As a kid, I absolutely hated apricots. I have no idea why. I tried apricots in adulthood and found I actually like them. But then I went low FODMAP. Would I have to boycott apricots again? Maybe.
Apricots are not low FODMAP. A normal serving of one small, fresh apricot contains .28 to .43 grams of sorbitol, which exceeds the suggested level of .20 grams. A half cup of dried apricots halves contains 3.9 grams of sorbitol, which also exceeds low FODMAP guidelines.
In this post, we’ll look at the FODMAP content of fresh and dried apricots. Like all fruits, apricots contain fructose. Fructose is a FODMAP, but that isn’t the real concern here. Instead, it’s the polyols, or sugar alcohols, in apricots that give many people digestive issues. The good news is, if you’re not sensitive to polyols, apricots are an excellent low FODMAP fruit option.
FODMAP Content of Fresh Apricots
Note: all links in this post open in a new tab, unless otherwise stated. To learn more about how research for this site is conducted, please visit the data and methods page.
Apricots contain two kinds of FODMAPs: fructose and polyols. Excess fructose is often the biggest concern when it comes to fruit on the low FODMAP system.
If a food has more glucose than fructose, we say it has no excess fructose. If a food has more fructose than glucose, we say it has excess fructose. It’s the amount of excess fructose that determines whether a food is low FODMAP.
Fortunately, the glucose content of fresh apricots is much higher than the fructose content, so there’s no excess fructose to worry about here. The table below shows the glucose and fructose content for fresh apricots at different serving sizes.
Glucose and Fructose Content in Fresh Apricots
|Small apricot (about 1.25 ounces)||.83||.33|
|1/2 cup apricot halves||1.8||.73|
|1/2 cup apricot slices||1.9||.77|
If you’re not sensitive to polyols, fresh apricots can be a good low FODMAP fruit choice. They, along with peaches and bananas, are one of the few fruits that don’t have excess fructose. Apricots may also fit nicely within a low fructose diet, too.
It’s important to understand the difference between low fructose and low FODMAP. Low fructose guidelines state that foods should contain less than 3 grams of fructose per serving, among other criteria.2 Low FODMAP guidelines state that excess fructose, the amount of fructose relative to glucose, should be between .15 and .40 grams per serving.3 This is why a food, like bananas, can be low FODMAP but high fructose.
The real FODMAP issue with apricots, both fresh and dried, is the polyol content. Polyols are the “P” in FODMAP. They occur naturally in many fruits and are often called sugar alcohols. Apricots contain two polyols: sorbitol and xylitol.
Polyol Content in Fresh Apricots
We tend to think fructose is what makes fruit sweet. And fructose certainly plays a part. But in many fruits, the sweet taste is due just as much to polyols as to fructose.
Polyols include sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol. These occur naturally in many foods, but are also added to processed foods to increase sweetness. Chewing gum, jams and jellies and ice cream often have polyols. Since these sugar alcohols are not actual sugar, products containing them are often advertised as “sugar free” or “no sugar added.”4
Polyols are believed to cause digestive distress in some people, but since they often occur in foods with other FODMAPs, it’s difficult to isolate the effects of polyols.4,5 Moreover, polyols aren’t typically tested in food composition studies. As such, it’s hard to get data on the polyol content of many foods.
I did find one source that listed the total polyol (sorbitol and xylitol) content of fresh apricots.6 However, I found more reliable data for just sorbitol content. And, honestly, the sorbitol content alone is enough to classify apricots as high FODMAP.
Methodology for Estimating Sorbitol Content of Fresh Apricots
First, I looked for scientific reports that specifically discussed sorbitol content in fresh apricots.
The best report on the subject I found states that the sorbitol content of fresh apricots ranges from .8 grams to 1.2 grams per 100 grams of fruit, which is about 3.5 ounces. The report states that the figure of .8 grams is supplied by the US Department of Agriculture, while the 1.2 grams figure was the result of independent lab testing.7
Second, I used these figures to calculate a range for sorbitol content of fresh apricots at different serving sizes. I determined the amount of sorbitol per ounce, then multiplied this by typical serving sizes, using data from the US Department of Agriculture’s FoodData Central Database.8
Estimated Low and High Sorbitol Values for Fresh Apricots
|Small apricot||1.25 ounces||.28||.43|
|1/2 cup, halves||2.75 ounces||.63||.94|
|1/2 cup, slices||2.9 ounces||.66||1.0|
Low FODMAP guidelines recommend keeping sorbitol content to .20 grams or less per serving.3 As shown in the table here, even small servings of apricots exceed this standard.
