Is Applesauce Low FODMAP?

You’ve no doubt seen apples on high FODMAP food lists. And it’s true: apples are high FODMAP, containing both fructose and sorbitol. A common question is whether cooking high FODMAP foods changes their FODMAP content. For example, can you turn high FODMAP apples into low FODMAP applesauce? Unfortunately, the answer is no.

Applesauce is not low FODMAP. A half cup of unsweetened, unflavored applesauce contains 7.1 grams of fructose, while a half cup of sweetened, unflavored applesauce contains 8.9 grams. These exceed the low FODMAP guideline of .15 grams per serving for sorbitol-containing fruits like apples.

In this post, we’ll look at whether cooking apples changes their FODMAP content. We’ll also look specifically at fructose in applesauce and the common ways commercial applesauce is sweetened. If you have non-low FODMAPers in your household, especially little ones, it may be worth looking closer at that ingredient list the next time you buy applesauce.

Are Cooked Apples Low FODMAP?

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I thought this would be a good place to start, since the first step in making applesauce is to cook the apples.

Honestly, I was unable to find specific data on the FODMAP content of cooked apples. However, we can confidently assume that cooked apples are not low FODMAP, for two reasons.

First, raw apples are not low FODMAP. Apples contain very high amounts of both fructose and sorbitol. A medium apple contains an average of 6.3 grams of excess fructose and .93 grams of sorbitol, both of which far exceed published low FODMAP standards.1

Second, at present there’s no evidence that cooking high FODMAP foods significantly changes their FODMAP content. More research is needed on this topic, but so far, it doesn’t seem that cooking can change a high FODMAP food into a low FODMAP food.2

Apple chunks cooking on stovetop in preparation to make applesauce

So, cooked apples, and other products made from raw apples, like apple juice, apple cider and applesauce, are not low FODMAP.

However, the FODMAP content, and particularly the fructose content, of applesauce varies a lot. That’s because commercially produced applesauce is often loaded with added sweeteners.

Below we’ll look more at the fructose content in applesauce. As mentioned, apples also contain high amounts of sorbitol, so it’s safe to assume applesauce does too. However, it’s hard to find reliable data on the sorbitol content of many foods. We’ll keep our focus here on fructose, since the fructose content alone is enough to qualify applesauce as high FODMAP.

Why Applesauce is High FODMAP

Applesauce can be classified as high FODMAP based solely on its fructose content. I’ve written before on the high fructose content in apples, but it’s not total fructose that’s the issue when it comes to the low FODMAP plan. Rather, it’s the glucose-to-fructose ratio.

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.

The low FODMAP guideline for excess fructose is normally .40 grams. That means a food containing more than .40 grams of excess fructose at normal serving sizes is high FODMAP.1

However, when a food contains more than one FODMAP, the excess fructose guideline is reduced to .15 grams per serving. Since apples, and therefore, applesauce, contain both fructose and sorbitol, this is the standard we use when deciding if applesauce is low FODMAP.

Glucose, Fructose and Excess Fructose in Applesauce

TypeServing Glucose
Excess Fructose
1/2 cup2.87.14.3
1/2 cup6.758.92.1
Fructose and related values for commercially canned or jarred applesauce.3,4

As shown in the table above, both sweetened and unsweetened applesauce contain far too much excess fructose to be classified as low FODMAP.

Another thing you may notice here is how much more glucose there is in sweetened applesauce. This is due to added sweeteners. For the samples tested here, the sweetener drastically increased glucose content. But that’s not always the case. It really depends on how applesauce is sweetened.

High and Low FODMAP Applesauce Sweeteners

There are three sweeteners commonly used in applesauce: fruit puree or fruit concentrate, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup.

Fruit puree and fruit concentrate are often used to make flavored applesauce. For example, Mott’s Unsweetened Strawberry Applesauce contains strawberry puree.6

Since all fruit contains fructose, fruit puree or concentrate increases the fructose content of applesauce. For example, pears are high fructose and high FODMAP, so using pear puree will affect the overall FODMAP content more than a lower fructose option.

