Are Pears Low FODMAP?

When I first started my low FODMAP journey, I was happy to learn that many of the fruits I like are FODMAP friendly. I did have to give up apples, though. Their high fructose content just doesn’t work with my fructose malabsorption issues. I didn’t mind much, since apples were never a favorite. But you know what else has loads of fructose? Pears. Oh no, did I have to give those up, too? Oh, yes, I did.

Pears are not low FODMAP. On average, a medium pear contains 6.2 grams of excess fructose, which far exceeds the suggested .15 grams for the low FODMAP diet. In addition, a medium pear averages 4.1 grams of sorbitol. This surpasses the .20 grams of sorbitol suggested by low FODMAP researchers.

In this post, we’ll look at the FODMAP content of different varieties of pears. Even if you’re not sensitive to fructose, sorbitol may mean banishing pears from your diet. We’ll also look at whether canned pears are a safer option and if how they’re packed (in juice versus water, for example) affects fructose content.

Ripe whole pears on wooden cutting board

Are Pears FODMAP Friendly?

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.

Pears are not FODMAP friendly at normal serving sizes. A normal serving for a pear is one small or medium pear (depending on size/weight) or one cup of sliced pear. At these serving sizes, pears far exceed low FODMAP guidelines.

Fructose is a FODMAP of concern with pears, as it is with all fruit. The fructose content of pears varies by type, but all pears exceed fructose levels recommended for low FODMAP followers.

In addition, pears contain sorbitol, which is another FODMAP. Sorbitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol found in some fruits. Sugar alcohols are called polyols (the “P” in FODMAP) and they can cause gas and other intestinal issues.1

In the next few sections we’ll look at the fructose and sorbitol content of pears. Keep in mind that sensitivity to pears can come from one or both sources. If you have trouble processing pears, you’ll need to test whether you’re reacting to fructose or sorbitol or both.

Fructose Content in Pears

Pears are actually one of the highest fructose fruits. This isn’t strictly what makes them high FODMAP, though. For FODMAP purposes, it’s the amount of fructose relative to glucose that really matters. This is referred to as “excess fructose” or “free fructose” by FODMAP researchers.

There are actually two low FODMAP guidelines when it comes to fructose. The first is when fructose is the only FODMAP present in a food. In this case, fructose in excess of glucose should be .40 grams or less per serving.2

The second is when there is more than one FODMAP in a food. Since pears contain both fructose and sorbitol, this is the guideline we use for pears. This guideline states that fructose in excess of glucose should be .15 grams or less per serving.2

For this post I researched the fructose content of four popular pear varieties in the United States. The following sections describe these pears and show the fructose, glucose and excess fructose content of each pear at different sizes.

Fructose Content in Bartlett Pears

Though they do come in red, Bartlett pears sold in grocery stores are usually green. Bartletts have a wide, round body and skinnier neck that tapers toward the stem. Bartlett pears turn yellow, often with green or brown specks, as they ripen. They’re one of the sweetest pear varieties.3

Ripe Bartlett pears with green specks in yellow-green peel.
Bartletts have a curve, called a shoulder, that marks the transition between the pear’s body and neck.

The following table shows the fructose, glucose and excess fructose content for Bartlett pears at different sizes and servings. Remember that since pears contain sorbitol, we’d want excess fructose to be .15 grams per serving or less.

Glucose, Fructose and Excess Fructose Values for Bartlett Pears

Excess Fructose
Small5.3 ounces3.810.36.5
Medium6.0 ounces4.412.07.6
Large8.0 ounces5.715.39.6
1 cup, slicedN/A3.59.56.0
Fructose and related values for raw, unpeeled Bartlett pears.4

As shown in the table, Bartlett pears far exceed low FODMAP guidelines for excess fructose. But, Bartletts are one of the sweetest types of pears. Let’s see how less sweet varieties stack up.

Fructose Content of Bosc Pears

Bosc pears look a lot like an elongated version of Bartlett pears. They, too, have a round body, but not usually as round as that of a Bartlett pear. Bosc pears also have a longer, thinner neck than Bartlett pears.

Bosc pears sold in the grocery store are usually brown. They often have large, dark brown textured patches known as russets. In contrast to soft, sweet Bartlett pears, Bosc pears are firm and have a just a hint of sweetness.5

Does this reduced sweetness reflect lower fructose content? Generally, yes. While the glucose content of Bartlett and Bosc pears are similar, Bosc pears tend to have less fructose. But the reduced fructose level isn’t enough to make these pears FODMAP friendly.

Glucose, Fructose and Excess Fructose Values for Bosc Pears

Excess Fructose
Small5.6 ounces3.99.05.1
Medium6.3 ounces4.410.15.7
Large7.7 ounces5.412.47.0
1 cup, slicedN/A3.58.04.5
Fructose and related values for raw, unpeeled Bosc pears.6 Please note weights are approximate and vary by pear variety.

Based on the data in the table, it’s clear Bosc pears don’t meet low FODMAP guidelines either, though they do have less free fructose than Bartlett pears.

Next let’s look at Anjou pears. These popular pears are named after a region in France and are also called d’Anjou pears.

Fructose Content in Anjou Pears

Unlike Bartlett and Bosc pears, Anjou pears are short and squat. Their shape is often compared to that of an egg, though they do tend to be much broader on bottom than on top.

In stores, Anjou pears are usually available in green and red varieties. Unlike Bartletts, which start green and gradually turn yellow as they ripen, Green Anjou pears stay green through the ripening process.7 Red Anjous also keep the same color and are sometimes simply labeled “red pears” at the grocery store.8

Two Green Anjou pears.
Green Anjou pears don’t change color as they ripen, but the peel can have pink or red patches.

