All fresh fruit offers us health benefits, but do you know the healthiest fruits for your weight loss goals and which ones may set you back?
Since fresh fruit comes from nature, you’d think they are all “healthy fruit.”
Technically, they are all healthy in their own right as all do fruit offer a wide variety of nutrients. Some provide us with fiber and other essential vitamins and minerals. Some fruits hydrate us in the hot summer sun, and some may even offer defenses against cancer.
But to say that all fruit is created equal, well, you might as well be comparing apples to oranges!
Actually, that is precisely what I’m doing. I’m comparing apples, oranges, watermelon, strawberries, and much more. Because while all fruits offer us health benefits, which ones you should consume depends on your goals.
Fear not, this is not an article to tell you that you can’t eat fruit if you’re trying to lose weight. You can undoubtedly enjoy fresh fruits and not wreck your weight loss goals. All it takes is a little insight so you can make more educated choices.
Now let’s get down to comparing those apples and oranges.
First, Let’s Talk Fruit For Fruit’s Sake
I would never go so far as to call any fresh fruit unhealthy. Again, when I say “healthiest fruit,” it is more about learning the difference between all fruits and knowing the best ones to eat to help with your goals.
The first thing to know is that all fruits contain a simple sugar called fructose.
Hold on! I thought we were supposed to avoid simple sugars?
Well, yes, but it’s all about the kind of simple sugar. Processed simple sugars run rampant throughout our diets in artificial sweeteners like corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. Artificial fructose can spike blood sugar, among many other things that aren’t good for our health.
However, with fruit, it is different. For starters, it brings more to the table by way of nutrients, and the fructose in fruit is naturally occurring. The fructose levels vary fruit to fruit, and choosing those fruits lower in sugar is key to weight loss.
Another thing to know is that all fruits offer us a variety of vitamins and minerals. If you are going to enjoy fruit, then you want to make sure it supports you by supplying ample amounts of vitamins. Though just like fructose, vitamin and mineral content varies fruit to fruit. Selecting fruits with a higher concentration of vitamins is just as important as knowing the sugar levels.
I probably don’t need to tell you that fiber is essential to any diet. Luckily, fruit brings plenty of fiber to the table as well. So along with tasting delicious, supplying you with ample vitamins and minerals, fruit also assists in healthy digestion.
Fruit is a superfood, after all. Now let’s figure out which one is best for you and your goals!
So What Makes the Healthiest Fruits Healthy? And What are Not-so-Healthy Fruits?
We now know that all fruit provides us with fructose, vitamins, minerals, and an ample amount of fiber. So, which ones are higher in sugar, and which ones are the healthiest fruits if you’re trying to lose weight? Well, let’s take a look.
Simple Sugars: 5 Fruits On The Low Side
Here is a list of five fruit options that can satisfy any sweet tooth, pack a punch with vitamins and minerals, and still offer a low fructose content.
Berries are the crowned champion fruit due to their low sugar content, delicious taste, and high amounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
For example, one cup of raspberries packs eight grams of fiber and only five grams of sugar. Blueberries are as equally low in sugar and are loaded with antioxidants. Both raspberries and blueberries have also been shown to help manage diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Strawberries and blackberries are an excellent source of vitamin C. In fact, one cup of blackberries provides you with 50% of your daily recommended vitamin C requirement.
If I were forced to declare any fruit as one “the healthiest fruits,” I would have to go with berries.
Yes, avocados are a fruit, and no, guacamole doesn’t count (Trust me, it was the first thing I checked).
Avocados are virtually sugar-free, and while they are high in fat, they are still part of the LadyBoss lifestyle because they come loaded with healthy monounsaturated fat.
However, they are calorie-dense, so split it in half and save the rest for another day.
This breakfast favorite is quite the powerhouse fruit! It is low in sugar and calories yet dense in nutrients.
Talk about your one-stop-shop in health!
4. Lemons & Limes
No, I don’t expect you to take a bite out of a lemon or lime (though if you want to, have at it).
Both lemons and limes contain less than 2 grams of sugar and are packed with vitamin C. They both assist in heart health, are great for your skin, and can help with detoxification of the body.
Add slices of lemons to any chicken or fish dish. Squeeze lemon or lime juice into water or over a salad to reap the benefits.
This fuzzy little green fruit is low in both sugar and calories, with only 7 g of sugar and around 42 calories in an entire medium-sized kiwi.
5 Lower-Sugar Honorable Mentions
1. Cranberries (5 g of sugar per cup)
2. Cantaloupes (8g of sugar per large wedge)
3. Tangerines (9 g of sugar per medium tangerine)
4. Granny Smith Apple (9 g of sugar per medium apple)
5. Oranges (10 g of sugar per medium orange)
Simple Sugars: 5 Fruits on the High Side
Now, let’s take a look at the five fruits that contain the highest amount of fructose. Again, just because they are on this list does not mean you should swear off them forever as they all have a lot to offer in terms of nutrition. They are simply the fruits you should limit your intake of if your goal is weight loss.
Pineapple is one of the most satisfying fruits out there. They are the epitome of sweet and juicy.
They also have the sugar content to show for it.
One whole pineapple can boast 89 grams of sugar! So if you want to indulge in a pineapple from time to time on a hot summer day, stick to just one slice. Just know that even one slice will still be around 16 grams of sugar. All this to say, pineapple isn’t necessarily one of the healthiest fruits out there if you’re trying to lose weight.
