If you’re looking to keep your fructose intake to a minimum – or just want to get a clearer idea of how much you’re taking in each day – it’s worth putting your favourite fruits under the microscope. But fructose content doesn’t tend to be listed on the packaging or signs in the supermarket – that’s why we’ve done the research for you. Here are the fruits lowest in fructose, along with the medium and high sources of this ubiquitous sugar, plus what it means for your health.
Fructose is a type of sugar which, unlike glucose, cannot be broken down further by the body. The issue here is that it requires the liver to put the hard yards in to metabolise it – and while, in reasonable amounts, out liver can handle this task, things can turn a little pear-shaped when we overwhelm it. The result? A number of diseases – including obesity. With cases rising at an alarmingly fast rate, obesity is one of the biggest public health crises. Rates more than tripled since 1975, with over 1.9 billion people around the globe living with the condition. Studies have found a direct link between obesity and excessive fructose consumption, due to the promotion of visceral fat – this is the dangerous kind which wraps around the abdominal organs, leaving us vulnerable to a number of health conditions. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is one such consequence of excess fructose intake, and it affects a whopping 25% of the population. When the liver is overwhelmed by fructose, it starts converting this sugar to fat, leading to a build-up of fat in the liver – visceral fat. Alarmingly, one study in the US found 12% of children with the condition, with the condition only slated to keep growing alongside our ultra-processed, sugar-laden diets. It’s projected to become the leading cause of late-stage liver disease within the next decade.
You’ll find fructose in the following foods:
- Fruits and some veggies
- Sweeteners like honey and maple syrup
- Ultra-processed cereals and breads
- Flavoured yoghurts and ice cream
- Commercial-baked cakes
According to research, between 25 and 40 grams of fructose is a safe daily intake. To put that into perspective, that could include an apple, a pear and a cup of cherries. With some less conservative recommendations as high as 80 grams, your choice will depend on your individual health circumstances. Those with fructose malabsorption are advised to keep their intake low, while others might also be looking to lower their fructose consumption for their health goals – though it’s worth noting that whole fruit is rich in fibre, which plays a role in slowing the absorption of the fructose, putting us at a lower risk of developing visceral fat. Fruit juice, on the other hand, is a sure-fire way to get all the negatives of fructose and little of the benefits of whole fruits, as much of the fibre is lost in the process.
Let’s get into the ranking of low, medium and high-fructose fruits – we’ve calculated the amount found in a host of popular fruits so you can decide for yourself which ones to favour. Of course, despite the fructose content, keep in mind these fruits all have impressive nutritional profiles with numerous essential vitamins and minerals for whole-body health. So, you don’t have to cross the high-fructose fruits off your shopping list just yet! But, as is the case with most foods, moderation is key.
- Limes: 0 grams fructose
- Lemons (1 lemon): 0.6 grams of fructose
- Cranberries (1 cup): 0.7 grams of fructose
- Passion fruit (1 passion fruit): 0.9 grams of fructose
- Guava (1 guava): 1.1 grams of fructose
- Prunes (1 medium-sized prune): 1.2 grams of fructose
- Apricot (1 apricot): 1.3 grams of fructose
- Rock melon (1 piece, approx. 1/16 of a rock melon): 1.4 grams of fructose
- Raspberries (1 cup): 3.0 grams of fructose
- Star fruit (1 starfruit): 3.6 grams of fructose
- Strawberries (1 cup): 3.8 grams of fructose
- Pineapple (1 slice, approx. 9cm by 2cm): 4 grams of fructose
- Nectarine (1 nectarine): 5.4 grams of fructose
- Orange (1 orange): 6.1 grams of fructose
- Banana (1 banana): 7.1 grams of fructose
- Blueberries (1 cup): 7.4 grams of fructose
High fructose fruits
- Date (1 medium-sized Medjool date): 7.7 grams of fructose
- Plantain: 8.6 grams of fructose
- Jackfruit: 9.2 grams of fructose
- Apple (1 apple): 9.5 grams of fructose
- Persimmon (1 persimmon): 10.6 grams of fructose
- Watermelon (1 pieces, approx. 1/16 watermelon): 11.3 grams of fructose
- Pear (1 pear): 11.8 grams of fructose
- Grapes (1 cup): 12 grams of fructose
- Dried grapes – raisins (1/3 cup): 16.4 grams of fructose
- Mango (1 mango): 32.4 grams of fructose
- Dried figs (1 cups): 23 grams of fructose
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