Trying to cut down on your carbohydrate intake? While some fruit is typically thought to be high in sugar, and therefore carbs, it’s also a vital source of vitamins and minerals which are needed by the body for myriad different functions.
If you’re caught up in the conundrum of wanting to eat lower carb foods yet still get all the nutrients you need, keep reading…
First of all, why is fruit considered high carb?
Fruit tends to contain more carbohydrates than vegetables simply because they’re higher in natural sugars.1
Sugar is a form of carbohydrate, along with fibre and starch, and it’s needed to give your body energy. In the UK, it’s recommended that just over a third of your diet should come from carbohydrates. If you’re eating more than this, your body may start to put on weight as you’ll be gaining more energy than it’s able to use.
Similarly, not getting enough carbohydrates can be bad as it’ll also mean you’re not getting enough essential nutrients that are vital for healthy, everyday function.2
Four types of low carb fruit
If you’re trying to lose weight or reach your recommended five portions of fruit and veg a day without upping your carbs, there are a handful of fruits which you should be putting on your shopping list:3
As watermelon has lower sugar levels than a lot of fruit (about 6g per 100g) and a very high water content, it’s considered one of the best types of low carb fruit you can eat.
Why not treat yourself on a hot summer’s day to a slice which has been cooling off in your fridge? Watermelon also works well in a juice or smoothie, although be wary that fruit that has been processed into juice isn’t generally as healthy as eating a whole piece of fruit.4
Carbs per 100g: 7.55g
If berries are your fruit of choice, opt for a bowl of strawberries. They’re one of the lowest carb options in the berry family and that’s all down to the fact they contain a lot of water.5
Juicy strawberries are also rich in vitamin C which is needed to support normal function of the immune system. What’s more, they taste absolutely delicious eaten on their own, mixed into yoghurt or within a smoothie.
Carbs per 100g: 7.7g
Due to their stones, avocados are technically classified as a fruit and are ideal if you’re after something savoury rather than sweet. They have numerous health benefits, including being a good source of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids like omega 3. Avocados are additionally a rich source of many essential nutrients such as vitamin C, E and B.6
Carbs per 100g: 8.53g
If you can’t get enough of melon, you’re in luck as cantaloupe counts as another low carb fruit. It’s also high in various antioxidants, including beta carotene which is used by the body to create vitamin A.7
Cantaloupe melon tastes delicious eaten on its own, however, why not try experimenting by adding cubes of it to your summer salads?
Carbs per 100g: 8.16g
How much low carb fruit should I be eating?
Regardless of the type of fruit or veg you choose to consume as part of your five a day, it’s important that you’re eating the right amounts. Having too much of one thing, even if it is jam packed with loads of wonderful vitamins, could start to have a negative effect and even make you feel ill.8
Fruit portions vary depending on the type and size of fruit you plan to eat. According to UK guidance, healthy portions are:
- 2 or more small fruit such as satsumas, kiwis, plums or apricots.
- Around 7 or 8 berries.
- One whole piece of medium size fruit e.g. a banana, an apple or an orange.
- Half of a large fruit such as a grapefruit or one 5cm thick slice of melon.
Last updated: 6 July 2020