The Good, Better, and Best of Fruit

Posted by Luisa de Luca on

For people trying to eat healthy, fruit becomes a delicious and staple go-to for meals, snacks, and healthy desserts. While fruit is overall a great thing and something we all need in our diet, there is truth to the saying “too much of a good thing is bad.” And while we’re the last people who would ever imply that fruit is bad, knowing the facts about fruit and how it affects our bodies will help you make better decisions about how much and of what fruits you eat.



What fruit is made of

First of all, let’s talk about the nutritional composition of fruit. Most fruits are comprised of a high percentage of water, usually around 75%. Fruit is also high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, which help in weight loss by stabilizing your blood sugar and keeping you full. Aside from that, fruit is chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. A few notable ones are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, potassium, B vitamins, and beta-carotene.

The truth about carbs and sugar

Yes, fruit (and edible plants in general) are high in carbohydrates and contain sugar, but it’s important to unpack what that means. While carbs are the main macronutrient in fruit, the quality of those carbohydrates is far superior to other sources. The high fiber content is part of what makes this a good thing because it slows down the absorption of carbs, keeping your blood sugar from spiking.

And yes, fruit does have fructose as a source of natural sugar. But by eating fruit, for a low amount of calories and sugar you get the benefits of feeding your body with fiber, vitamins, and minerals it needs. To put it in perspective, an orange has about three teaspoons of natural sugar in it and delivers fiber, Vitamin 6, and only has about 55 calories. Compare that with 20 ounces of soda, which has 1/3 cup of sugar in it, no nutritional value, and has 225 calories.

Why it all matters

In defense of fruit, it’s not fair to call it a “high carb, high sugar” food and write it off as unhealthy. However, there is truth in understanding the facts about fruit so you can make better decisions. The glycemic index (GI) is a way of measuring how the carbohydrates in food affect blood sugar levels. Foods that rate high on the GI scale have a greater impact while low GI foods don’t affect blood sugar levels as much.

Eating foods lower on the GI scale helps with weight loss and maintaining general health. Knowing where fruits land on the GI scale can help you more frequently eat low GI fruits to help your weight loss journey and indulge in those higher on the scale only occasionally.


Low (rank 0-55)



These are great fruits to enjoy as a snack or toss more liberally into your morning shake.

• Apples (38)
• Cherries (22)
• Coconut (45)
• Grapes (49)
• Grapefruit (25)
• Kiwi (50)
• Mango (51)
• Orange (42)
• Prunes (29)
• Peaches (45)
• Pears (38)
• Plums (40)
• Strawberries (40)


Medium (rank 56-69)



Still a solid win, but use with a little more moderation.

• Apricots (57)
• Cantaloupe (65)
• Figs (61)
• Papaya (59)
• Pineapple (58)


High (rank 70-100+)

Realize these fruits are simply higher in sugar and carbs and will affect your ability to lose or maintain weight. Enjoy as a treat or use a small amount to add flavor.

• Bananas (70)
• Watermelon (72)
• Dates (103)

The recommended serving of fruit for adults on a 2000-calorie diet is about two cups, yet only about 33% of adults eat this recommended amount. On the flipside, though, eating too much fruit does add calories and sugar that could hinder your weight loss efforts. Aiming for two to four one-cup servings of fruit each day is a safe range. To better visualize what that looks like, check out this article’s helpful images.



Eating healthy really comes down to eating smart. Knowing how fruit affects your body gives you the power to make informed decisions about how much and of what kind of fruit you consume. If you really love starting your day off with a protein shake or smoothie with fruit in it, try lowering the amount of fruit you add and instead toss in a handful of leafy greens like spinach or kale (these recipes are delicious!). You’ll still get the great taste without as much sugar, with the added bonus of getting some veggies, too.

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