Fruits with the least amount of sugar can be extremely beneficial to your diet. All fruits contain natural sugar, but some varieties have very little of it while others will give you a high amount. You should know that even though fruits have natural sugars that they’re still considered healthy foods as they have other nutrients your body needs.
Top 10 Low Sugar Fruits
Fruit is one of those great food groups – delicious, natural AND healthy. And if it’s healthy, you can totally eat as much you like. Right? Wrong.
Unfortunately, this concept doesn’t ever apply to any food or food group. While fruit is usually bursting with vitamins and minerals, it is also bursting with sugar – and over-consuming sugar can lead to all sorts of health problems like diabetes, obesity, tooth decay, hunger and low energy levels.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons (about 24 grams) of sugar per day for women, and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) per day for men. Some fruit can contain between 20 and 30 grams of sugar per serve. That’s a whole lotta sugar!
The good news is, there are some fruits out there that contain less sugar. Drumroll please…
And here they are: 10 Low Sugar Fruits!
- Berries: Blackberries, Strawberries, Raspberries and Blueberries are all low in sugar, containing between 5 grams – 15 grams of sugar per cup.
- Grapefruit: 8 grams of sugar in half a wedge of grapefruit. Try adding it to a salad, or eat it on it’s own to enjoy the citrusy flavor.
- Cantaloupe: Out of all the melons, cantaloupe contains the least amount of sugar with 8 grams of sugar in a large wedge.
- Lemon and Lime: These guys certainly aren’t your typically “sweet” fruit, but with only 1-1.5g of sugar per fruit, they’re a great addition to your glass of water.
- Rhubarb: Not something that you may immediately think of, however stewed rhubarb can be a delicious dessert, with only 1.3 grams of sugar in 1 cup of rhubarb.
- Guava: A low-sugar exception to the tropical fruit category, guava boasts a modest amount of 4.9 grams of sugar per fruit. A popular way to eat guava is by dipping it in salty sauces, you can eat the entire fruit including the rind.
- Cranberries: A less sweet option for a fruit, these guys are famous for being a natural treatment for UTIs. Half a cup of raw cranberries only contain 2.2 grams of sugar, but watch out for the more commonly consumed dried cranberries with added sugar.
- Apricots: An unlikely candidate, these fruit pack 3.2 grams of sugar in a small apricot. A great option for a fruit pie or crumble.
- Kiwifruit: These fuzzy fruits have a nice amount of Vitamin C and happen to be low in sugar, with only 6 grams of sugar per kiwi.
- Olives: Granted, they’re not your typical fruit but they contain 0g of sugar! So you might want to change your mind about them
Should You Avoid Eating These High-Sugar Fruits? We Asked Nutritionists
When it comes to eating foods containing sugar, the way that sugar is incorporated into the food is makes a difference. According to Rayanne Nguyen, RD, a registered dietitian specializing in sports nutrition; foods without naturally occurring sugars but with sugar added, like muffins or soda, impact your body differently than a food that naturally has sugar, such as fresh fruit.
If your goal is to eat the healthiest diet possible, you should limit foods with added sugar. According to the USDA, you would also have two cups of fruit daily, ideally the ones with only naturally occurring sugars.
Why is sugar found naturally in fresh fruit not harmful? “Fruit brings all these other nutrients to the table: water, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, in addition to carbohydrates, which is the sugar we’re talking about,” said Nguyen. “So you’re not going to get the same blood sugar response and health response from eating a piece of fruit that has the same number of grams of sugar as a soda, for example.”
“Research has shown that, in our overall diet as Americans, we are under when it comes to eating enough fruits and vegetables,” said Nijya Saffo, RD, a registered dietitian and owner of NK Fitness and Nutrition, LLC. “So the majority of us are not even eating a large amount of fruit to have a concern with its sugar content.”
But when it comes to processed versions of fruit, both dietitians offer a word of caution. Dried fruit and canned fruit are considered processed and often come with added sugar, which is why they top the list of high-sugar fruits compiled below.
Which kinds of fruit are highest in sugar?
Even without added sugar, dried fruit has roughly twice the amount of natural sugar as fresh fruit. Besides being mindful of your serving size, Saffo recommends choosing dried fruit with “no sugar added” labeled on the package. You can also scan the ingredients for added sugars and make sure words like “sugar”, “sweetener,” “sucrose”, “glucose”, “dextrose”, “fructose”, “syrup”, “nectar”, “juice concentrate”, “honey”, and “molasses” aren’t listed.
Many canned fruits come in syrup or sweetened juice, says Nguyen, so look for cups or cans with no sugar added. Comparatively speaking, a cup of canned fruit without added sugar corresponds to a cup of fresh fruit.
