Which Fruits have less sugar? but not all fruits are created equal. This means that when you’re trying to find a low-sugar alternative to a less healthy treat, you need all the help you can get. The following fruits have significantly less sugar than the other fruits listed and are excellent fruit choices for those looking for something sweet that won’t cause a blood sugar spike.
WHICH FRUITS HAVE THE LEAST AMOUNT OF SUGAR?
Should you drop that apple? We’re looking at the sugar content in fruit and which ones you should be reaching for.
Fruit is good for us. Sugar is bad for us. This you know. But if fruit contains sugar, then how could it be good for you? Don’t worry, you’re not alone—you’re not the first person to Google “which fruits have the most sugar?”
WHY IS SUGAR SO CONFUSING?
The mixed messages lies in the vast and seemingly conflicting studies (and some misleading marketing messages) on sugar, blood sugar, diabetes, keto, whole-food diet, plant-based diet, calories and so much more.
Simply put, sugar is energy. Some call it “empty calories,” because there are no nutritive values attributed to sugar, but typically, they’re referring to granulated sugar.
Unlike the white stuff, sugar in fruit is combined with nutrients, like vitamin C and fibre, which is good for you. Experts agree that the average healthy person doesn’t necessarily need to be concerned about the sugar in fruit, as fruit offers more nutrients than processed snacks—or no snacks.
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE ABOUT SUGAR IN FRUIT?
Things get complicated if you have diabetes, are watching blood sugar levels, follow a glycemic eating plan or follow any other of-the-moment low-carb diet. That’s because all sugar—the granulated kind or the kind found in whole foods—has the same effect on the body: It spikes blood sugar, says Skye Longley, a registered holistic nutritionist at Team Goals and owner of Food Focused. “Consistently spiking blood sugar will lead to too much insulin being released into the bloodstream, and over extended periods of time, will lead to fat gain, obesity and insulin resistance and pre-type 2 diabetes.”
So, yes, sugar can contribute to that, if you don’t consume it properly. Longley suggests eating fruit strategically: Eat fresh fruit (meaning not out of a can or bottle) for an extra boost of fibre, which can help slow the spike in blood sugar. And it doesn’t hurt to eat a few almonds with fruit, too, to slow down blood sugar even more.
WHEN SHOULD YOU EAT FRUIT?
Longley suggests waiting on having your fruit smoothie until later in the day—having fruit in the morning may spike your blood sugar too early in the day, meaning you could have an early energy crash.
Instead, she recommends enjoying fruit in the evening or—even better—right after your workout. “The best time to consume carbohydrate-rich foods, such as fruit, is after a bout of physical activity and physical exertion, when glycogen stores in your muscles have been depleted and were used for energy,” she says. This will replenish your glycogen stores, even if you work out in the morning.
WHICH FRUITS HAVE THE HIGHEST SUGAR CONTENT?
According to Canada’s Food Guide, one serving of fruit is about half a cup—approximately 50 grams—and two servings of fruit a day are recommended. Here, with the help of Nutrition Data, we’ve ranked the 21 fruits highest in sugar.
1. Dried fruit
Dehydrated apples (40 g), dates (33 g), raisins (29 g), and others top the list as the most sugar per 100-gram serving. Why? Once you remove the water from fruit, the balance of sugar skews. (Juices, pureed fruit and canned fruit tend to be higher in sugar too.)
An apple a day… counts as two servings of fruit. Royal gala and honey crisp can contain 19 grams of sugar, but green apples, like granny smith, contain 9 grams.
This tropical fruit contains 15 grams of sugar in a half cup – that’s about four to five lychee fruit.
Your favourite smoothie ingredient is loaded with sugar. One serving (about half a mango fruit) has 12 grams of sugar.
5. Passion fruit
A half-cup of this loveable fruit has 13 grams of sugar.
One peach counts as two servings and has 13 grams of sugar.
A half cup of pomegranate seeds contains about 12 grams of sugar.
8. Honeydew melon
A wedge of honeydew melon (1/8 of fruit) is two servings and has 10 grams of sugar. (A wedge of cantaloupe has 8 grams.)
A handful of grapes ranks high in sugar, with 8 to 10 grams per half cup.
Canned cherries are high in sugar, sure, but 50 grams of cherries (about five to six cherries) has 10 grams of sugar.
Figs taste so sweet because they are—a 50-gram serving has 8 grams of sugar.
A medium-sized mandarin orange is slightly more than half a cup, so it does have more sugar than you might expect—8 grams. But your garden variety orange (about the size of your fist) has only slightly more sugar, at 9 grams. A half grapefruit has 9 grams of sugar.
Low-Sugar Fruits That Are Delicious and Packed With Nutrients
Here’s how to up your intake without the sugar high.
