Fruit, of course, is a healthy go-to snack, and you should be eating a few servings of it every day. But not everything from the farmers’ market is created equal.
Some of the most commonly purchased fruits are actually the highest in sugar, like bananas (18 grams of sugar per cup) and grapes (15 grams). Ditto tropics-born favorites like mango (23 grams) and pineapple (16 grams).
To get a better idea of which fruits will be less likely to cause a blood sugar spike, nutritionist Katrin Lee, MS, RD, founder of Simply Nutrition NYC, recommends analyzing the rest of the nutrition facts.
“Any fruits that have other major nutrients, like protein, fiber, or good fats will cause your blood sugar to spike slower because you’re also working to digest the other nutrients,” Lee explains. And while your body reacts to sugar whether it comes from a packet or a pineapple, eating the nutrient-dense food is always the better option. “Just control your portions and eat a variety of types, so you can get the extra nutritional benefits of different fruits.”
If you’re really trying to cut back on the sweet stuff, you should know this: Overripe fruits contain more sugar. “The starch content turns into simple sugar, that’s why it tastes sweeter, too,” says Lee. So for fruits that don’t need to be super ripe, try to eat them before they’re overly soft and saccharine.
To help guide your grocery shopping, here are three fruits we’re gushing over with relatively low sugar content and some seriously juicy nutritional benefits. —Amy Marturana and Jennifer Kass
Originally posted June 16, 2011, updated May 11, 2016.
Strawberries clock in at 7 grams per cup, while raspberries have a mere 5 grams—not to mention, a whopping 8 grams of fiber. When consumed at least three times a week, colorful berries are pretty powerful at fighting inflammation in the body, thanks to their high antioxidant content.
Tip: Eat for dessert and get the benefits of digestive enzymes.
You know that whole “keep the doctor away” thing? It’s because apples are packed with antioxidant-rich nutrients. They contain about 11 grams of sugar per cup, but the key here is to eat the skin as well—which is packed with fiber that helps to temper the sugar spike.
Tip: Replenish glucose after a workout with green apples.
While these juicy, fuzzy fruits have about 13 grams of sugar per cup, they also have 3 grams of fiber to help your body use the sugar more efficiently. Peaches are also loaded with vitamins like A, C, and E, and antioxidants that help fight disease and slow aging.
Tip: Slice, freeze, and make this healthy peach “ice cream.”