Fruit—or nature's candy, as some like to call it—is a natural source of sugar (fructose). In fact, certain fruits can pack up to 14g of sugar in less than a one-cup serving. Read all about how it effects your body in Can Fruit Make You Fat? The bottom line: In moderation, no, but if you're trying to lose weight, seriously minimize your intake or reach for fruits lower in sugar.
But there are some other things you should factor in before you ban fruit completely: "While the sugar is certainly important to note, it’s also crucial to know how much fiber each fruit has, which helps negate some of the effects of the sugar content," says Brooke Alpert, MS, RD, CDN founder of B Nutritious.
Fruits have various amounts of other important nutrients, like fiber, and also some protein and good fats—all of which help your blood sugar to spike more slowly because your body is first working to digest the other compounds.
What's more, there are optimal times to consume fruit. If you're really looking to limit sugar, make sure you're not eating overly ripe fruits. The starch begins to turn into simple sugar as it ripens, which is why it tastes sweeter. So, try to eat them before they become super saccharine and soft to the touch. And, easiest of all, opt for fruits that are naturally lower in sugar or highest in fiber.
Next, from least to greatest, is how much total sugar is in a 3-oz serving of 15 different kinds of fruit. If you're trying to lose weight or lower your body fat percentage, reach for the fruits that appear first in the gallery; we've ranked the varieties based on sugar, but also note the unique health benefits.
Yes—avocados are fruits! All fruits are classified into two categories: dry and fleshy. The heart-healthy avocado is a fleshy fruit that—instead of fitting into the profile of "drupes" (fruits that typically have one tough pit, stone, or seed surrounded by flesh)—is actually categorized as a berry, according to the University of California. You won't have to worry about your sugar intake when it comes to avocado; but be mindful of the fat. While it's packed with the good monounsaturated fat, it's still high in calories which can sneak up on you if you're trying to lose weight.
Tomatoes are a humble, oft-forgotten fruit usually left uneaten next to your burger or unenthusiastically topped on a salad than it is munched on for a midday snack. Well, research shows you'd be better off eating tomatoes every day: Lycopene, a member of the vitamin A family, helps maintain prostate health. Try eating more by making homemade tomato sauce to top chicken, whole wheat pasta, and stuffed peppers.
Eggplant is another fruit you probably group with vegetables—and one you love to hate at that. But the purple fruit packs a healthy amount of fiber, potassium, and folate and is loaded with flavonoids that have been linked to cancer protection. Grill it up as a side or even a meat substitute or bake it for an Italian classic: eggplant parmesan.
Total sugar in 3oz (little less than half a cup) eggplant: 3g
These bright little berries are nutritional powerhouses. Not only do they satiate your sugar cravings (without overloading your body with fructose), they also satisfy your hunger and keep you feeling full longer thanks to their high fiber content (8g in just one cup). Top plain Greek yogurt with rasberries, snack on them plain, toss on a salad, or blend up in a smoothie: You'll be adding a dose of vitamin C and body-protecting antioxidants to every meal.
Total sugar in 3oz (about 3/4 cup) raspberries: 3.7g
Want a low-calorie way to consume natural sugar? Eat strawberries: One full cup doesn't even pack 50 calories. Brimming with vitamin C, which can increase your sperm count, these bright red berries can be added to pretty much any sweet and savory dish. You can even grill them over medium-low heat for 3 to 5 minutes. They'll burst with flavor.
Total sugar in 3oz (about 4 medium) strawberries: 4.1g
Blackberries are a quintessential summer fruit. But they deserve a spot in your diet year-round. They're packed with phytonutrients (plant compounds thought to prevent certain diseases), vitamin K, which has been shown to help lower the risk of prostate cancer, and manganese, which helps keep testosterone production up where it's supposed to be.
Total sugar in 3oz (about 1/3 cup) blackberries: 4.2g
Okay, so papaya's probably not in your fruit bowl. If you've never had it, the tropical fruit has a sweet, musky flavor and a consistency that's super soft (kind of like a ripe avocado). Papaya also boasts an enzyme called chymopapain, which can relieve inflammation. What's more, one cup has a whopping 144 percent of your daily value of vitamin C.
Another food that boosts your penis health, watermelon is fairly effective in treating erectile dysfunction and maybe even preventing it. Research has shown an ingredient in watermelon called citrulline-arginine helps relax blood vessels by boosting nitric oxide (the same way Viagra does). The juice is also a potent health elixir. It's been shown to reduce your recovery heart rate and the degree of muscle soreness.
Total sugar in 3oz (about 1/3 cup) watermelon: 5.3g
Cantaloupe, halved and eaten with cottage cheese, is a satisfying, protein-rich breakfast or a great post-workout recovery snack. A half-cup serving has 135% of your daily value of vitamin A, which can boost immune function, skin health, and keep your heart, kidneys, and lungs working optimally to boot. Plus, like other melons, cantaloupe is made mostly of water so it's low in calories.
Total sugar in 3oz (about 1/3 cup) cantaloupe: 6.7g
Oranges are naturally high in sugar, so it's a wise idea to eat an orange rather than drink its juice. The fiber is pretty much entirely removed by the process of juicing, so it can't slow the absorption of sugar and thus stabilize blood sugar levels. Grab a small orange, though, and you'll reap the benefits of vitamin C (known to lower blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol) without rocking your blood sugar too much.
You can taste the sugar in pineapple—it's pretty obvious. But, it's also the perfect addition to veggie-based smoothies because it's got such a strong, sweet flavor. Pineapples are also the only known source of an enzyme called bromelain, which is credited for reducing inflammation in the body. Make a kale or spinach smoothie with pineapple and ginger (or a cold-pressed juice!) to really reap the anti-inflammatory benefits; ginger is another powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient.
Total sugar in 3oz (about 1/3 cup) pineapple: 8.4g
Apples are a classic power fruit because they contain fiber, some of which is soluble fiber called pectin that forms a gel in your stomach that slows the rate of digestion in your stomach. This means that, while apples are a bit high in sugar, your blood sugar won't spike as much.
Bananas are loaded with digestible carbs that can fuel your workouts before you get moving and potassium to help you recover after exercise. But, they're full of sugar and can raise your blood sugar levels since they're mostly made of carbs and water. Eat your banana with a fat, like nut butter; fat can slow the absorption of sugar by inhibiting how quickly food passes from your stomach to small intestines.
Total sugar in 3oz (one small, about 6") banana: 10.4g
Pomegranates are a special fruit since its juice is just as healthful as the fruit itself. We'd opt for the juice, though—with no added sugar. The fruit is messy: The juice leaks out of the fruit once you crack it open and you have to separate the flesh from all the tiny seeds (and there are a lot of them). Plus, pure pomegranate juice made by pressing the entire fruit contains nutrients from the polyphenol-filled rind and the fiber-full seeds. You'll drink in potassium, antioxidants, fiber, and nitric oxide.
Total sugar in 3oz (half of small) pomegranate: 11.6g
Red grapes, while the highest in sugar, contain resveratrol, an anti-inflammatory compound that helps keep your skin looking healthy and can convert excess white fat into calorie-burning beige fat. Grapes are great as is, or frozen for a hot summer treat; just be mindful of the portion size.