There are many reasons to cut down on your sugar intake but should this include fruit?

When we begin to cut out sugar, the obvious foods like cake, chocolate and fizzy drinks are the first to go but fruit could be making a significant contribution to your daily sugar consumption.


For someone trying to improve their health, cutting out sugar has incredible benefits but cutting out fruit could mean losing vital nutrients in your diet. Knowing the sugar content of various fruits should help you reduce your intake and keep those beneficial nutrients required for a healthier you. All sugars whether in a slice of chocolate cake or a slice of melon have the same amount of calories but obviously, the nutritional content of a slice of melon far outweighs a slice of chocolate cake. Trust me I’ve checked…at least ten times!  

Fruit contains a mix of natural sugars called fructose, glucose and sucrose, surprisingly; the chocolate cake contains the same.

However, the sugars in the cake are known as ‘Free Sugars’: this means they have been removed from their naturally occurring source.  

The body metabolises fruit sugar slower than refined sugar as fruit contains fibre, which slows the digestive process. That’s the good news; the bad news is that once the sugar has passed into the small intestine, it is treated the same whether you ate a bowl of fresh strawberries or one of your Nana’s cookies.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends keeping ‘Free Sugars’ to 10% and below of your total energy intake to reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. However, their guidelines do not refer to the sugars in fresh fruit and vegetables or those naturally present in milk as there has been no reported evidence of negative effects from consuming these types of sugars. Below is a table of some common fruits and their sugar content.

 Sugar in Fruit Comparison Chart
Avocado 0g
Lime 0g
Lemon 2g
Blackberries 100g 5g
Strawberries 100g 5g
Raspberries 100g 7g
Plumb 7g
Tangerine 9g
Blueberries 100g 10g
Nectarine 11g
Grapefruit 11g
Peach 13g
Kiwi fruit 13g
Apple 14g
Pear 14g
Orange 14g
Grapes 100g 16g
Banana 30g
MELON per 100g  
Honeydew 8g
Cantaloupe 8g
Watermelon 7g

All reference medium-sized fruits unless stated otherwise.


As you can see from the list above, your top 5 fruits to eat when reducing your sugar intake are:

  • LIME

I haven’t included tomatoes in the list above but they are technically a fruit and contain approximately 3g per 100g so should make it on to the list. Although, the sugar content of tomatoes will vary depending on the variety of fruit to how they are grown.

As a general rule with regard to sugar in fruit, it is best to remember tropical fruits (Bananas, mangoes, pineapple) tend to be higher in sugar and berries along with lemon and limes are the lowest. Winter fruits like apples and pears and other citrus fruits sit mid range.

The other point to consider is portion size. You would generally only eat one apple (14g sugar) but rarely one strawberry, so if you usually graze your way through a whole punnet (about 20 strawberries) you would be consuming 20g of sugar.

This article was written by Wendy from the