The vast majority of Americans don’t eat enough fruit. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, only 12 percent of adults eat the daily recommended amount. “Fruits are rich in antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fiber,” says Sarah Koszyk, RD, a nutrition coach and sports dietitian. She adds that some fruits, like blueberries, can help optimize brain and heart health, and reduce the risk of other diseases, like cancer.
One reason why some may shy away from fruit is because they fear the sugar in fruit will negatively impact their health. Koszyk says that, unlike added sugar in overly processed foods, the sugar in fruit is naturally occurring and isn’t something to obsess over. However, if you have diabetes or are trying to minimize spikes in blood sugar, it can be helpful to know what fruits are low in sugar so you can still enjoy their nutrient benefits without blood sugar levels rising.
To that end, the 11 fruits listed below are all low in sugar yet rich in nutrient density.
11 Low-Sugar Fruits
Registered dietitian Melissa Rifkin, RD, says that figs are a great low-sugar fruit to add to your shopping list. Figs are high in fiber, calcium and potassium. Sprinkle cinnamon on top for extra sweetness that will keep blood sugar levels steady.
Kiwi is another low-sugar fruit Rifkin recommends incorporating into your diet. One benefit of kiwi is that it’s full of vitamin C, which helps support the immune system—especially important right now with yet another COVID-19 strain going around.
If you’re not into kiwi but like the idea of a low-sugar fruit that will support the immune system, Rifkin recommends tangerines. Some canned tangerines can be high in added sugar, so be sure to read the ingredients list if you aren’t buying them fresh.
Another low-sugar fruit Rifkin recommends are apricots, an oft-underrated fruit. Not only are they low in sugar, but they’re full of fiber, antioxidants and vitamin A, which directly supports eye health. Add them to yogurt or oatmeal, or incorporate them into a salad.
Koszyk calls out blueberries as another fruit that’s low-sugar, but packed with nutrients. They’re especially high in antioxidants, which benefit the heart and brain. Blueberries may be small, but their benefits are big.
6. Goji berries
If you’ve never tried goji berries, Koszyk recommends giving them a try. These berries are scientifically linked to helping lower inflammation. Goji berries have a slightly sour taste and can add a burst of flavor to salads, grain bowls, or enjoyed as is.
Another berry Koszyk recommends is raspberries. One benefit to raspberries is that they’re high in potassium, which supports cardiovascular health. They also contain manganese, which helps keep blood sugar levels steady.
Sugar Content in Fruit: Is it Damaging to Your Health and Waistline?
Think nature’s candy provides less sugar than a sweet treat? You may be wrong. Yes, it’s good for you, but the sugar content in fruit can be deceivingly high, depending which types you pick. We’ll help you choose low sugar fruits wisely.
Fruit is less likely to wreak havoc on your blood sugar than, say, a bag of gummy worms.
You’ve cut out the good stuff (e.g., sweets and ice cream), but your weight’s staying constant. The culprit could be something you always thought was healthy: fruit. The sugar content in fruit varies depending on the type you choose and how it’s processed. Drying, for instance, ups the sugar content in fruit to extreme levels while eating it raw will help you cut back on unnecessary calories and sugar.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not telling you to avoid fruit. That would be crazy! Fruit is packed with healthy nutrients and disease-fighting antioxidants. It’s chock-full of fiber, contains a lot of water and helps keep you satiated. The benefits of fruit far outweigh the downsides. That said, if you have diabetes or prediabetes or are on a mission to lose weight, you need to be careful about fruits you consume and aim for low sugar fruits.
Which Fruits Are High in Sugar?
Anything dried boasts the highest sugar content in fruit, especially cranberries, raisins, dates, and figs, says Laura Hartung, MA, RD, LDN, CPT.
Compare the dried version to a raw fruit and you’ll be amazed by the difference in sugar content. Dried pears, for instance, contain a whopping 112 g of sugar in one cup. The same amount of raw Bartlett pears contains a fraction of that—14g. One cup of packed golden raisins has 108 g of sugar, while the same amount of red or green grapes contain 23 g of sugar.
“Diabetics need to count their carbohydrate content at each meal and know the amount of sugar and carbs in the fruits they consume,” says Laura Hartung, MA, RD, LDN, CPT. “Women diabetics need to limit their carbohydrate intake to 30 to 45g of carbs per meal. Male diabetics need to limit their carb intake to 45 to 60 g of carbs per meal.” One cup of mashed banana contains 51 g of carbs, for instance, while a cup of red or green grapes has 27 g.
“Tropical fruits [like] pineapple, bananas, and pomegranates also contain higher amounts of sugar,” Hartung says. One cup of pineapple, for instance, contains 16 g of sugar while the same amount of banana contains almost 28g. Other foods that top the highest-sugar-conten-in-fruit list: cherries (18 g/cup), grapes (23 g/cup), mangoes (23 g/cup), lychees (29 g/cup) and passion fruit (26 g/cup).
