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Health

What Are the Most Unhealthy Fruits? Sugar, Calories, and More – Healthline

Rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, fresh fruit can be an excellent addition to a well-rounded diet (1).

However, certain types of fruit contain more sugar and calories than others. Furthermore, some fruits can cause side effects for people with health conditions like diabetes and acid reflux. These fruits can still be enjoyed, but in smaller serving sizes.

This article takes a closer look at the fruits highest in sugar and calories, plus the ones you may need to limit if you have diabetes or acid reflux.

Some types of fruit, both fresh and dried, are high in natural sugar. If you’re aiming to reduce your intake of carbs or sugar, stick to small amounts when enjoying these.

1. Dates

Dates are known for their sweet, almost caramel-like flavor. Their dried versions are often enjoyed as-is for a handy snack or used as a natural sweetener in recipes.

Although they’re rich in antioxidants and micronutrients like potassium, copper, and magnesium, they’re also high in sugar and carbs (2, 3).

One cup (160 grams) of dried dates contains (3):

  • Calories: 451
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Sugar: 101 grams
  • Fat: 0.6 grams
  • Carbs: 120 grams
  • Fiber: 13 grams

2. Dried fruit

Some of the most common varieties of dried fruit include apples, raisins, apricots, figs, mangoes, pineapples, and cranberries.

Compared with their fresh counterparts, they generally contain more calories, carbs, and sugar per serving. Most varieties are also rich in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C (4).

Because of the high sugar content, it’s best to enjoy dried fruits in moderation, especially if you’re looking to decrease your sugar intake.

A 1-cup (160-gram) serving of a dried fruit mixture contains (4):

  • Calories: 477
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Sugar: 106 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 126 grams
  • Fiber: 8 grams

3. Lychees

Native to southeastern China, this tropical fruit is known for its unique taste and appearance.

It contains many key micronutrients, including vitamin C, copper, and potassium. It’s also relatively high in sugar, which may be an issue if you’re on a low carb or low sugar diet. (5).

One cup (190 grams) of raw lychees contains (5):

  • Calories: 125
  • Protein: 1.5 grams
  • Sugar: 29 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 31.5 grams
  • Fiber: 2.5 grams

4. Mangoes

This delicious stone fruit is popular for its sweet flavor and soft, creamy texture.

Mangoes are also brimming with a variety of nutrients, including vitamin C, folate, and copper. On the other hand, they contain a high amount of natural sugar in each serving (6).

One cup (165 grams) of mangoes contains (6):

  • Calories: 99
  • Protein: 1.5 grams
  • Sugar: 22.5 grams
  • Fat: 0.5 grams
  • Carbs: 25 grams
  • Fiber: 2.5 grams

Many types of fruit are high in calories. While they can be enjoyed as part of a nutrient-dense, well-rounded diet, you may want to keep an eye on your portion sizes if you’re trying to cut your calorie intake or lose weight.

5. Avocados

Avocados are high in calories, thanks to their content of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. They’re also a good source of important vitamins and minerals like potassium, vitamin C, and B vitamins (7).

Plus, they’re loaded with fiber, an essential nutrient that can support regularity and digestive health (8).

One cup (150 grams) of avocado contains (7):

  • Calories: 240
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Sugar: 1 gram
  • Fat: 22 grams
  • Carbs: 13 grams
  • Fiber: 10 grams

6. Dried coconut

Shredded coconut is a common ingredient in baked goods, smoothie bowls, and breakfast dishes.

Although it’s rich in nutrients like manganese, copper, and selenium, it’s also high in fat and calories (9).

In particular, coconuts are high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of fat that is readily absorbed by your body. MCTs have been associated with several health benefits, including improved body composition and heart health (10).

One cup (93 grams) of dried unsweetened coconut contains (11):

  • Calories: 560
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Sugar: 6.4 grams
  • Fat: 56 grams
  • Carbs: 20 grams
  • Fiber: 14 grams

7. Prunes

Prunes are a type of dried fruit made from plums.

Because of their fiber content and laxative effects, they’re sometimes used as a natural remedy for constipation. However, like other types of dried fruit, they’re also relatively high in calories, carbs, and sugar. (12).

