Low Medium and High Sugar Fruits

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Low and High Sugar Fruits

While whole fruits are highly nutritious, they do also contain sugar. And some fruits contain a lot more than others. If you’re on a low-carb diet or trying to lose excess weight, reducing your sugar intake is a way to go. Obviously, fruit is a far better choice than a processed sugary snack or drink. But it’s worth considering the number of fruits you eat and finding a balance between the higher and lower sugar options. Here’s a list of Low, Medium, and High Sugar Fruits to help you along the way.


Contents:

Remember, Fruits are Good for You.
The Sugar in Fruit.
– Glycemic Index
– Glycemic Load
Why moderate how much fruit you eat?
Sugar Fruit Lists
– Low Sugar Fruits
– Medium Sugar Fruits
– High Sugar Fruits
Fruity Tips


Remember, fruits are good for you.

Whole fruits are packed with essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. They are also naturally low in fat and calories.

All the above benefits the body in many different ways.

That said, fruits also contain sugar. And some fruits contain quite a high amount too.

Don’t get me wrong, fresh whole fruits are good for you and should be on the menu. But, as I mentioned above, if on a low-carb diet or trying to lose some excess weight, consider which and how much fruit you’re eating.


The Sugar in Fruit.

Fruit contains natural sugars, a mix of both glucose and fructose.

Naturally occurring sugars are better than added sugars. Added sugar is basically sugar that has been removed from its natural source and added to other foods, like to a box of cereal. It’s amazing how much sugar is added to the foods we eat, and it’s something to watch out for. Even in a ‘healthy’ packet of muesli, you could find as much as 10-20% of it is sugar. You can check the sugar content of processed and packaged foods on their nutrition labels under ‘carbohydrates’.

So the sugar in fruit is natural. The way nature intended it, so to speak.

Glycemic Index

It’s important to remember that it’s not just about how much sugar a food contains. It’s also about how that sugar is released into the body and bloodstream – that’s what the Glycemic index tells you.

Adrenal Fatigue Solution describes it well:

The Glycemic Index of a food is a numerical unit describing how far eating a food will raise one’s blood sugar level; effectively, it represents how ‘sugary’ the food is. The Glycemic Index uses a scale from 0 to 100, where 100 is pure glucose. A food which has a high GI will cause a large increase in blood sugar, while a food with a lower GI will not have much impact at all.

Foods with a GI of less than 55 are considered to have a low glycemic index, and thus will have smaller impact on blood sugar levels. Foods with a GI of mid-50s to mid-60s is considered average, while 70 and above is considered high. As a general rule of thumb, dried fruits, like many processed foods, have higher GI.

Let’s use oranges as an example. They contain 9 grams of sugar for every 100 grams of orange, and have a Glycemic Index (GI) of 44. So they have a low GI (under 50), meaning that the carbohydrates are broken down slower, and the sugar is released slowly into the bloodstream.

Let’s compare this to a processed food, like Cheerios cereal, that has a Glycemic Index of over 76. This means that, when you eat Cheerios, the sugar in it is released much quicker into the bloodstream.

These sugar spikes can cause negative effects and our bodies have to work harder to regulate it when it happens.

Most fruits have a low glycemic index. So their sugar is released into the bloodstream over a longer period of time. This is good, as it doesn’t cause blood sugar spikes in your body and gives you a more balanced release of energy to use over a longer period of time.

Glycemic Load

I recently learnt about Glycemic Load, which was interesting.

Adrenal Fatigue Solution describes it:

The main problem with the Glycemic Index is that it does not factor in typical portion sizes. In fact, it standardizes each food to include 50 grams of carbohydrates. This leads to some peculiar distortions.

In 1997, researchers at Harvard University introduced the concept of Glycemic Load with the aim of solving this problem. The Glycemic Load seeks to balance the Glycemic Index by accounting for serving size. Let’s take a watermelon’s glycemic index as an example. It has a high GI (72), so the carbohydrates will be broken down and release sugar into the bloodstream rapidly. However, watermelon contains a relatively small amount of carbohydrates per serving, meaning that it has a low glycemic load.

A food’s Glycemic Load is calculated directly from its Glycemic Index. We simply take the food’s Glycemic Index, divide it by 100, and multiply it by the grams of carbohydrate (excluding fiber) in a typical serving size. A GL of above 20 is considered high, the 11-19 range is considered average, and below 11 is low.

So, for a watermelon: The Glycemic Index (72) divided by 100 is 0.72. Multiplied by the amount of carbohydrates in a typical portion (8 grams of Carbohydrates in 122 grams of watermelon) is about 5. So that gives watermelon a Glycemic load of about 5, which is pretty low.

Note: to find the carbohydrate and sugar content of fruits and vegetables, I just simply type in the name in Google. On the right will (almost-always) appear a Wikipedia column with the fruits nutritional content. Pretty useful to get an idea quickly.

Food for thought.

I know the Glycemic Index and Load may seem a little complicated, but it’s just food for thought. I love discovering new things, and this was interesting to me. There is no need to analyse every single thing you eat, it’s just useful to know what people are talking about when terms like Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load pop up. It helps you make better decisions  🙂

If you want to learn more about the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load in fruit, read this article – it explains it very well.