Some Fresh Fruit
Does a medical condition like diabetes warrant choosing fresh fruit that is lower in sugar? Not necessarily, says Saffo, who steers clients with diabetes away from measuring their fruit intake or only eating low-sugar fruits. Instead, she recommends pairing fruit with a protein-rich food, which helps minimize a subsequent rise in blood sugar. Also, a fruit’s glycemic index (GI) has a larger impact on how quickly your blood sugar spikes compared to its sugar content. For example, watermelon is a high-sugar fruit but has a low GI, so it’s better suited for someone with diabetes.
Depending on your goals and food preferences, you may want to be more mindful when choosing fresh fruit with a high sugar content. Since we’re all biologically different, with diverse goals and food preferences, Saffo recommends consulting with a registered dietitian before limiting your fruit intake solely based on its sugar content. After you’ve spoken with a dietitian, check back here for the list of the high-sugar fresh fruits we’ve rounded up.
A cup of grapes (about 3.5 ounces or 100 grams) provides 16 grams of sugar. It also provides about 10 percent of your daily value (DV) for vitamin K.
With 15 grams of sugar in 100 grams of lychees, each one-cup serving has roughly 29 grams. A serving also provides over 100 percent of the DV for vitamin C.
Cherries (sweet varieties)
Sweet cherries have 13 grams of sugar per 100 grams, so a cup provides 18 grams of sugar. It also offers 11 percent of the DV for vitamin C, 10 percent for fiber, and 9 percent each for copper and potassium.
Mango contains 14 grams of sugar per 100 grams, which means a cupful provides 23 grams. It also hits 10 percent of your daily fiber needs, as well as 67 percent of the DV for vitamin C, and 10 percent for vitamins A and E.
Pomegranates have 14 grams of sugar per 100 grams, so a cup contains 23 grams. You’ll also get 25 percent of the DV for fiber, along with 23 percent of your daily vitamin K and 20 percent of your vitamin C needs.
With 12 grams of sugar per 100 grams, a medium banana provides 14 grams of sugar. In addition, it has about 10 percent of the DV for fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.
There are 10 grams of sugar per 100 grams of blueberries, so a cup provides close to 15 grams of sugar. You’ll also get 13 percent of the DV for fiber, as well as 24 percent of vitamin K and 16 percent of vitamin C.
Which Fruits are Lowest in Sugar and Carbs?
If you are on a low-sugar or low-carb diet, you may feel that you cannot eat fruit. But fresh whole fruit, with its fiber intact, is typically a low glycemic food. And fruit offers many phytonutrients in addition to vitamins, minerals, and fibers that make it an important part of any healthy diet.
But you still may want to choose a low-sugar or low-carb type of fruit. The table below provides sugar and carb values for a comprehensive list of fruits in alphabetical order.
The fruit with the lowest amount of sugar per serving (100 grams, or about 3/4 cup) is raspberries, and blackberries are in close second place, at 4.42 and 4.88 grams respectively.
The fruit with the lowest carbs is watermelon at 7.55 grams per serving, and strawberries are right behind at 7.68 grams per serving.
The fruit highest in sugar is grapes at 15.5 grams per serving, and lychees are in a near tie at 15.2 grams. The highest-carb fruit is passion fruit at 23.4 grams, and bananas are near second at 22.8 grams.
Below this alphabetical chart, I provide a list of the fruits from highest to lowest sugar, and from highest to lowest carbs.
|Apple (Granny Smith)||10.6||14.1|
List of Fruits In Order From Highest to Lowest Sugar
Grapes, the fruit with the highest amount of sugar, have 3 1/2 times as much sugar per serving as the lowest-sugar fruit, raspberries.
|Apple (Granny Smith)||10.6|
List of Fruits In Order From Highest to Lowest Carbs
Passion Fruit and bananas, which are the fruit varieties with the highest amounts of carbs, have over 3 times the carbs of the lowest-carb fruit, watermelon.
|Apple (Granny Smith)||14.1|
Why Are Sugar and Carb Amounts Different?
Sugar and carbohydrates are not the same thing. Carbohydrate numbers include levels of three things: sugar, starch and fiber. Fiber and resistant starch are complex carbohydrates that offer many health benefits including improving insulin resistance and blood lipids; nourishing the gut microbiome; reducing obesity and other benefits.
Passion fruit is a good source of fiber, which accounts for its higher carb-to-sugar ratio compared to other fruits. In general, it is best to avoid refined carbs, like the white flour and sugar found in processed foods, but embrace complex carbs like those found in whole fruit.
Best Low-Sugar Fruits to Help You Lose Weight
Fruit—or nature’s candy, as some like to call it—is a natural source of sugar (fructose). In fact, certain fruits can pack up to 14g of sugar in less than a one-cup serving. Read all about how it effects your body in Can fruit make you fat? The bottom line: In moderation, no, but if you’re trying to lose weight, seriously minimize your intake or reach for fruits lower in sugar.
But there are some other things you should factor in before you ban fruit completely: “While the sugar is certainly important to note, it’s also crucial to know how much fiber each fruit has, which helps negate some of the effects of the sugar content,” says Brooke Alpert, MS, RD, CDN founder of B Nutritious.
