If you follow a low-carbohydrate diet or try to keep sugar intake to a minimum, you may be wary of fruit. Some people are of the mind that fruit is the enemy because of sugar content, while others believe that the natural sugars in fruit are perfectly fine. Although the sugars in fruit are natural, they can still affect blood sugar. This really depends on what you eat these fruits with and whether or not you have diabetes.
Do you count carbs or do you simply pay closer attention to the glycemic load or glycemic index of the foods you eat? When you know which fruits are lower in sugar, however, you can help make choices that fit your dietary needs. Certain fruits are categorized as “low-sugar” because you can enjoy a larger portion for a smaller amount of carbohydrates and sugar. Most fruits also contain beneficial antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but if you are monitoring your sugar intake, focus on the following seven low-sugar fruits.
We know that most people are not biting into lemons to snack on, but lemons are great low-sugar fruits. One lemon contains about 2.1 grams (g) of sugar and 2.4 g of fiber. You can squeeze the juice from a lemon into water or into an herbal tea. You can also mix fresh lemon juice with olive oil to make a zesty salad dressing.
You don’t really have access to fresh cranberries until the fall, and even during the fall you have a limited window to purchase them. With just 4 g of sugar per cup, cranberries are an excellent low-sugar fruit to enjoy. Not to mention, cranberries are excellent sources of antioxidants and phytonutrients, both of which help limit the damage caused by free radicals. According to several studies, cranberries may decrease the risk of urinary tract infections by about one-third in people at increased risk for infection.
There are several berries to choose from, but the main low-sugar options are strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. In a one cup serving, raspberries contain 5 g of sugar, blackberries contain 7 g of sugar, and strawberries 7 g of sugar. Blueberries have a higher sugar content, exhibiting 15 g of sugar per cup. That said, eating a moderate amount of blueberries can be beneficial, as they are rich in antioxidants and brain-boosting chemicals. All berries are rich in vitamins, polyphenols, and fiber, and they have a low glycemic index. In fact, berries have proven to significantly lower A1C levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Watermelon is both sweet and delicious, but it is surprisingly low in sugar. One cup of watermelon contains 45 calories and 9 g of sugar. Although watermelon has a high glycemic index rating, it contains few carbs and is 92% water, which gives it a low glycemic load. Glycemic load essentially considers the glycemic index of a certain food and the amount of carbs per serving. This gives you a more accurate picture of the food’s impact on blood sugar than glycemic index alone.
Containing 7 g of sugar per fruit, kiwi ranks relatively low on the glycemic index scale. Not only is a kiwi a great source of fiber, but one fruit also provides 62% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C. A single kiwi contains about 48 calories and 2.3 g of fiber. Eat kiwis fresh, in smoothies, or in salads. If you want to keep them from spoiling, store them in the fridge.
If you want to snack on some low-sugar fruits, opt for apricots because two small fruits contain a total of 6 g of sugar. This pair of apricots will deliver 34 calories and 1.4 g of fiber. They are readily available during summer, which is when you can get the freshest varieties. Apricots are naturally rich in antioxidants called flavonoids, especially quercetin, catechins, and chlorogenic acids. These compounds help combat oxidative stress and can reduce inflammatory markers.
Yes, avocados fall under the fruit umbrella. Not only are they rich in heart-healthy fats, but they also provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. A single avocado provides 9 g of fiber and less than a half a gram of sugar. A recent study monitored participants who consumed avocado daily for a total of 12 weeks. At the end of the study, the participants showed improved blood sugar control, cardiometabolic risk factors, and insulin resistance. Avocados may even help improve heart health by lowering bad cholesterol levels.