Published on June 07, 2019

Forbidden Fruit?

Eat more fruit, but less sugar. That’s common health advice. But fruit naturally has sugar, so what’s a girl to do? It’s OK to have your fruit and eat it, too.

two women choosing fruit at a farmers marketDespite what you may have heard about their sugar content, whole fruits are healthy. They’re packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, water and antioxidants. Plus, they fill you up fast and keep you feeling fuller longer, which means you snack less. They can also help lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Simply put, the overall health benefits of eating a couple of pieces of fruit a day far outweigh their sugar content.

Yet, keep in mind these health benefits only apply to whole fruit. Dried fruit, fruit juices and smoothies are often loaded with added sugar, and that’s where you get into trouble. Excessive amounts of added sugar, like table sugar and high fructose corn syrup, can derail your diet and cause serious health problems such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Some fruits have more sugar than others. If you’re following a low-carb diet, limiting carbs to keep your diabetes in check, or cutting down on sugar, use the guide below. Be aware of high-sugar content fruits and swap them out for lower sweet alternatives.

Sugar High

Fruit Serving Size Sugar Content (grams)
Grapes 1 cup 23
Mangoes 1 cup 23
Apples* 1 small 19
Cherries 1 cup 18
Pears 1 medium 17
Watermelon 1 medium wedge 17
Pineapple 1 cup 16
Blueberries 1 cup 15
Bananas 1 medium 14
Peach 1 medium 13
Orange 1 cup 12

*Despite a higher sugar/carb content, many of these fruits, such as apples and blueberries, are excellent sources of antioxidants and fiber and have high nutritional value.

Sugar Low

Fruit Serving Size Sugar Content (grams
Avocado 1 medium 0.5
Apricot 1 small 3
Cantaloupe 1 medium wedge 5
Guavas 1 medium 5
Raspberries 1 cup 5
Kiwi 1 kiwi 6
Strawberries 1 cup 7

Through our outpatient nutrition counseling program, our registered dietitians can partner with you to create balanced eating plans to help meet your specific health and diet goals. The services require a doctor’s referral, so check with your primary care physician first.

Related Viewing

Watch NKCH Registered Dietitian Dayane Parker talk about fruit and sugar on KCTV 5.