I eat a lot of fruits. My doctor recently said my A1C sugar level is high & to avoid eating fruits, carbs, etc. that are high in sugar. I’m most concerned about the fruits because I eat them daily. What are the best fruits to eat that are low in sugar & what are the worst fruits to avoid that are high in sugar? –Barry T.
You’re right that certain fruits are higher in sugar than others. Most all gain more sugar as they ripen, yet their moisture and fiber content vary. First let me share some important information before you make changes.
The total carbohydrate load determines blood sugar rise, not just sugar/fructose. A potato (almost sugar-free) has nearly twice the carbohydrate of an apple.
What you eat with the fruit matters. Fats and proteins slow digestion and blunt the rise in blood sugar from the fruit, whereas adding starch will make blood sugar skyrocket. A slice of cheese or tablespoon of nuts is a good complement to fresh fruit.
How much fruit you eat matters. Half a watermelon is more detrimental than just two dates.
So now, on to your high/low list of sugar content — per normal serving consumed (adapted from USDA National Nutrient Database):
HIGH (over 18 grams sugar)
1/4 Cup raisins, other dried fruit
2 Medjool dates
medium 3″ apple
1 Cup grapes, European
1 Cup grapes, American slip skin
medium 7″ banana
full ring pineapple, 3/4″ thick
medium peach, pear, or 3″ orange
10 kumquats or common dates
2 medium plums or 2.25″ fresh figs
1 Cup sweet cherries or blueberries
1 Cup cantaloupe or honeydew melon
LOW (less than 12 gms sugar)
1/2 Cup pomegranate arils
2 guavas or kiwifruit
1 nectarine or clementine/tangerine
2-3 fresh apricots
1 Cup berries (blackberry, boysenberry, cranberry, raspberry, strawberry)
1 Cup cubed watermelon, papaya
The worst HIGH sugar fruit would be any dried fruit, and the best LOW sugar fruits would be grapefruit, pomegranate or berries.
- Debbie J., MS, RD
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