Cutting Back on Sugar? Here Are 11 Low-Sugar Fruits To Get You Started
Cutting back on sugar is a powerful way to improve your health. Start by incorporating low-sugar fruits into your healthy smoothies.
Some of the most obvious sugary culprits to eliminate from your diet might very well be the usual suspects like candy and chocolates.
But beyond that, don't forget that sugary drinks — including sodas, energy and sports drinks — are the single leading source of added sugars in the American diet, according to the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services.
If you are serious about trying to understand where your sugar intake comes from, you may also want to look at the fruit that you consume.
In case you've heard differently, let us clearly state that all fruits contain fructose which is a fancy word for sugar. Period.
However, while all fruits contain sugar, some hold considerably less than others. Which is good news because it means you can cut sugar intake without giving up on delicious sources of nutrients.
This guide will be particularly useful for you if you:
believe your sugar intake is out of control
are trying to cut back on sugar for weight or health reasons
are sensitive to blood sugar spikes causing crash-and-burn energy fluctuations
Here is a list of the top 11 low-sugar fruits that you can eat in good conscience and guilt-free (in moderation, of course).
Spoiler alert: there are even a few rather sweet-tasting low-sugar fruits on the list you may not have expected to see here.
1. Avocado (0.41g sugar per avocado)
Avocados are uniquely nutritious and delicious fruits and, yes, officially part of the fruit family. They contain 20 different essential nutrients such as vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, fiber and potassium.
In addition to this extraordinary range of nutrients, avocados stand out even more because they are very low in sugar (only 0.41g per avocado) while being a great source of heart-, brain- and skin-friendly healthy fats (Omega-3 fatty acids).
If you are as avocado-obsessed as we are, you may want to try one of our 12 best avocado smoothie recipes.
2. Cucumber (0.87g sugar per cup)
Granted, cucumbers are not what you typically think of when talking about fruits. However, they are considered part of the fruit family, too.
This is great because cucumbers are 96% pure water. As a result, they are incredibly low-calorie (45 calories for a 300g cucumber) and low-sugar (0.87g per cup or 5g for the entire cucumber).
Cucumbers also contain antioxidants and many essential nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, magnesium and potassium. So, if you like munching mindlessly, then do so 100% guilt-free with cucumbers.
3. Lemon (1.45g sugar per lemon)
Lemons are high in vitamin C, loaded with gut-friendly fiber and with only 1.45 grams per lemon very low in fruit sugar.
Their tartness makes any plain glass of water a refreshing summer drink.
Half the lemon and squeeze its fresh juice into your glass, that's it.
4. Tomatoe (5g sugar per cup)
Another fruit in disguise, with tomatoes you unlock a range of health benefits. They are packed with an antioxidant called lycopene which is associated with heart health, cancer prevention and healthy skin.
Tomatoes are also rich in vitamin C (promoting immunity and skin health), vitamin K (supporting blood clotting) folate (improving cell function) and potassium (regulating blood pressure).
And, yes, with only 5g of sugar per cup, tomatoes are a low-carb, low-sugar fruit.
5. Raspberries (5g sugar per cup)
Now, here is a very pleasant surprise as you may not have expected to see raspberries in the low-sugar category given their flavor profile. But, yes with only 5g of sugar per cup, they are a great low-sugar fruit. Even better, they are high in fiber and good for your gut, too.
But, did you know that raspberries are also richer in vitamin C than oranges?
One cup contains half of your daily vitamin C needs, which gives both your immune system and your skin (think collagen!) a welcome boost.
One of the easiest and tastiest ways of enjoying raspberries is in smoothies. So, you may want to give one of our simple raspberry smoothie recipes a try.
6. Kiwis (6g sugar per kiwi)
Sweet and tangy, kiwis are a rather awesome fruit and we are glad they make the cut. One kiwi has only 6g of sugar and they are also among the best sources of vitamin C with 90mg per 100g of fruit which is almost twice as much as oranges. Kiwis also contain good amounts of fiber and potassium, and are available year-round.