One cup (174 grams) of pitted prunes contains (13):

  • Calories: 418
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Sugar: 66 grams
  • Fat: 0.7 grams
  • Carbs: 111 grams
  • Fiber: 12.5 grams

If you have diabetes, it’s important to eat plenty of nutrient-dense foods rich in fiber to support healthy blood sugar levels (14).

Meanwhile, foods that are low in fiber and high in added sugar should be limited, including certain forms of fruit (14).

8. Candied fruit

Candied fruit is a type of fruit made by soaking and heating fruit in sugar syrup, resulting in a product with a sweet flavor and long shelf-life.

Not only is candied fruit high in calories and low in fiber, but it also packs a lot of sugar and carbohydrates into each serving. This may not be ideal for those with diabetes.

3.5 ounces (100 grams) of candied fruit contains (15):

  • Calories: 322
  • Protein: 0.3 grams
  • Sugar: 81 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 83 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams

9. Fruit juice

Fruit juice offers a concentrated amount of carbs and sugar without any of the fiber found in fresh fruit. Many types also contain added sugar, which can negate many of the potential health benefits that the fresh versions otherwise provide.

In a review of four studies, increased intake of sugar-sweetened fruit juice was linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes (16).

Another study in 8,492 women found that drinking fruit juice was tied to increased levels of hemoglobin A1C, a marker that is used to measure long-term blood sugar control (17).

An 8-ounce (240-mL) serving of orange juice contains (18):

  • Calories: 50 grams
  • Protein: 0.5 grams
  • Sugar: 10 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 13 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams

10. Fruit canned in heavy syrup

While canned fruit can be a quick and convenient way to squeeze a few servings of fruit into your diet, it may not be the best choice for those with diabetes.

This is because it’s generally higher in carbs and sugar and lower in fiber, compared with other types of fruit (19).

In particular, fruit canned in heavy syrup or juice is typically much higher in sugar than fruit canned in water. Thus, the water-canned version may be a better option when aiming to keep your blood sugar levels in check.

A 1-cup (214-gram) serving of fruit cocktail canned in heavy syrup contains (19):

  • Calories: 150
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Sugar: 36.5 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Carbs: 40 grams
  • Fiber: 3.5 grams

Certain fruits may worsen symptoms for those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux (20).

Although these fruits are highly nutritious and can fit into a balanced diet, you may want to limit your intake if you find that they trigger symptoms of acid reflux.

11. Oranges

Citrus fruits like oranges are loaded with essential nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, and potassium (21).

Unfortunately, they’re also highly acidic and may worsen heartburn for people with GERD.

One navel orange contains (21):

  • Calories: 73
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Sugar: 12 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Carbs: 16.5 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams

12. Tomatoes

Although they’re often used as a vegetable in many recipes, tomatoes are technically classified as fruit.

This nutritious ingredient is rich in vitamin C, fiber, and lycopene — a carotenoid that has been well studied for its antioxidant effects (22, 23).

However, like citrus fruits, the acidity of tomatoes and tomato-based products may trigger symptoms in people with GERD (24).

One cup (180 grams) of chopped tomatoes contains (22):

  • Calories: 32
  • Protein: 1.5 grams
  • Sugar: 5 grams
  • Fat: 0.5 grams
  • Carbs: 7 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams

13. Grapefruit

Grapefruit is a type of citrus fruit known for its tasty, tart, and slightly bitter flavor.

It’s low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamins A and C, potassium, and thiamine (25).

Unfortunately, grapefruit and grapefruit juice are also common symptom triggers for people with GERD (26).

A 1-cup (230-gram) serving of grapefruit contains (25):

  • Calories: 69
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Carbs: 17 grams
  • Fiber: 2.5 grams

Although fruit is highly nutritious and associated with many health benefits, some types — especially dried, juiced, and canned versions — may be high in sugar and calories.

Not only that, but certain kinds of fruit can increase blood sugar levels in people with diabetes or trigger symptoms in people with GERD.

Still, keep in mind that most fresh, minimally processed varieties of fruit can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a nutrient-dense, well-rounded diet.

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