Why moderate how much fruit you eat?

So, if you’re wanting something sweet, fruit is one of your best options. It’s certainly a lot better than eating a processed sugary food like a chocolate or a packet of sweets. You’re getting a ton of essential nutrients and fibre, and you’re preventing excessive blood sugar spikes that you’d get from processed foods.

That said, sugar is still sugar.

Sugar falls into the carbohydrate group. Carbohydrates are in fact our main source of energy, broken down in the body and used as fuel by our cells. So they are very important and essential to our growth.

So, at the end of the day, no matter where you’re getting your sugar from, it’s broken down into simple sugars and used by the body as energy.

However, when eaten in excess, excess sugars are converted to fat. And apart from being stored as fat, excess sugar can cause other negative effects. Here is a super in-depth article on sugar in the body that you may like to read.

How much is too much?

I’m not one to count my grapes or measure my portion sizes, so I don’t expect you to do that either. It’s important to keep health simple and not get too obsessed, right?

I use this information just as a guide, to help me make better food decisions.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a daily intake of 9 teaspoons for Men and 6 teaspoons for Women, of added sugars. With one teaspoon being about 5 grams, that’s 45 grams a day for men and 30 grams a day for women.

Note: The above is just for added sugars, not natural sugars.

Natural sugars are far better than added sugars, but it’s also worth being aware of how much sugars fruit contains too. Even if it’s natural.

Let’s take grapes as an example. If you ate a cup of grapes, that would contain about 15 grams of sugar. That’s about 3 teaspoons of sugar.

I love fruit, but this was a big realisation for me. When I was working so hard at losing some excess weight, I’d sometimes get frustrated at the lack of results. Even though I was eating so healthily, I wasn’t losing anything. When I realised how much fruit I was eating, it changed everything. By limiting fruits to 1-2 a day, and eating more of the lower sugar fruits, I saw a difference.

We focus on avoiding the added sugars, like those in processed packaged foods, which is the right approach. But, after cutting those out, we should also take a look at the fruit we consume. As excessive fruit adds to the sugar pile too.

Fruit didn’t use to be so convenient.

I can image that, back in the day, in caveman times, we didn’t eat so much fruit. It just wasn’t as conveniently available to us.

I love thinking this way and imagining how the cavemen lived. I can imagine them discovering fruit along their journeys. Perhaps big berries bushes or something. I can imagine they’d eat lots and lots of the berries they’d find, loving the sweet taste. And then… they wouldn’t have fruit for ages.

However it actually happened, I’m certain they couldn’t just open the fridge or pop down to the shops and eat any fruit they desired. It was like a delicious sweet treat they came across sporadically. Not every single day, piled up high. 🙂

That’s just my thinking.

I’d love to know what you think? Let me know in the comments.


Sugar Fruit Lists

Below you’ll find tables with Low, Medium and High sugar fruits. I hope that these are useful!

Low Sugar Fruits

The low sugar fruits listed have 5 or fewer grams of sugar for every 100 grams.

FruitSugar per 100 grams
Avocados0.7g
Limes1.7g
Lemons2.5g
Tomatoes2.6g
Cranberries4g
Raspberries4.4g
Blackberries4.9g
Strawberries4.9g

Medium Sugar Fruits

The medium sugar fruits listed have between 5 and 10 grams of sugar for every 100 grams.

FruitSugar per 100 grams
Watermelons6g
Coconuts6.23g
Grapefruits7g
Black Currants7.4g
Papaya7.82g
Cherries8g
Nectarines8g
Peaches8g
Rockmelons (Cantaloupe or spanspek)8g
Honeydew melons (green ones)8.12g
Apricots9g
Guava9g
Kiwifruit 9g
Oranges9g
Plums9.92g

High Sugar Fruits

The high sugar fruits listed have 10 or more grams of sugar for every 100 grams.

FruitSugar per 100 grams
Apples10g
Blueberries10g
Pears10g
Pineapples10g
Mandarins10.5g
Passionfruit (Granadilla)11g
Tangerine11g
Bananas12g
Persimmon (Japanase)12.73g
Mangoes14g
Pomegranates14g
Lychees15g
Grapes16g
Figs16.26g
Dates63g

Fruity Tips

Start eating more of the lower sugar fruits.

Eat more vegetables than fruits. Instead of fruit, snack on carrots or cucumbers. Vegetables are generally lower in sugars.

If you’re on a low-carb diet and trying to lose excess weight, limit your fruit intake to 1-2 fruits a day.

Don’t drink fruit juice or eat dried fruits. They usually have particularly high amounts of sugars. Rather eat your fruits whole, and drink more water.


Conclusion

When you are limiting sugar intake, cut out processed foods first. That way you’re getting rid of added sugars. After that, if you’re still wanting to cut out more sugar and lose some excess weight, look at the fruits you eat. Eat more of the low sugar fruits, and just keep your portions in mind. You know what they say, everything in moderation… even the good stuff! 🙂

Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Ciao-For-Now

 

 

 

Low Medium and High Sugar Fruits

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