Fruit and Sugar

My battle with food is really a battle with sugar. It’s less about battling food, cravings and temptations and more about trying to resist the hold SUGAR has on me.


Put a bag of chips in front of me and I can walk away without feeling any twinge. Eat a piece of cheesecake in front of me and I might gnaw off your arm to try and get to it, though. The same goes for fruit. I love fruit. When I buy the packages of fresh strawberries at the grocery store that package lasts about two days tops. Blueberries? Gone in a day.

Livestrong.com recommends no more than 100 calories a day in sugar (for women).  “However, MayoClinic.com suggests eating a diet rich in foods with naturally occurring sugar, such as fruits, because they provide your body with essential nutrients. Adults should get at least two to three servings of fruit every day.” 100 calories in sugar a day? That’s one banana! Yikes!

Since I eat a lot of fruit my sugar intake is usually pretty high. Last year I consulted with a nutritionist to see if how I was eating was good. She said I was doing well and that I shouldn’t care about the sugar content in fruit because fruit is healthy and a good part of a healthy diet.

The good news: I get most of my sugar from fruit. For example, for my morning snack yesterday I ate a small Gala apple (80 calories, 17 grams of sugar) and for the afternoon snack I had a Chobani Black Cherry Yogurt (150 calories, 21 grams of sugar). I usually have plain yogurt but had some cherry I needed to eat.  That’ s a lot of sugar but the apple is healthy in my book. It’s GOOD sugar.

The main reason I disliked the Four Hour Body Diet experiment that Michael and I did recently was the fact that I could not eat any fruit on the diet. I hated this. It was too hard for me. I LIKE fruit. I stand firm in my belief that fruit is GOOD FOR YOU.

Fruit is supposed to be healthy. It is healthy. But it’s also pretty high in sugar. I found a list detailing what fruit is lowest and highest in sugar. This was quite eye-opening for me. I suppose I just assumed all fruit was the same. And fruit was healthy, so who cares? The reason I care is that I’ve been noticing lately that I feel differently when I eat certain foods.


I consider my diet to be nutritious, well-rounded and healthy 90% of the time. I shouldn’t be concerned about the FRUIT I eat however, I noticed recently that I crash hard when I eat bananas.


As a runner I loved bananas. I’d eat them pre-run and be happy. I never put two and two together when I’d become HUNGRY mid-run. It wasn’t until a few months ago when I complained on my blog (and Twitter) about bananas making me hungrier than other things. The answer? SUGAR. Apparently bananas are super high in sugar:  sucrose, fructose and glucose. No other fruit contain more digestible carbohydrates than bananas.  Why does this matter? If I eat a banana without protein and fiber (peanut butter works for me) to slow its digestion, I am getting an insulin spike. The insulin spike is to deal with the sugar from the carb-rich banana and it tells my body that I am hungry. Bad idea when I’m mid-workout and ready to crash from hunger!

The following is the list I found detailing the sugar in fruit.

Fruits Lowest in Sugar

  • Lemon and Lime
  • Rhubarb
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Cranberries

–>So happy that raspberries and blackberries are the lowest in sugar. Two of my favorite things in the summertime!


Fruits Low to Medium in Sugar

  • Strawberries
  • Papaya
  • Watermelon
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupes
  • Honeydew melons
  • Apples
  • Guavas
  • Apricots (fresh, not dried)
  • Grapefruit

Fruits with Medium-High Sugar Content

  • Plums
  • Oranges
  • Kiwi
  • Pears
  • Pineapple

 

Fruits with Highest Sugar Content

  • Tangerines
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Pomegranates
  • Mangoes
  • Figs
  • Bananas
  • Dried fruit (raisins, dried apricots, prunes)

–> Man! Bananas, grapes and cherries are my favorites! And they are the highest!


I’m still going to be eating fruit, and a lot of it. If I’m craving sugar and my choices are a high calories dessert or a bowl of cherries? I’m going to try and pick the cherries (hey I’m human, I like REAL dessert once in awhile). I AM going to rethink bananas though. I’ve been slowly buying less and less bananas to eat as snacks because of what it does to my body.

QUESTION: Do you notice a change in your body when you eat high sugar fruits? Do you avoid these things?

16 Responses

  1. I agree that fruit is a way better option than a high (processed sugar) dessert.

    I don’t notice anything in myself when I eat higher sugar fruits. I am more of a salty type gal though myself.

    However, I do eat at least 3 servings of fruit a day, if not more. I figure if its a plant based item I’m putting in me, it can’t be all that bad. Oh, and I’ve never gotten full gorging myself on blueberries, so I don’t think I’m too worried 😉

  2. I’ve always noticee that if I have an apple and a string cheese for breakfast I’m fine until lunch but if I have grapes and string cheese I pretty much want to eat my arm off all morning. This never made sense to me since, like you, I figured fruit was fruit and any of it was better that eating something processed. Very interesting! And as far as bananas, they are the only food in the world that gives me heartburn I love them but they HATE me.

  3. I loooooove fruit in the summer! And I totally have a sweet tooth, so my sugar level is high from the fruits I eat. It’s terrible! Looking at the photos on this blog made me want fruit NOW!

  4. Over the years my husband and I have had several Naturopaths tell us to steer clear of bananas and oranges. For me cuz of the sugar content & weight issue and him cuz he is type 1 diabetic.

    Black cherries are my favourite and wouldn’t you know it, they are in the high sugar category as well 🙂

  5. Tuesday I bought a 1.5 lb container of blueberries and I ate it in two days. I don’t feel bad about that at all. 🙂 I’m actually going on a sugar detox (because I too am ADDICTED) and one thing that really bothers me is that I won’t be able to eat fruit. I guess I can deal with it for 21 days, but i foresee me being very pouty.

  6. Bananas are the “Red Bull of nature”. Definitely good for some purposes, but maybe not the best for just munching on. 🙂

    That’s really nice to know about blackberries and raspberries……YUM!

  7. there was a time in my life where I avoided most high sugar fruits. i mightve been leaner or skinnier, but i think it had to do more with the fact that i ate less in general, and not JUST on the fact that i consumed less fruit.

    if its good for me now, i eat it no questions asked.

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