then check out our low-sugar fruit list here.
5 Highest-Sugar Fruits
Pomegranates are high on the sugar scale, with 1 cup of the juicy kernels serving up nearly 24 grams of sugar. But the vibrant fruit is also jam-packed with longevity-friendly antioxidants like anthocyanins.
Stick with ½ cup as a serving (which will cut the sugar down to 12 grams) and combine it with a source of high-quality protein so you aren’t eating the carbs alone. We love sprinkling pom seeds on top of Greek yogurt for a tart topping.
One cup of mango can bring 23 grams of sugar to the table, but it also provides two-thirds of your daily needs for vitamin C. Stick with ½ cup as a serving of this tropical fruit.
Another option? Whip up this Avocado and Mango Salsa that pairs the sweet fruit with heart-healthy fats thanks to the avocado. Add it to your fave fish tacos or use it as a dip for crudite.
Anyone else get super excited for seasonal fruits? For us, summer screams cherries (and watermelon and berries and, let’s be real, ice cream). Go for ½ cup of cherries to cut the sugar content down to about 10 grams per serving.
Bananas get a bad rap, but the potassium-rich fruits are satisfying and versatile. After all, what other fruit can become pancakes and ice cream?!
Stick with 1 small banana or ½ of a large banana as a serving and you’ll get about 12 grams of sugar from the fruit. Also smart: pair your ‘nana with a source of healthy fat or protein if you’re looking to level off your blood sugar response. We love our Chocolate, Banana, Almond Butter smoothie that combines bananas with protein powder, collagen peptides and nuts for a balanced breakfast.
One large orange contains 17 grams of sugar and is packed with goodness. That same large orange provides more than 100% of your daily value for immune-supportive vitamin C, plus 4.5 grams of fiber. Stick with a small orange as a serving.