Which Fruits Have the Least Sugar?
These low sugar fruits are tasty options that offer the benefits of eating fruit without the hefty sugar content.
- Avocados. One cup of pureed California avocados boasts a mere 0.69 g of sugar.
- Limes. One fruit has just over a gram of sugar.
- Berries. Raspberries (5 g/cup), blackberries (7 g/cup), and strawberries (7 g/cup) are low sugar fruits. Another bonus: They’re “loaded with antioxidants—cancer-fighting plant chemicals,” says Hartung.
- Plantains. One cup of fried plantains contain 4 g of sugar. If you boil them, it drops to 3g.
- Clementines. One fruit has 7 g of sugar.
- Lemons. One cup has just 5 g.
- Pears. One small Asian pear has 9 g of sugar.
- Watermelon. One cup of watermelon balls has 10 g of sugar.
- Apples. One cup of Granny Smith apples contains just over 10g of sugar.
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Which Fruits Are Not Good for Diabetics?
Dried fruits are probably the worst type for diabetics. The reason? The sugar content in fruits like these is concentrated. Consuming even a small amount could put a diabetic way over on his or her carbohydrate and sugar goals. “People with diabetes need to eat a heart-healthy, carbohydrate-controlled meal plan,” Hartung says. “Fruits are a part of that heart healthy eating because they are full of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.” When choosing a fruit, diabetics should opt for those with low to moderate amounts of sugar.
Are Sugars in Fruits Bad for You?
No, says Hartung. “Most fruits have a low glycemic index due to the amount of fiber they contain, and their sugar is mostly fructose.” That means they’re less likely to wreak havoc on your blood sugar than, say, a bag of gummy worms. Most fruit is also filled with fiber, which helps you to feel fuller for longer—it could help prevent you from overeating.
Another bonus: Fruits are filled with disease-fighting antioxidants, water, vitamins, and nutrients, “which make them a much healthier choice than any candy bar, cookie, or processed snack,” Hartung adds. As with everything, though, fruit should be enjoyed in moderation.
Sugar Content in Fruit: Chart Summary
Below are some of the most common fruits and their associated sugar contents. Notice how the type of fruit and the way in which it is processed (i.e., dried vs. raw) affects the overall sugar content in fruit.
|FRUIT||PORTION SIZE||SUGAR CONTENT|
|Cranberries – dried, sweetened||0.25 cup||29.02 g|
|Cranberries, raw||1 cup, chopped||4.70 g|
|Blackberries||1 cup||7.03 g|
|Raspberries||1 cup||5.44 g|
|Raspberries, frozen, red, unsweetened||1 cup||9.16 g|
|Blackberries||1 cup||7.03 g|
|Strawberries, frozen, unsweetened||1 cup thawed||10.08 g|
|Strawberries, frozen, sweetened, sliced||1 cup||61.23 g|
|Strawberries||1 cup, halves||7.43 g|
|Watermelon||1 cup, balls||9.55 g|
|Figs, dried, uncooked||1 cup||71.40 g|
|Apples, dried||1 cup||33.97 g|
|Apples, granny smith with skin||1 cup, sliced||10.45 g|
|Apples, golden delicious, with skin||1 cup, sliced||10.94 g|
|Apples, gala, with skin||1 cup, sliced||11.30 g|
|Peaches, frozen, sweetened||1 cup||55.45 g|
|Peaches, dried||1 cup||43.83 g|
|Pears, Asian, raw||1||8.60 g|
|Papaya||1 cup of 1’ pieces||11.34 g|
|Pears, red Anjou||1 small||12.02 g|
|Pears, dried, sulfured, uncooked||1 cup, halves||111.96 g|
|Pears, Bartlett||1 cup, sliced||13.57 g|
|Cherries, sour, red||1 cup without pits||13.16 g|
|Melons, honeydew||1 cup, diced||13.80 g|
|Melons, cantaloupe||1 cup, balls||13.91 g|
|Oranges, navel||1 cup sections||14.03 g|
|Blueberries, dried, sweetened||0.25 cup||27 g|
|Blueberries, frozen, unsweetened||1 cup||13.10 g|
|Grapefruit||1 cup sections with juice||15.85 g|
|Pineapple||1 cup, chunks||16.25 g|
|Plums||1 cup, sliced||16.37 g|
|Mangoes||1 cup pieces||22.54 g|
|Grapes, red or green||1 cup||23.37 g|
|Raisins, golden seedless||1 cup packed||108.41 g|
|Bananas||1 cup, mashed||27.52 g|
|Dates, deglet noor||1 cup, chopped||93.12 g|
|Apricots, dried, sulfured, uncooked||1 cup, halves||69.47 g|
|Passion fruit||1 cup||26.43 g|
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