Should You Avoid Eating These High-Sugar Fruits? We Asked Nutritionists

Experts settle the debate over whether we should be watching our fruit intake because of its sugar content.

When it comes to eating foods containing sugar, the way that sugar is incorporated into the food is makes a difference. According to Rayanne Nguyen, RD, a registered dietitian specializing in sports nutrition; foods without naturally occurring sugars but with sugar added, like muffins or soda, impact your body differently than a food that naturally has sugar, such as fresh fruit.

If your goal is to eat the healthiest diet possible, you should limit foods with added sugar. According to the USDA, you would also have about two cups of fruit daily, ideally the ones with only naturally occurring sugars.

Why is sugar found naturally in fresh fruit not harmful? "Fruit brings all these other nutrients to the table: water, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, in addition to carbohydrates, which is the sugar we're talking about," said Nguyen. "So you're not going to get the same blood sugar response and health response from eating a piece of fruit that has the same number of grams of sugar as a soda, for example."

"Research has shown that in our overall diet as Americans, we are under when it comes to eating enough fruits and vegetables," said Nijya Saffo, RD, a registered dietitian and owner of NK Fitness and Nutrition, LLC. "So the majority of us are not even eating a large amount of fruit to have a concern with its sugar content."

But when it comes to processed versions of fruit, both dietitians offer a word of caution. Dried fruit and canned fruit are considered processed and often come with added sugar, which is why they top the list of high-sugar fruits compiled below.

Fruits Highest in Sugar

Dried Fruit

Even without added sugar, dried fruit has roughly twice the amount of natural sugar as fresh fruit. Besides being mindful of your serving size, Saffo recommends choosing dried fruit with "no sugar added" labeled on the package. You can also scan the ingredients for added sugars and make sure words like "sugar", "sweetener," "sucrose", "glucose", "dextrose", "fructose", "syrup", "nectar", "juice concentrate", "honey", and "molasses" aren't listed.

Canned Fruit

Many canned fruits come in syrup or sweetened juice, says Nguyen, so look for cups or cans with no sugar added. Comparatively speaking, a cup of canned fruit without added sugar corresponds to a cup of fresh fruit.

Some Fresh Fruit

Does a medical condition like diabetes warrant choosing fresh fruit that is lower in sugar? Not necessarily, says Saffo, who steers clients with diabetes away from measuring their fruit intake or only eating low-sugar fruits. Instead, she recommends pairing fruit with a protein-rich food, which helps minimize a subsequent rise in blood sugar. Also, a fruit's glycemic index (GI) has a larger impact on how quickly your blood sugar spikes compared to its sugar content. For example, watermelon is a high-sugar fruit but has a low GI, so it's better suited for someone with diabetes.

Depending on your goals and food preferences, you may want to be more mindful when choosing fresh fruit with high sugar content. Since we're all biologically different, with diverse goals and food preferences, Saffo recommends consulting with a registered dietitian before limiting your fruit intake solely based on its sugar content. After you've spoken with a dietitian, check back here for the list of the high-sugar fresh fruits we've rounded up.

01 of 07


Person washing grapes under the faucet

Manki Kim / Unsplash

A cup of grapes (about 3.5 ounces or 100 grams) provides 16 grams of sugar. It also provides about 10% of your daily value (DV) for vitamin K.

02 of 07


Lychees up close
Nakhorn Yuangkratoke/EyeEm/GettyImages

With 15 grams of sugar in 100 grams of lychees, each one-cup serving has roughly 29 grams. A serving also provides over 100% of the DV for vitamin C.

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Cherries (Sweet Varieties)

cherry tree with ripe cherries

Bob Stefko

Sweet cherries have 13 grams of sugar per 100 grams, so a cup provides 18 grams of sugar. It also offers 11% of the DV for vitamin C, 10% for fiber, and 9% each for copper and potassium.

04 of 07


Mango fruits and mango slices.

Mango contains 14 grams of sugar per 100 grams, which means a cupful provides 23 grams. It also hits 10% of your daily fiber needs, as well as 67% of the DV for vitamin C, and 10% for vitamins A and E.

05 of 07


Pomegranates On Tree

Getty Images

Pomegranates have 14 grams of sugar per 100 grams, so a cup contains 23 grams. You'll also get 25% of the DV for fiber, along with 23 percent of your daily vitamin K and 20% of your vitamin C needs.

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Are Bananas Herbs or Fruit?

With 12 grams of sugar per 100 grams, a medium banana provides 14 grams of sugar. In addition, it has about 10% of the DV for fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.

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Karen Schuld/Getty Images

There are 10 grams of sugar per 100 grams of blueberries, so a cup provides close to 15 grams of sugar. You'll also get 13% of the DV for fiber, as well as 24% of vitamin K and 16% of vitamin C.

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  1. USDA, My Plate - Fruits.

  2. CDC, Adults Meeting Fruit and Vegetable Intake Recommendations — United States, 2019.

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