A product of nature itself, full of important vitamins and nutrients, fruit plays an integral role in the composition of a healthy diet. While fruits are rich in nutrients, many are also dense with carbohydrates and high in sugar. Health conscious people are often surprised that fruit, despite being all natural, can actually hurt a person’s ability to maintain a healthy weight, and, in the case of people with blood sugar imbalances like diabetes, be detrimental to the regulation of desirable glucose levels. There are, however, many low sugar fruits that maintain a high nutritional value.
Apples. In addition to being low in sugar, apples also contain vitamin C and are an excellent source of pectin. This is a soluble fiber that facilitates the elimination of toxins from the body and aids in management of cholesterol levels.
Apricots. An excellent source of vitamin A, apricots also provide vitamin C and calcium.
Berries. Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries are all low sugar fruits. As a bonus, blackberries and blueberries, in particular, have been recognized as abundant sources of antioxidants that help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Compared to other types of fruit, berries are also low in carbohydrates per serving.
Grapefruit. The bright red and pink hues common to this fruit come from lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. As a member of the citrus family, grapefruit is packed with natural vitamin C, another antioxidant which not only helps prevent cancer but boosts the immune system against infection and colds.
Kiwi. This small green fruit not only supplies vitamin C, but the essential mineral potassium as well. Actinidin, a type of digestive enzyme also resides in kiwifruit, helping the body efficiently extract the nutrients from food.
Nectarines. Sweet and delicious, nectarines are low in sugar while offering a generous serving of vitamin C. Nectarines also have beta-carotene, a natural source of vitamin A, which is beneficial to maintaining strong bones and good vision.
Peaches. Similar to nectarines, peaches offer the dual benefit of vitamin C and beta-carotene. Peaches also provide modest amounts of iron and potassium.
Pears. Succulent, with a creamy texture and moderate in sugar content, pears, like apples, contain the soluble fiber pectin. Enjoying a pear also provides a person with potassium, recently found to help reduce hypertension.
Plums. A versatile fruit that is enjoyed fresh, baked in pastries, or dried in the form of prunes, plums deliver both vitamin A and C. Recently, studies have indicated that plums enhance the body's ability to absorb iron, which is good news for people suffering deficiencies in this vital mineral.
When incorporating fruit into the diet, people should be mindful of the fact that the carbohydrates in fruit will also metabolize as sugar. If a fruit is high in carbohydrates, the person who eats it should factor this in when determining the optimal portion size and type of fruit appropriate for his or her dietary goals. Low sugar fruits aren't necessarily low in carbohydrates. Fortunately, the type of carbohydrates in fruit fall under the category of complex carbohydrates, deriving in large part from the natural fiber inherent in the flesh and skin. Even though the fruit carbs metabolize as sugar, they tend to do so at a much slower rate in comparison to the simple carbohydrates found in many processed foods.