Pears are a distant relative of apples, though softer in texture when fully ripe. Pears soften from the sugars created when the natural starch in the fruit breaks down. The many varieties of pears offer only slight differences in flavor. The maturation times for each variety ensure that you can find fresh pears nearly year round. Despite the natural sugar content in pears, they are rich in dietary fiber and many vitamins.
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Serving Size and Calories
A medium pear produces approximately 1 cup of fruit. The standard serving size is a 1/2 cup of sliced fruit, so an average medium pear equals two fruit servings. A single serving of pears contains 50 calories, or 100 calories in a medium pear. Pears are fat-free, making them an ideal choice for low-fat diets.
Each 1/2-cup serving of pears contains 15 g of carbohydrates, for a total of 30 g of carbohydrates in a medium pear. There are 3 g of dietary fiber in each serving of pears, or 6 g in a medium-size whole fruit. The dietary fiber content of the pear reduces the carbohydrate load, causing a more gradual impact on blood sugar levels.
Pears are naturally free of sodium, cholesterol and fat. Fresh pears contribute vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium to your dietary intake. Pears pack a strong benefit to your diet with minimal negative health impacts. The low glycemic load of pears combined with the nutritional benefit make them an ideal choice for a balanced carbohydrate diet.
Pears are ideal for slicing, baking or sauteing. Add them to stuffing for a light, natural sweetness to contrast the salt and natural protein flavors in meat. Pears are suitable for many of the same applications as apples, including as an ingredient in salads, fruit plates and baked pears with low-sugar glazes.