Kiwi. They’re fuzzy and fruity, but are they low fructose? In this post, we’ll look at three different measures of fructose content in kiwi. The post includes data for both green kiwi and yellow, or golden, kiwi, which are just as fruity, but much less fuzzy. And that’s not the only notable difference.
Yellow kiwi is high fructose, based on accepted low fructose guidelines. An average sized yellow kiwi has 4.7 grams of fructose, which exceeds the suggested amount of 3 grams of fructose per serving. Green kiwi is lower in fructose, so is a better choice for those who need to limit fructose intake.
It’s possible to stay within low fructose guidelines when eating kiwi, especially if you favor green kiwifruit. You can still have yellow kiwi, of course, but will need to be more mindful of portion sizes.
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Types of Kiwi
While there are about 60 species of kiwifruit, only two kinds are commonly sold in grocery stores in the United States: Actinidia deliciosa and Actinidia chinensis. The A. deliciosa species is the green-fleshed kiwi with fuzzy brown skin that we most commonly associate with kiwi. The A chinensis species is a yellow-fleshed kiwi with a smooth skin that is often sold under the name Sungold.1
Kiwi was first grown in China and was given the nickname “Chinese gooseberry” when farmers in New Zealand began growing the fruit in the early 1900s.2 Today, much of the world’s kiwi supply still comes from New Zealand, but kiwi is also grown in China and in the United States.3
Green kiwi has a slightly tart taste, while yellow kiwi is sweet with a slightly tropical flavor. Both varieties are high in Vitamin C, which has been shown to boost immunity and lower cholesterol and blood pressure.4 Kiwi is also thought to reduce inflammation and to help regulate blood sugar.5 And, due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties, kiwi is currently being studied as medicinal fruit.6
Perhaps surprisingly, the skin of all types of kiwi is edible. While you may be put off by the fuzziness of green kiwi skin, the skin is loaded with fiber and antioxidants. However, kiwi skin does contain oxalates, so eating it may not be a good idea if you’re prone to kidney stones.7
But fructose, not kidney stones, is our concern here, so let’s turn our attention to that. The next section looks at the fructose content of kiwi, using three different measures. Since yellow kiwifruit tends to be larger than its green counterpart, it tends to have higher fructose values too, regardless of which measure is used.
Fructose in Kiwi
Before we get started, we need to quickly go over the three different methods food scientists use to measure fructose content.
The first method measures the total fructose in a food. If a food contains more than 3 grams of fructose in a standard serving, it’s classified as high fructose.8 For fruit, the generally accepted serving size is one small piece of fruit or half a cup sliced or diced fruit.
The second method measures the percent fructose in a food. If fructose makes up more than 50% of the total sugar in a food, it’s classified as high fructose. Again, we use typical serving sizes when making these measurements.9
The third method measures excess fructose in a food. This is the measure that’s used within FODMAP food science. The FODMAP classification for a food is based on the amount of fructose in excess of the amount of glucose. Generally, if the amount of excess fructose in a serving of food is .40 grams or more, the food is classified as high FODMAP and thus high fructose.10
Now that we know how to determine if a food is high fructose, let’s look at the fructose content of kiwi. The following table shows the amount of fructose in green and yellow kiwi.
Total Fructose in Kiwi
As shown in the table, the results are mixed. Green kiwi sits right at the high fructose cutoff, something I discuss in my post on low fructose fruits. One yellow kiwi well exceeds the low fructose guideline, though. However, if you reduce your serving to half a fruit, then both green and yellow kiwi fall below the 3 gram threshold for total fructose content.
It’s difficult to find guidelines for a low fructose (also called a fructose restricted) diet. The best source I found suggests limiting total fructose intake to 10 to 15 grams a day.11 If you’re monitoring total fructose content, then you should be able to fit kiwi into your diet.
Remember, though, there are two other ways to measure fructose content. The table in the next section lists the total sugar content for both types of kiwi. The final column of the table shows fructose as a percent of the total. If a food is more than 50% fructose at a particular serving size, it’s considered high fructose.
Percent Fructose in Kiwi
The table above shows that both green and yellow kiwi are classified as low fructose when using the percent fructose rule.
Green kiwi does contains small amounts of the sugars galactose and maltose, which is why the total sugar content shown is slightly more than the individual column figures. These sugars don’t significantly alter the percent fructose, though.
The take home point here is that, if you use the percent fructose rule rather than the total fructose rule, one green or yellow kiwifruit is considered low fructose.
Finally, let’s look at the excess fructose in kiwi. This is another way to assess fructose content, but the excess fructose rule isn’t really used outside the FODMAP community. Nonetheless, for those with fructose malabsorption, following the low FODMAP guideline may be the option that works best.
Excess Fructose in Kiwi
Using numbers shown in the “Percent Fructose in Kiwi” table, we see here that one green kiwifruit has .16 grams of excess fructose, while one yellow kiwifruit has .42 grams of excess fructose. This means that, at these serving sizes, green kiwi is classified as low FODMAP and low fructose, while yellow kiwi is classified as high FODMAP and high fructose.
If you’re sensitive to fructose, you may still be able to include kiwi on the menu. You might be able to eat one whole green kiwifruit, but will need to reduce your serving size if you’re eating yellow kiwi.
It really depends on your fructose tolerance. If you can handle higher amounts of fructose fairly well, then using the percent fructose rule may work for you. However, if fructose causes you grief, then using one of the stricter measures is probably a better option.
Conclusion: Green Kiwi is Low Fructose
Based on my research, I can conclude that only green kiwi is truly low fructose. One average size green kiwi meets low fructose guidelines for all three measures: total fructose content, percent fructose content and excess fructose.
On the other hand, a single yellow kiwi exceeds both the total fructose and excess fructose guidelines. It does fall within guidelines for percent fructose content, though. So, if that’s the measure you use when tracking fructose intake, yellow kiwi may suit you just fine.
If you’re just learning about fructose and fructose malabsorption, please keep in mind that both low fructose and low FODMAP diets are meant to treat specific health issues. If fructose doesn’t cause you intestinal distress or other health problems, there’s likely no reason to limit it, even if you may be following the low FODMAP diet for other reasons.
Posts Related to “Is Kiwi High in Fructose?”
I mentioned that kiwi is briefly discussed in this post on the lowest fructose fruits. The post categorizes fruit as low or moderate fructose using the total fructose content rule.
There’s also a companion post on high fructose fruits, which lists fruits with more than 5 grams of fructose per serving.
Kiwi and strawberries is a common fruit salad combo. You can learn more about strawberries in my post on strawberries and FODMAPs.
Kiwi is also often paired with fresh or canned pineapple, both of which are low FODMAP. Pineapple is my favorite fruit, so I discuss it in great detail in this post on FODMAPs in pineapple.
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.
Disclaimer: the author is not a certified medical professional. Opinions expressed and content contained on this website are for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Exercise caution and due diligence when using this site and the information contained herein and understand your experiences may vary.