When fruits ripen, their starch content turns into sugar, according to the "Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition." Naturally occurring sugars like those in apples should account for most of your sugar intake. Apples provide a better source of important nutrients than most foods with added sugars.
Sugar in Apples
One large apple contains 130 calories and 34 g of carbohydrates, including 5 g of dietary fiber and 25 g of sugars. Apples have more carbohydrates and sugar than most other fruits. Other fruits with similar amounts of sugar include watermelons and grapes, with 20 g per serving, and bananas, with 19 g per serving.
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Other Nutrients in Apples
One medium apple provides 5 g of dietary fiber, a nutrient that plays an important role in healthy bowel functions and that can provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories than other carbohydrates. A medium apple also provides 260 mg of potassium, a nutrient that can reduce the impact of salt on blood pressure and reduce your risk of developing kidney stones, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You can also get 8 percent of your recommended daily vitamin C intake from one medium apple.
Lower-sugar fruits include lemons, with 2 g per serving, strawberries, with 8 g per serving, tangerines, with 9 g per serving, and pineapples, with 10 g per serving. These fruits also have lower carbohydrate content, with only 5 to 13 g per serving. Cantaloupe, grapefruit, honeydew melon and nectarines all contain only 11 g of sugar per serving and 12 to 15 g of carbohydrates. Avocados and limes contain no sugar and only 3 g and 7 g of carbohydrates per serving, respectively.
Avoiding Added Sugars
Women should consume no more than 100 calories, or about 6 tsp., of added sugars per day, and men should consume no more than 150 calories, or about 9 tsp., of added sugars per day, according to the American Heart Association. Packaged foods with ingredients such as maltose, sucrose, glucose, cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrates, honey or molasses contain added sugars. Each gram of sugar contains 4 calories. Substitute fruits for added sugars in your diet. Instead of adding sugar, honey or other sweeteners to cereal and oatmeal, for example, top your serving with fresh-cut apples, bananas or peaches.
- Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Carbohydrate Food Chart
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Carbohydrates
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: Why Is It Important to Eat Fruit?
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Nutrition Information for Raw Fruits, Vegetables and Fish
- American Heart Association: Sugars and Carbohydrates