Anjou pears fall in-between Bartletts and Bosc pears, both in terms of texture and ripeness. They aren’t as firm as Bosc, but not as soft as Bartletts. Not as sweet as Bartletts, but sweeter than Bosc pears.

The following table shows the glucose, fructose and excess fructose content for Anjou pears. I’ve averaged the values for Green and Red Anjous here.

Glucose, Fructose and Excess Fructose Values for Anjou Pears

Excess Fructose
1 cup, sliced4.258.84.55
Average fructose and related values in raw, unpeeled Anjou pears.9,10

Excess fructose in Anjou pears is similar to that in Bosc pears and a little lower than that in Bartlett pears. The excess fructose is still much higher than low FODMAP guidelines allow.

At this point we’ve established that pears have very high fructose content. They, along with apples, are two of the highest fructose fruits. I’ve written about the high fructose content of apples before. If you react badly to fructose, it’s best to avoid both of pears and apples.

However, it may not be the fructose causing you problems, since both pears and apples contain sorbitol, too. Let’s look now at the sorbitol content in pears.

Sorbitol Content in Pears

Sorbitol isn’t typically tested in food composition studies. So, it’s difficult to find authoritative, published data on sorbitol content of foods. Since this data isn’t available in public databases, I estimated sorbitol content of pears the following way.

Methodology for Estimating Sorbitol Content in Pears

First, I found scientific reports that specifically listed the sorbitol content in pears.

One report states that pears contain 2.3 grams of sorbitol per 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces). The report states this figure comes from lab testing and is the same as that reported by the US Department of Agriculture.11 A second study, published around the same time, reports that pears have 1.7 grams of sorbitol per 100 grams.12

Second, I used these figures to calculate a range for sorbitol content for different types of pears at different sizes. I calculated the amount of sorbitol per ounce, then multiplied this by the pear sizes suggested in the US Department of Agriculture’s FoodData Central Database.13

Now that we’ve gotten the boring details out of the way, let’s look at the numbers. The following table shows low and high estimates for sorbitol

Estimated Low and High Sorbitol Values for Pears (in grams)

Pear Type
and Size
Bartlett, small5.3 ounces2.63.5
Bartlett, medium6.0 ounces2.93.9
Bartlett, large8.0 ounces3.95.3
Bosc, small5.6 ounces2.73.7
Bosc, medium6.3 ounces3.14.1
Bosc, large7.7 ounces3.75.1
Green Anjou, small6.1 ounces3.04.0
Green Anjou, medium7.1 ounces3.44.7
Green Anjou, large8.5 ounces4.15.6
Red Anjou, small4.4 ounces2.12.9
Red Anjou, medium5.5 ounces2.73.6
Red Anjou, large7.9 ounces3.85.2
Estimated sorbitol range for raw, unpeeled pears.

The bottom line here is, whether you use the low number or the high number, the sorbitol content in pears surpasses suggested low FODMAP standards by a lot.

With these standards, the goal is to keep sorbitol under .20 grams per serving. The above table shows that even small pears of all varieties contain at least ten times this amount of sorbitol.

Now that you know more about FODMAPs in pears than you probably ever wanted to, let’s look briefly at canned pears. You may wonder if the canning process reduces FODMAPs content in pears to an acceptable level. Unfortunately, the answer is no.

Are Canned Pears Low FODMAP?

Canned pears are not low FODMAP. Packing (syrup versus juice, for instance) affects the fructose content in canned pears such that some meet low FODMAP guidelines. Nonetheless, canned pears retain the sorbitol content of raw pears, so can’t be classified as low FODMAP.

The table below shows glucose, fructose and excess fructose for one cup of canned pears packed in different types of fluids. As shown, the packing fluid dramatically impacts fructose content.

Glucose, Fructose and Excess Fructose in Canned Pears

Excess Fructose
Heavy syrup16.215.7-.50
Light syrup12.012.8.80
Fructose and related values for one cup of canned pears.13

Since a second FODMAP (sorbitol) is present in pears, we need to keep excess fructose to less than .15 grams per serving. Pears packed in heavy syrup actually meet this standard, but that’s only due to the addition of sugar or other sweeteners to canned pears. Pears packed in juice or water far exceed low FODMAP standards.

Conclusion: Pears Are Not Low FODMAP

There are many fruits compatible with a low FODMAP diet, but pears aren’t one of them. With high amounts of both fructose and sorbitol, it’s likely many people will have trouble with pears.

Unfortunately, there aren’t really good substitutes for high fructose, high sorbitol fruits like apples and pears. The only real alternative for people sensitive to these FODMAPs is to choose lower fructose fruits without sorbitol, like pineapple and blueberries.

So, your low FODMAP eating plan can still include fresh fruit. You’ll just have to make some comprises to please both your palette and your tummy.


Are you sensitive to pears and apples, like me? Is it the fructose that bothers you or the sorbitol? Or both? For me, it’s definitely the fructose. If you have troubles with fructose or polyol malabsorption, or tips for dealing with them, let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from fellow low FODMAPers.


Posts Related to “Are Pears Low FODMAP?”

As mentioned a few times in the post, pears and apples are among the highest fructose (and thus highest FODMAP) fruits. You can learn more about that in the post I wrote on FODMAPs in apples.

If, like me, you’re sensitive to fructose but not to polyols, apricots may be a good fruit option for you. I researched apricots for this post and found that they contain excess sorbitol, but not excess fructose.

If you’re interested in learning more about the fructose content in fruit, I have two posts that might be helpful. The first post looks at low and moderate fructose fruits. Honestly, most fresh fruits are low and moderate fructose at normal serving sizes.

The second post looks at high fructose fruits, those with more than 5 grams of fructose per serving. Just be aware there are different ways to define high fructose. So, something may be classified high FODMAP but low fructose (and vice versa).


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.

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