Whether you’re eating low carb foods or not, knowing the varying amount of carbs in fruit will give you an idea of an actual serving size — because fruit is one of those things that’s easy to eat too much of…
According to the Mayo Clinic, one serving of fruit has 15 grams of carb — and as you can imagine, the amount equal to a serving size is different for every fruit (I understand this is a lot of carbs for people on a low carb meal plan, but just as a frame of reference).
Aside from knowing an actual serving size, it’s important to understand how our bodies process the carbs in fruit, and how it may be different from the carbs in bread, or other processed food.
I hope that this article will not only steer you away from eating a fruit, but shine light on the amount of carbs in fruit so you can find what works best for you!
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15 Grams of Carbs in Fruit Serving Size
Now that we know a serving of carbs in fruit is based on 15 grams, the serving size of carbs in fruit are:
- 1 Cup of Strawberries has 11.6 grams of carbs
- 1 Cup of Watermelon has 11.6 grams of carbs
- 1 Cup of Pear has 12.3 grams of carbs
- 1 Cup of Avocados has 12.8 grams of carbs
- 1 Cup of Blackberries has 13.8 grams of carbs
- 1 Cup of Cantaloupe has 14.4 grams of carbs
- 1 Cup of Peach has 14.6 grams of carbs
- 1 Cup of Raspberries has 14.7 grams of carbs
- 1 Cup of Apple has 15 grams of carbs
- 1/2 Cup of Grapes has 7.8 grams of carbs
- 1/2 Cup of Apricot has 8.6 grams of carbs
- 1/2 Cup of Grapefruit has 9.2 grams of carbs
- 1/2 Cup of Plum has 9.4 grams of carbs
- 1/2 Cup of Blueberries has 10.7 grams of carbs
- 1/2 Cup of Pineapple has 10.8 grams of carbs
- 1/4 Cup of Sweet Cherries has 5.5 grams of carbs
- 1/4 Cup of Mango has 6.2 grams of carbs
- 1/4 Cup of Kiwi has 6.6 grams of carbs
- 1/4 Cup of Orange has 6.6 grams of carbs
- 1/4 Cup of Banana has 12.8 grams of carbs
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What are the Carbs in Fruit?
As you know, there are all sorts of carbohydrate classifications: simple vs complex, good vs bad, starch vs fiber vs sugar — and the functions of carbohydrates are all slightly confusing and different. So where do the carbs in fruit fit into this?
Generally speaking, fruit is made of sugar carbohydrates — although some fruit contains a good amount of fiber, hello raspberries and avocados! This means they classify as a “simple carb” as well — which just means they’re made of 1-2 sugar molecules. This is what makes low carb fruits significantly sweeter than low carb vegetables — but it’s also why we need to watch how much we consume.
Most professionals recommend eating the bulk of your daily carbs in complex carbohydrates and naturally occurring sugars. Personally, I love adding fruit to my low carb recipes. In fact, fruit and veggies make up the bulk of my daily carbohydrates.
Do Our Bodies Process Carbs in Fruit Differently Than Carbs in Added Sugars?
This is an extremely controversial subject and there’s a lot of conflicting information out there.
As mentioned above, most fruits are primarily made of sugar molecules. So, do our bodies prefer added sugars or natural sugars (the sugars found in fruit, vegetables or other natural sources)?
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The FDA clearly distinguishes the difference between added sugars and natural sugars. Added sugars typically come in the form of sucrose (aka table sugar) or high fructose corn syrup — both of which contain around 55% fructose + glucose (two different sugar molecules) and water .
That said, most fruits have a similar chemical structure.
But, it’s important to mention that consuming fruit comes with a plethora of healthy benefits: vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and in some cases, a good amount of fiber.
Fiber is the key ticket here, because it’s the carbohydrate all those cakes, cookies and candies are missing. Fiber helps to slow down the absorption of sugar in our bodies — which reduces the impact these sugars have on our pancreas and liver.
Fruit also tends to have less sugar by volume: “Half a cup of strawberries: 3.5 grams of sugar. Half a cup of strawberry ice cream: 15 grams”.
So, yes, sugar is sugar. But knowing the fiber, sugar and carbs in fruit can help you decide what’s best for you!
I like to balance out the carbs in fruit with high protein or high fat foods, such as a low carb greek yogurt, low carb protein powder or low carb nuts.
Keto Fruit – Fruits High in Fiber
As you start browsing the nutritional data of various fruits, you’ll find some are significantly higher in fiber, I place these in the keto fruit category, as keto dieters look at the net carbs in fruit.
The net carbs of a food can easily be calculated by subtracting the fiber from the total carbs.
Which can drastically change your low carb shopping list options — if you calculate this way. For example, 1 cup of avocados has 12.8 carbs and only 2.7 net carbs, while in 1 cup there are 12.6 net carbs in apple.
Should You Only Eat Low Carb Fruits?
According to the same Mayo Clinic article referenced above, a fruit’s effect on our blood sugar is the same, whether you’re eating high or low carb fruits — as long as a serving contains only 15 grams of carbohydrates.
Lowest Carb Fruit – More Bang For Your Buck!
That said, eating some of the lowest carb fruit will allow you to eat a larger portion. The 5 lowest carb fruits are:
- Carambola/Starfruit: 8.8 grams of total carbs
- Clementine (1 fruit): 8.9 grams of total carbs
- Strawberries: 11.6 grams of total carbs
- Watermelon: 11.6 grams of total carbs
- Coconut (meat): 12.1 grams of total carbs
Opposite End of the Spectrum: High Carb Fruits
The top 5 high carb fruits you’ll eat less of to reach the same serving size are:
- Mango: 24.7 grams of total carbs
- Kiwi: 26.3 grams of total carbs
- Orange: 26.3 grams of total carbs
- Banana: 51.4 grams of total carbs
- Passion fruit: 55.1 grams of total carbs
That said, these aren’t necessarily high carb fruits and vegetables to avoid, rather fruits you’ll eat less for the same amount of carbs.
I hope this article more clearly defined the carbs in fruit! You’re probably pretty stoked about the strawberry carbohydrate amount, and not so stoked about the banana carbohydrate amount — If you’re looking for more low carb resources, be sure to check out all of my ultimate guides — from a low carb fruits and vegetables printable list to low carb milks!