So if you know you are prone to overindulging, it is probably best to steer clear.
Yes, mangos are delicious. They also contain high levels of fiber, vitamins, and several health benefits. For starters, mangos can help boost your immunity and help fight off disease. It can also have benefits on heart health by helping reduce cholesterol.
However, they also carry 45 grams of sugar per mango! So, as good as mangos are, they are not necessarily the best fruit choice if you’re trying to lose weight.
Did you know that one cup of grapes contains around 23 grams of sugar?
While that may not seem too bad, ask yourself this: When was the last time you only ate just 1 cup of grapes? Yeah, me either.
Grapes are the easiest fruit to overindulge on because it is so easy just to pop them in your mouth. Suddenly, that 23 grams of sugar can double or triple in no time.
So if you are going to have some grapes, measure out a cup, and put the rest away to avoid overeating.
Ah, watermelon, the iconic summertime favorite!
Who can resist the taste of a sun-ripened, luscious, flavor-rich watermelon in the middle of a hot summer day?
Well, if weight loss is your goal, it might be in your best interest to try and resist it. Or at least try to keep how much you eat to a minimum. One medium wedge of watermelon can contain up to 17 grams of sugar. And speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that it is very easy to eat more than one wedge of watermelon when it’s sitting in front of you.
Nevertheless, watermelon is packed with many significant benefits. It is loaded with natural electrolytes that help hydrate you on a hot day, aids in kidney health, eye health, and assists in repairing damaged tissue.
So if you are going to have some watermelon, aim to eat only one slice as to keep the sugar low, but the health benefits high.
I’ll be the first to admit that I love bananas. I eat them on their own, I love them with oatmeal, and they are delicious in a smoothie.
Bananas also offer a lot of health benefits! They are loaded with vitamin C, boast high potassium levels that are good for your muscles, as well as manganese, which is beneficial for your skin.
However, they also can contain around 15-16 grams of sugar per medium banana, and that number only increases as the banana becomes riper.
If you want to reap the health benefits of bananas or just want to enjoy the flavor, try not to consume the whole thing at once. Instead, opt to indulge in no more than half a banana if weight loss is your goal.
5 More Fruits That Are High In Sugar
1. Cherries (18 g of sugar per cup)
2. Red Delicious Apples (16 g in one medium-sized apple)
3. Papaya ( 18-20 g of sugar in one medium papaya)
4. Pears (17 g of sugar per medium-sized pear)
5. Figs (10 g of sugar in one medium-sized fig)
Fruits and Fiber
As I mentioned before, sugar and vitamin content is not everything when it comes to deciding on what deems fruit “healthiest.”
Fiber, specifically soluble fiber, is an indigestible carb and another essential element that is abundant in fruits. Soluble fiber is the portion of plant-derived food such as fruit that cannot be completely broken down by human digestive enzymes.
Soluble fiber is beneficial because it becomes gel-like material when dissolved in the liquid within our stomachs. That gel slows down the digestive process, leaving you feeling fuller for longer. As a result, it can help lower blood cholesterol, glucose levels, and weight loss.
The top five best fruit sources for helping meet your daily fiber intake are:
1. Avocados (around 13 grams per avocado)
2. Raspberries & Blackberries (8 g of fiber per cup)
3. Kiwi (7 g of fiber per cup)
4. Granny Smith Apple (5 g of fiber per cup)
5. Blueberries (4 g of fiber per cup)
A Note on Dried Fruit
While we are talking about the healthiest fruits, let’s touch on the subject of dried fruit. Dried fruit is a popular snack for a lot of people. You can find it in bulk at grocery stores, it’s mixed into almost every kind of trail mix, and it’s popular to bake and cook with.
There are plenty of health benefits that come with eating dried fruit. For example, most dried fruit is high in fiber; those such as raisins, dried prunes, and dried figs are great for helping keep our digestion healthy.
Unfortunately, a lot of dried fruit also comes with extremely high sugar content and is also very calorie-dense. Just one ounce of dried fruit, such as figs, can boast around 102 calories and 16 grams of sugar alone. So say you end up eating 1 cup of dried fruit, you’ll be consuming about 864 calories and 128 grams of sugar!
So if you are a fan of dried fruit, try to keep it at a bare minimum. However, if your goals are weight loss, I would try to avoid it altogether.
Healthiest Fruits Simply Means Best Fruits For You
So is there such a thing as an unhealthy fruit? No, not really. The reality is that fruit is just like all the other foods we eat. It is about finding what is best for you, which fruit will support your goals, and making the best choice.
If your goal is to lose weight or to monitor sugar intake, then learn what fruits are low in sugar and aim to eat those. All it takes is a little research on your own, or you can ask your physician or nutritionist so you can make the most educated decision.
Remember, even if fruits that are higher sugar content, such as watermelon, are a favorite of yours, you don’t have to write them off entirely! When it comes to fresh fruit, everything is okay in moderation. Just try to work on portion control when enjoying fruits that are higher in sugar.
After all, when you indulge in sweet fruit of any kind, as opposed to nutritionally bankrupt ice cream or cookies, you also get high levels of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The benefits you get from fruits, even if they aren’t the healthiest fruits, far outweigh the sugar content if it comes down to eating the fruit versus ice cream.
However, that is not to say you can’t enjoy some fresh fruits over your favorite ice cream from time to time. I’m just saying.