10 Fruits Low in Sugar: Why You Need to Monitor Your Sugar Intake

Published April 11th, 2022 by Chris Riley
Fact Checked by
Erik Rivera

Sugar has been left out of a lot of popular diets recently because too much sugar in your diet can lead to health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease among other health problems.

However, that doesn't mean you have to avoid all sugars altogether as there are plenty of fruits that are low in sugar and provide other nutritional benefits.

In this article, we will discuss 10 fruits low in sugar and why you need to watch your intake of it.

We will also highlight 5 fruits that are high in sugar if you are trying to avoid sugar in your diet.

Why do I need to monitor my sugar intake?

There are a few reasons why you might want to keep your sugar intake low. The reasons to eat less sugar include:

Weight gain

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate, and too much of it can lead to weight gain due to it not being nutritious and having empty calories.

If your diet calls for you to watch your carb intake then you need to avoid sugary foods and drinks to maintain your low-carb diet and help maintain your weight loss goals.

Diabetes

It can also cause spikes in the levels of sugar in your blood, which can be dangerous if you have diabetes.

The reason your blood sugar level spikes are not because the sugar goes straight to your bloodstream, but because the sugar is a simple carbohydrate that gets broken down by your body into glucose, which is also called blood sugar, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream causing the blood sugar spike.

Pancreas

Your body uses insulin to process the glucose in your blood for energy. The extra glucose from eating too much sugar can also cause your pancreas to make more insulin, which, if your body stops responding to it, can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Teeth

If you have a sweet tooth, you need to know that eating too much sugar can also lead to cavities and tooth decay because the sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth, which then produces acid that attacks your teeth.

Heart

There is also a link between eating too much sugar and developing heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than six teaspoons, or 24 grams, of added sugar per day, and men consume no more than nine teaspoons, or 36 grams.

The effect too much sugar can have on your heart health can also lead to heart failure, heart attacks, and stroke.

Brain

When you eat sugar, your brain releases dopamine which makes you feel good. If you stop eating sugar, your brain will want the dopamine that sugar provides which leads to cravings.

Any sugar, whether it is a natural sugar found in fruits or a processed sugar like high fructose corn syrup, not only affects these parts of your body but it can also have adverse effects on your kidneys, joints, skin, joints, and sexual health.

What are 10 fruits that are low in sugar?

So now that you know some of the reasons why you need to monitor your sugar intake, let's look at 10 fruits that are low in sugar.

All serving sizes below are one cup unless otherwise noted and the nutritional value is based on data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The fruits with low sugar include:

Strawberries

Strawberries contain just over 7 grams of sugar per cup according to USDA. The same serving also contains almost 83% of your daily intake of vitamin C, which helps repair your tissues and is needed for a healthy immune system.

strawberry image

Raspberries

Raspberries not only contain 8 grams of fiber per serving, but they are also low in sugar. One cup of raspberries contains about 5.4 grams of sugar and is a good source of vitamin C and manganese too.

Blackberries

Per serving, blackberries contain about 7 grams of sugar and are also a good source of fiber content and a rich source of antioxidants too.

blackberry image

Peaches

Peaches contain almost 13 grams of sugar, which is less than one large peach but more than a smaller one.

Even though this is more than the above-listed fruits, 13 grams is still low in sugar.

peach image

Lemons and limes

A whole small lemon only contains less than 1.5 grams of sugar or a little over 2 grams for larger lemons while limes contain roughly the same amount.

Please be aware that this amount of sugar is for the whole fruit when most people only use slices on their food or in their drinks. Both of these citrus fruits are also high in vitamin C.

lemon and limes image

Watermelon

A cup of diced watermelons contains under 9.5 grams of sugar despite being a refreshing summer treat.

As the name indicates, this fruit choice has a high water content and is an ideal snack to stay hydrated during the hot summer months.

Oranges

If you eat a whole orange, it is only 12 grams of sugar and is an excellent source of vitamin C.

Please note to avoid or read the labels on any store-bought orange juice or fruit juices as they may contain added sugars.

Grapefruit

Half a raw grapefruit for breakfast will contain almost 9 grams of sugar. If you eat a whole one or a larger one, it will contain even more sugar so be aware of your serving size.

Grapefruits are also a good source of vitamin C.

Avocados

Although you may not think of them as fruits, avocados are technically a fruit with about 1/3 of a gram of sugar per cup when sliced.

Avocados also contain healthy fats that can help manage your cholesterol and blood pressure and are a good source of a number of vitamins.

Cantaloupes

Cantaloupes contain approximately 12.5 grams of sugar per cup. These melons are also high in vitamin C and vitamin A.

Please note to read the label on any fruit you buy to watch your sugar intake.

Also, be cognizant of the serving size and how much you plan to eat to accurately gauge how much sugar you will consume.

What 5 fruits are high in sugar?

Since we covered low-sugar fruits that can be good for your diet, we will also detail some common fruits that are high in sugar that you can avoid if you do not want to consume large amounts of sugar in your diet. As above, all of these numbers are based on a one-cup serving size according to the USDA unless otherwise noted.

The fruits with high sugar contents that you need to avoid to lower your sugar intake include:

Mangos

Mangos contain over 22 grams of sugar per cup but are a good source of vitamin C.

Grapes

At over 23 grams of sugar per cup, grapes are not a healthy option if you are avoiding sugar. However, grapes are a good source of vitamin K which helps with blood clotting and bone metabolism.

Bananas

One banana has 18.2 grams of sugar but is also high in vitamin B6 which helps with brain development and maintaining a healthy nervous system and immune system.

Cherries

If you consume a cup of cherries without pits it is almost 20 grams of sugar although they do contain antioxidants.

Figs

Figs have the highest total of grams per cup of any of the fruits above as they have a little over 71 grams of sugar per cup or slightly over 4 grams per fig.

Despite their sugar content, figs are rich in other essential nutrients such as vitamin K, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium.

Summary

When trying to maintain a low sugar diet, it is important to be aware of which fruits are low in sugar. Some common low sugar fruits include lemons, limes, watermelon, oranges, grapefruit, avocados, cantaloupes, and strawberries.

These fruits range in sugar content from 0.33 grams per cup of avocado to 13 grams per cup of peaches while also providing vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.

Meanwhile, some sugary fruits with a high in sugar content include mangoes, grapes, bananas, cherries, and figs which contain over 18 grams of sugar per cup.

It is important to monitor your sugar intake from fruit as well as other sources such as processed foods and sugary drinks. Too much sugar can lead to health problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and others.

Therefore, it is important to be aware of not only the sugar content of the fruit you are eating but also the portion size.

By doing so, you can help maintain a healthy diet low in sugar. If you have any more questions about fruits or diet, please talk to your doctor, dietician, or health care provider.

References and Sources:

https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/added-sugars

https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1102710/nutrients

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https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-b6/art-20363468

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