By Amy Gorin, MS, RDN
Curious about which fruits have the least sugar? And is fructose in fruit bad for you? Get the details about sugar and fruit, plus a list of healthy low-sugar fruits.
to lose a few pounds? Or simply want to eat healthier? You might be afraid of fruit. But don't be!
Let's first get a few things straight. You should definitely cap your daily added sugar intake.
The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons, or 25 grams, of added sugar daily and that men take in no more than 9 teaspoons, or 36 grams per day. Per this medical advice, natural sugar such as honey and maple syrup counts as added sugar.
You definitely don't want to take in excessive sugar that's added sugar because this can cause health issues, such as increasing your risk of type 2 diabetes. Added sugar is found in processed foods.
What Fruits Have the Least Sugar?
While some fruits contain upward of 20 grams of sugar, these are naturally occurring sugars and not the added sugars (think granulated sugar, brown sugar, and even agave and honey) that can harm your health if you take in too much. Sugars such as fructose and glucose are naturally occurring sugars. Fructose is the sugar found in fruit.
Because fruit does contain a good amount of carbs, I typically recommend pairing a banana, apple, or other fruit with a protein or healthy fat such as a Tablespoon or two of nuts. This helps keep your blood sugar levels stable.
Fruit is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that can help you be healthier. They're also foods with no added sugar. So if you're a fruit skeptic, keep on reading to learn about the nutritional superpowers of berries and beyond. And find out if it really matters what fruits have the least sugar.
And just so you have it, here's a list of the fruits that have the least sugar, by the cup. This list of fruits with the least sugar could be really helpful if you're following a low-carb diet.
- Raspberries: 5 grams
- Strawberries: 7 grams
- Watermelon: 9 grams
- Blackberries: 7 grams
- Wild blueberries: 10 grams
- Apple: 11 grams
Do Bananas Have Too Much Sugar?
They're a staple in your fruit bowl. But if you're worried bananas aren't the best fit for your healthy eating plan, take a look at my Food Network article. I unravel all the nutritional details of the fruit, including its sugar content.
Fun fact: When it comes to sugar in fruits, un-ripe fruits have less fruit sugar. Green bananas have different health benefits than their yellow counterparts! Love bananas like I do? Then you'll enjoy a smoothie with banana.
The Benefits of Eating Fruit
Now that you've found out which fruits are lowest in sugar, let's talk about the health benefits of fruit. Eating fresh fruit can help your health in many ways: For one, fruit is 90% or higher in water so can help you stay hydrated—and help prevent overeating that can stem from dehydration.
Getting all your servings is important for not only helping you keep your weight in check but also lowering your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain cancers.
Fruit intake is also linked with chronic disease prevention. And a study in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that Chinese people eating fresh fruit daily (mostly apples and oranges) had lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
These people were also less likely to have a major cardiovascular event, such as a stroke.
Consider adding fruit to at least two eating occasions a day—for instance, have fresh blueberries with breakfast and a sliced apple with peanut butter as an afternoon snack. Eating frozen, canned, and dried fruits counts, too.
Just make sure they're unsweetened. When shopping for canned fruit, look for fruit canned in 100% fruit juices and that doesn't have any table sugar or high fructose corn syrup added.
Major Reasons to Eat More Blueberries
Not only are blueberries a colorful addition to any smoothie (ahem, blueberry peanut butter smoothie), they're also a nutritional powerhouse.
Rich in antioxidants and important vitamins, the berries are a healthy addition to any diet. I reveal a few of the fruit's most significant health benefits in this LIVESTRONG article.
Wondering about the sugar content of blueberries? A cup of conventional berries has 15 grams of sugar, while the same amount of wild blueberries has 10 grams of sugar.
Do People Eat Enough Fruits and Vegetables?
The question of vegetable and fruit intake is a good one. Researchers decided to determine how many Americans are meeting the daily guidelines for fruits and vegetables set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (1 ½ and 2 cups of fruit daily and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily).
The scientists published a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, looking at what percent of the 11,742 Americans studied consumed fruit two or more times in a day and vegetables three or more times.
The results for how many people are getting their proper servings of fruit and veggies are less than ideal: 14% of the study population met or exceeded daily fruit recommendations, while only 8% met daily vegetable recs. Interestingly, intake by state varied widely:
Highest Fruit Intake
- Connecticut (17%)
- New Hampshire (17%)
- Vermont (17%)
- California (18%)
- Washington, DC (18%)
Lowest Fruit Intake
- West Virginia (7%)
- Tennessee (8%)
- Kentucky (9%)
- Louisiana (9%)
- Mississippi (9%)
- Oklahoma (9%)
Highest Vegetable Intake
- Alaska (10%)
- Arizona (10%)
- Colorado (10%)
- Hawaii (10%)
- New Hampshire (10%)
- California (11%)
- Vermont (11%)
- Washington, DC (11%)
- Oregon (12%)
Lowest Vegetable Intake
- Louisiana (5%)
- West Virginia (5%)
- Mississippi (6%)
- North Dakota (6%)
- Oklahoma (6%)
- South Carolina (6%)
- South Dakota (6%)
- Tennessee (6%)
- Wisconsin (6%)
Note that the following foods were excluded from the study: fried potatoes, non-100-percent-fruit juices, baby food, dried fruit, condiments like ketchup and spaghetti sauce, olives, pickles, relish, vinegars and produce eaten on a sandwich.
Amy's Fruit Recipe to Try