Contrary to popular belief, all fruits were not created equal. I met a gentleman last month who did not hesitate to tell me he was on a diet, and ate mostly fruits. For some reason, when people find out I write about fitness, they think I’d immediately be impressed to find out they are on a strict diet. In his case, a fruit diet no less. When I asked if he had a theory that led him to this diet choice, he said that everyone knows that fruits are healthier than regular food, and so rather than limit his food intake, he’d rather eat as many fruits as he likes. I can imagine you rolling your eyes. In my effort to keep this PG, I won’t say what I told him about his diet, but I think you can guess what my opinion was. Every food, fruit, and leafy green has calories. Fruits have calories too, so please don’t eat as many fruits as you like in the hope that it would help you lose weight or stay healthy.
To help us figure out the best fruits, I thought I’d list out a few of the most popular fruits, and the caloric, fiber, and sugar content of each. The sugar content is important because too much sugar in the blood can increase your risk of diabetes and lead to a depressed immune system, the caloric content is important for weight control, and the fibrous content is important because a higher amount of fiber is needed for lower cholesterol levels and a good digestive system.
• Berries – This includes everything from blueberries to strawberries. Berries are one of the best fruit choices in terms of a balance of calories, fiber, and sugar content. For example, fifty small blueberries contain only about 39 calories with 6.8 grams of sugar, and 1.6 grams of fiber. Another example of a good berry is the strawberry. Ten strawberries contain about 38 calories with 5.6 grams of sugar, and 2.4 grams of fiber.
• Apricots and Peaches – Peaches are another popular low calorie fruit. One medium sized peach contains about 38 calories, with 8.2 grams of sugar, and 1.5 grams of fiber. Although the sugar level may seem a little higher that the blueberry, it is still relatively low. On the other hand, an apricot contains only about 17 calories, with 3.2 grams of sugar and 0.7 grams of fiber. But do note that an apricot is about half the size of a peach so the stats are actually relatively similar.
• Grapefruits – Okay, so I don’t know too many people who like to sit down and eat a raw grapefruit, but they are good for you. One medium sized grapefruit contains about 41 calories, 8.9 grams of sugar, and 1.4 grams of fiber. And a grapefruit in larger in size than some of the other fruits here, so you are getting more meat for your buck.
• Guava – I hear you say ‘yay!’ If you love guavas, this is pretty much good news. However, consider that guavas are really small fruits so they may not be that filling. One regular guava contains about 37 calories, with 4.9 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of fiber.
• Lemon and lime – If you do like lemon and lime in your glass of water or tea, this would excite you. One large lemon contains only about 24 calories, with 2.1 grams of sugar, and 2.4 grams of fiber. Our best combination so far. Limes are equally rich, but are considerably smaller than a large lemon. One regular lime contains about 20 calories, with 1.1 grams of sugar and 1.9 grams of fiber.
• Pineapple – With the pineapple, it depends on how you slice it. Literally. If you chop a pineapple into ten pieces, it’s pretty low in calories. One-tenth of a whole pineapple contains about 45 calories, with 8.9 grams of sugar, and 1.3 grams of fiber.
• Apple – An apple a day keeps the doctor away? Maybe so. But there are better choices of fruit than an apple. One medium sized apple contains about 95 calories, with 18.9 grams of sugar, and 4.4 grams of fiber. Probably not what you thought.
• Banana – This is basically the easiest fruit to eat, and one of the cheapest to buy so we pick it up and gobble a few per day. But one six-inch banana contains about 90 calories, with12.4 grams of sugar, and 2.6 grams of fiber.
• Watermelon – Another fruit that doesn’t taste like it has a lot of calories, but does. It’s hard to judge the content of a watermelon since it is a fairly large fruit that no one would eat in one sitting, so I’ll use a tenth of a whole watermelon. One-tenth of a whole watermelon contains about 135 calories, with 28 grams of sugar, and 1.8 grams of fiber. A high amount of calories and not so much fiber.
• Mango – Don’t gasp. An average sized mango contains about 135 calories, with 30 grams of sugar, and 3.7 grams of fiber. Sheesh. At least the fiber content is high! So take note as you chuck down those mangos this summer.
• Orange – With the orange, it depends on the variety and the size. But any orange is really a borderline fruit in terms of the calorie and sugar content. We have been taught that an orange is great mostly because it contains a large amount of vitamin C. But a large orange also contains about 86 calories, with 17.2 grams of sugar, and 4.4 grams of fiber.
You may be shocked to see that fruits that we regularly consume in large quantities, like oranges and bananas are not on the list of great fruits. They are not all bad, but it is important to point out that they may not be as great as we think they are. Being informed can help us make even better choices when grocery shopping.
Below is a chart to summarize the information above.
Do you have an opinion about the listed fruits, or are there any other fruits not listed that you’d like to learn about? Please leave a comment. You can also catch me on twitter @eightsnweights.