Fruits have various amounts of other important nutrients, like fiber, and also some protein and good fats—all of which help your blood sugar to spike more slowly because your body is first working to digest the other compounds.
What’s more, there are optimal times to consume fruit. If you’re really looking to limit sugar, make sure you’re not eating overly ripe fruits. The starch begins to turn into simple sugar as it ripens, which is why it tastes sweeter. So, try to eat them before they become super saccharine and soft to the touch. And, easiest of all, opt for fruits that are naturally lower in sugar or highest in fiber.
Next, from least to greatest, is how much total sugar is in a 3-oz serving of 15 different kinds of fruit. If you’re trying to lose weight or lower your body fat percentage, reach for the fruits that appear first in the gallery; we’ve ranked the varieties based on sugar, but also note the unique health benefits.
10 Low-Sugar Fruits You Should Try
Carbohydrates come in many forms — wholegrains, starchy vegetables, dairy products, and fruits. Fruits are like nature’s sweet treat. They’re naturally sweet, but also packed with water, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. However, if you’re trying to follow a low-carbohydrate or low-sugar diet, some fruits are much lower in sugar than others. Here’s a list of the best low-sugar fruit options to satisfy your sweet tooth and nutritional needs.
1. Lemons and Limes: 5g sugar per cup
These two might be obvious choices for low sugar fruits due to their tart flavour. While lemons and limes are not fruit that you typically eat whole, you can use them to flavour food and beverages while adding minimal sugar and calories. Lemon and lime zest contain concentrated flavours that work well in cooking and baking, while their juice is the perfect zesty finish for meats, fish, and other main dishes. As part of the citrus family, they are high in vitamin C and other antioxidants that can have protective health effects.
2. Blackberries: 7g sugar per cup
Many members of the berry family are low in sugar and high in antioxidants. Typically, the darker, richer the colour of a fruit or vegetable, the higher they are in anthocyanin pigments (an antioxidant), and blackberries are a very dark purple, packed with nutrition. They’re very high in vitamins C and K, which play roles in immunity and blood clotting.
3. Strawberries: 7g per cup
Similar to the sugar content of blackberries, strawberries typically taste sweeter but are still low in sugar. They are also packed with vitamin C (which boosts immunity), folate (crucial for women who plan to have children), and potassium (important in heart health). Strawberries are packed with water and fibre, making them low in calories and sugar, perfect for a snack or as part of any meal.
4. Raspberries: 5g per cup
Raspberries are similar in nutrient content and health benefits to strawberries and blackberries, but are even lower in sugar. Like strawberries, they are high in vitamins C, K, and manganese. Their pink/red colour indicates a high antioxidant content that is not quite as high as that of blackberries.
5. Blueberries: 14g per cup
Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fibre. Although higher in sugar than raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries, blueberries have the greatest concentration of antioxidants, specifically flavonoids. The flavonoids in blueberries contribute to their disease fighting properties, and give them their deep blue color. They are also high in vitamins C and K, like other berries.
6. Cantaloupe: 12g per cup
Cantaloupe is the fruit that is highest in beta carotene, a carotenoid that is also found in vegetable sources like carrots or red bell peppers. Our bodies convert beta carotene into vitamin A, which is important for eye health, immune health, and red blood cells. It’s also high in vitamin C, actually containing all the vitamin C you need for the day in just one cup. Cantaloupe is very high in water content, making it hydrating and low in calories.
7. Honeydew: 14g per cup
Honeydew is another part of the melon family which, like cantaloupe, is similarly low in sugar and high in vitamin C. Its high potassium content can contribute to heart health by helping reduce blood pressure (along with a low sodium diet). Potassium is also a crucial electrolyte for hydration, which works well with the high water content of honeydew to help recover after a sweaty workout.
8. Peaches: 13g per cup
Peaches are a sweet stone fruit that contain a small amount of sugar, but are also packed with antioxidants. Their high fibre content can help with digestion too. Peaches are a great fruit to slice in half and grill for a naturally low sugar dessert, or to serve with high-protein plain Greek yogurt for a high-fibre, high-protein snack.
9. Plums: 16g per cup
Similar to the dark blue and purple berries, plums are high in antioxidants, specifically polyphenols. These powerful plant compounds have been shown to have antioxidant effects. Although 16g of sugar per cup is higher than some of the other fruits on this list, their high fibre and water content help to keep their impact on blood sugar levels minimal. While whole plums have a high water content, their dried counterpart, prunes, have a more concentrated sweet flavour. Prunes are natural laxatives, while plums have less of this effect.
10. Apricots: 14g per cup
The third low-sugar stone fruit in this list is the apricot — similar in appearance (and nutrition) to peaches, but with a similar size and flavour to plums. They contain vitamins A and C, potassium, beta carotene, and flavonoids that can boost immunity and prevent oxidative stress to your cells. They’re also available in a dried form (like prunes), but the whole fruit form gives extra hydration due to their natural water content.