The Hierarchy of Fruit Sugar: Which Fruits Should You Eat?


It’s no secret that fruits are healthy – in fact, they are the healthiest, purest foods offered by Mother Nature! However, paired with a diet marked by overeating, consuming a variety of unfitting foods in one sitting and the consumption of processed, white sugar and flour-laden foods, fruit doesn’t always translate as “good” in the body. Fruit sugar, even in small quantities, may only harm a body that isn’t equipped to receive it with open arms. Luckily, some are less in fruit sugar than others. Internalize the hierarchy of fruit sugar, realize your options and you’ll never feel deprived of the sweet snack.

Fruit sugar is generally harmless, as it comes in a bigger package, otherwise known as fiber. With fiber in tow, the fruit sugar is just a pesky, barely worthy needle in a haystack of gut and immune-focused benefits. However, what good is a piece of fruit if the body it enters is highly acidic and unprepared to process fruit sugar properly? When fruit clashes with other foods in the gastrointestinal tract or confronts candida or other yeast-overload issues occurring in the body, the natural sugars in the fruit may cause fermentation, feed yeast and ultimately cause bloating, acne, lethargy and an overall sense of glum. And some of us, without even knowing, suffer from fructose malabsorption.

To test this on yourself, eat a piece of fruit – say, a banana – in the morning on an empty stomach and see what happens. Do you bloat and then have to go number two within the following hour? If so, the fruit is jump-starting digestion and improving the flow from chewing to elimination. However, if you bloat and don’t eliminate within the following few hours, your body may not be the most receptive to fruit and the sugars therein may just be compounding other internal imbalances.

To prevent fruit from being a problem or from having to eliminate it completely from the diet, be sure to always eat fruit on an empty stomach and not to combine it with any other foods, besides other fruit. That means, at least 3 hours after your last meal and 30 minutes before your next meal. If you still encounter digestion difficulties, try eliminating fruit from your diet for a trial period – 2 to 3 weeks – and see what happens.

When you want to cut down on the sugar in your diet, fruit should not be ignored. Below is the hierarchy of fruit sugar among many common fruits. Whether you are reintroducing them into your diet or just trying to reduce sugar intake, start from the top and work your way down the list as you build better dietary habits and listen to your body along the way.

Low Levels of Sugar

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

Low-Medium Levels of Sugar

  • Strawberries
  • Casaba melon
  • Papaya
  • Watermelon
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupes
  • Honeydew melons
  • Apples
  • Guavas
  • Apricots
  • Grapefruit

High Levels of Sugar

  • Plums
  • Oranges
  • Kiwifruit
  • Pears
  • Pineapple

Very High Levels of Sugar

  • Tangerines
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Pomegranates
  • Mangoes
  • Figs
  • Bananas
  • Dried fruit

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Photo Credit: Everjean