7. Strawberries (7g sugar per cup)
Raise your hand if you expected super sweet strawberries to make it on the low-sugar list. Well, despite how they taste they contain only 7g of sugar per cup.
Strawberries have a very rich nutritional profile — packed with vitamin C, antioxidants and dietary fiber — and are amongst the best foods to eat for skin, brain and gut health.
For example, studies found that as little as 2 servings of antioxidant-rich berries (like strawberries, blueberries or raspberries) per week can promote brain health and delay memory decline by 2.5 years in old age.
Yum factor: check. Health promoting: check. Low-sugar: check. Go strawberries!
If you are excited as we are, try one of these simple strawberry smoothie recipes.
8. Blackberries (7g sugar per cup)
Interestingly, the berry family takes the low-sugar fruit category by storm. Many of our favorite berries, including strawberries and raspberries, make the cut.
So do blackberries which are high in antioxidants and dietary fiber, as well as a great food for skin glow, brain power and weight control.
And guess what, blackberries outperform blueberries when it comes to sugar contents, packing less than half (7g per cup) than blueberries (15g per cup).
9. Red and White Currants (8g sugar per cup)
Tart with floral flavors, red and white currant's pulpy flesh is different from other fruits. They are an excellent source of vitamin C while being great low-carb and low-sugar (8g sugar per cup) options.
10. Grapefruit (9g sugar per half a medium-sized grapefruit)
Sweet and sour in taste, grapefruits are part of the tropical citrus fruit family and are loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin A, making them a great skin food.
But not only are grapefruits low-sugar (9g sugar per half a medium-sized grapefruit), they are also associated with helping control insulin and blood sugar levels. This makes them a great fruit to incorporate into your diet, if you are concerned with preventing type 2 diabetes and high blood sugar levels.
11. Watermelon (10g sugar per cup)
Made up mostly of water, it’s no surprise that watermelons, make the list. This is fabulous news for all watermelon lovers because they a great way of staying hydrated and refreshed, especially during hot summer days.
Watermelons contain lots of vitamin C and vitamin A as well as lycopene and beta-carotene which keep your skin supple and moisturized from the inside.
Despite their sweetness, watermelon are both a low-calorie (46 per cup) and low-sugar (10g sugar per cup) fruit.
A weight management food, great source of hydration, skin glow proponent and low-sugar fruit, consider watermelon your jack of all trades.
Why do low-sugar fruits matter?
Because with them, your homemade smoothie runs a much lower risk of turning into a sugar bomb or, in other words, truly deserves to be called a healthy smoothie.
Now that you know how much sugar some of your favorite fruits contain, you may also want to know whether it is actually possible to build an altogether low-sugar smoothie.
We have analyzed, deconstructed and rebuilt the DNA of a truly low-sugar smoothie for you, from the fruit and greens over the healthy fats and superfood spices down to the liquid base to include, all of it with as little sugar as possible. Check out our list of 9 truly low-sugar smoothies here.
One thing we can tell you for sure when it comes to cutting down on sugar in your smoothies is this: quantities and serving sizes make all the difference.
If you add 3-4 or more servings of fruit to one smoothie, even a low-sugar fruit might produce a sugary drink.
So, it is important to enjoy fruits, even low-sugar fruits in moderation by keeping an eye on the number of servings you consume. In terms of overall daily fruit servings, the American Heart Association recommends 4 servings of fruit a day.
Keep in mind, that when it comes to dealing with the effects of sugar on your system, fiber is your friend. High-fiber fruits help slow down digestion, which means that your blood sugar may not spike as quickly. That way, fiber provides for more steady energy levels.
Finally, if you are serious about cutting back on sugar in your diet while optimizing for nutritional value, consume the fruit whole rather than extracting just its juice. The skin contains higher levels of fiber and makes you fuller, controlling how much you take in.
People with any health condition, including diabetes, may want to speak with their doctor or registered dietitian about the type and amounts of fruit to consume.