If you’re sensitive to sorbitol, you may be able to get away with a few slices of apricot in a salad. But eating apricots in larger amounts is probably off-limits. And remember, the table only shows data for sorbitol. Apricots also have xylitol, which ups the overall FODMAP content.
So, we’ve established that fresh apricots are not low FODMAP at normal serving sizes. But what about dried apricots? Do those fit the low FODMAP plan?
Are Dried Apricots Low FODMAP?
Dried apricots are not low FODMAP. A half cup of dried apricot halves has 3.9 grams of sorbitol. This far exceeds the published low FOMDAP guideline of .20 grams of sorbitol per serving.
Yes, you read that right: 3.9 grams of sorbitol. This figure is derived from the same study mentioned above. That study lists the sorbitol content of dried apricots at 6.0 grams per 100 grams of fruit.7
This was the only published estimate for dried apricot sorbitol content I could find. When converted to ounces, the standard measure in the United States, the total came to nearly 4.0 grams in one half cup of dried apricot halves.
Granted, I don’t know many people who would eat half a cup of dried apricots in one sitting. But even one fourth of a cup, a more normal portion size, contains 10 times the recommended amount sorbitol for those following a low FODMAP plan.
Clearly, then, dried apricots are not low FODMAP. But why is the difference in sorbitol content between fresh and dried apricots so large? I mean, half a cup of dried apricots contains four times the sorbitol of half a cup of fresh ones.
Keep in mind that FODMAPs dissolve in water. When fruit is dried, the water is removed, leaving the FODMAPs behind. So, drying fruit decreases the total volume, while increasing the proportion of FODMAPs relative to volume.
That sounds complicated, but just know that when water is removed, the sugar alcohols stay behind. That’s why the dried version of a fruit often tastes sweeter than its fresh counterpart.
Is Apricot Jam Low FODMAP?
Okay, so fresh apricots and dried apricots are high FODMAP, but what about apricot jam?
Sorry, but that’s probably off-limits, too. Thus far, there’s little evidence that cooking significantly reduces the FODMAP content in foods.9 So, apricot jam will contain the same sorbitol and xylitol found in the fresh apricots from which it’s made.
Also know that, while homemade jam is usually sweetened with plain white sugar, commercially produced jams and jellies are often sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
We typically don’t worry about excess fructose in apricot products, since raw apricots contain more glucose than fructose. But the addition of HFCS to apricot jam alters the glucose-to-fructose ratio. Even if you aren’t sensitive to the naturally occurring polyols in apricots, excess fructose means apricot jam could cause you tummy troubles.
Are There Other FODMAPs in Apricots?
In addition to fructose and polyols, apricots appear to contain small amounts of fructooligosaccharides, commonly called fructans. I use the word “appear” because it doesn’t seem the fructan content of apricots has been examined much.
I found one study on fructan content that included fresh apricots. That study found fresh apricots contain an average of .08 grams of fructans per 100 grams of fruit.10 That’s far below the fructan level recommended by low FODMAP researchers.3
Like polyols, fructans get left behind in the drying process. But I was unable to locate published research showing dried apricots contain fructan levels that exceed low FODMAP guidelines.
This topic needs more research, but at present, it doesn’t seem normal serving sizes of fresh or dried apricots contain enough fructans to cause digestive difficulties.
Final Thoughts on Apricots and the Low FODMAP System
In the introduction I mentioned that I came to like apricots as an adult, after a childhood spent basically hating them. So, did I give up apricots again when I went low FODMAP? No, I didn’t.
I know you’re wondering how that can be. It turns out that I’m not sensitive to polyols.
Which raises a point I mention a lot: the low FODMAP diet isn’t mean to be overly restrictive. If, like me, you don’t react negatively to polyols, then you don’t need to avoid a food just because it’s on some high polyol no-no list.
But, like I also mention a lot, you have to test things for yourself. In addition to fructose, pears and apples also contain a lot of sorbitol. If I’d just assumed that I’m sensitive to both FODMAPs, I’d be missing out on some good, healthy foods, like apricots, that bring more variety to my meals.
About the Author
Amanda Coleman, PhD, studies food culture and teaches a popular Food and Society course. Years of digestive problems led her to live low FODMAP. Now she uses her research and analysis skills to help others understand FODMAP essentials, so they can lead better, healthier lives.