Stripe of sugar in homemade applesauce. This is a common sweetener of both homemade and commercially produced applesauce.

Sugar typically refers to white, granulated sugar. White sugar is almost entirely sucrose.5 Sucrose contains both fructose and glucose. However, sucrose is not a FODMAP. That’s because the amount of fructose and glucose is equal. Since there’s no excess fructose in sucrose, it isn’t considered a FODMAP.

So, adding sugar to applesauce doesn’t increase the FODMAP content. Applesauce sweetened this way will still be high FODMAP, though, due to the excess fructose in apples themselves.

Some flavored varieties of applesauce are not sweetened with sugar or fruit puree, but with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). For example, Mott’s also has a sweetened version of strawberry applesauce. This sweeter version contains both strawberry puree and high fructose corn syrup.7

Applesauce and High Fructose Corn Syrup

There are two varieties of HFCS. One contains 42% fructose and is used mostly in processed foods. The other contains 55% fructose and is used in soda. The other two ingredients in HFCS are glucose and water.8

There’s debate about whether HFCS is better or worse for you than other forms of sugar.9 Some argue that there are many negative impacts to HFCS consumption. These include increased risk for diabetes, obesity and heart disease.10 On the other hand, when consumed in excess, all forms of sugar can have these effects.

Still, HFCS has gotten a lot of bad press over the last decade or so. This has led some people to avoid HFCS, even if they don’t have problems digesting fructose. That’s easier said than done, though, since HFCS is in many foods, including many popular brands of applesauce.

Bowl of store bought, commercially prepared applesauce

I put together the following table that shows which brands of applesauce contain high fructose corn syrup. A few notes, first, though.

Market Pantry and Great Value are generic store brands. Market Pantry is owned and sold by Target, while Great Value is owned and sold by WalMart. I included these brands since many people buy their groceries at Target and Walmart.

The data shown here is current as of the date on this post. It’s taken from data reported to the US Department of Agriculture by the food manufacturers.

Still, you should always read labels. For example, there are two entries for Market Pantry Cinnamon Applesauce. One lists only sugar as sweetener11, while the other lists high fructose corn syrup12. It’s possible the sugar version has replaced the HFCS version. Or that there are two versions sold at different prices. Read labels to make sure you know what you’re buying.

Finally, pretty much all applesauce contains fruit puree or concentrate. I included that here to help you see which brands are only sweetened this way versus containing puree plus another sweetener.

Applesauce without High Fructose Corn Syrup

ProductFruit Puree or
GoGo Squeez ApplesauceY
GoGo Squeez Apple Fruit on the Go ApplesauceY
GoGo Squeez Banana Fruit on the Go ApplesauceY
GoGo Squeez Cinnamon Fruit on the Go ApplesauceY
GoGo Squeez Peach Fruit on the Go ApplesauceY
Great Value Cinnamon ApplesauceYY
Great Value Original ApplesauceYY
Great Value Strawberry ApplesauceY
Market Pantry Cinnamon Applesauce YY
Market Pantry Homestyle ApplesauceYY
Market Pantry Original ApplesauceY
Market Pantry Strawberry ApplesauceY
Mott’s ApplesauceY
Mott’s Cherry ApplesauceY
Mott’s Cinnamon ApplesauceYY
Mott’s Mango Peach ApplesauceYYY
Mott’s Mixed Berry ApplesauceY
Mott’s Pear ApplesauceYYY
Mott’s Strawberry ApplesauceYY
Mott’s Strawberry Banana ApplesauceYYY
Mott’s Tropical ApplesauceYY
Mott’s Unsweetened Blueberry ApplesauceY
Mott’s Unsweetened Cherry ApplesauceY
Mott’s Unsweetened Mango Peach ApplesauceY
Mott’s Unsweetened Mixed Berry ApplesauceY
Mott’s Unsweetened Strawberry ApplesauceY
Mott’s Unsweetened Strawberry Kiwi ApplesauceY
Musselman’s Chunky ApplesauceYY
Musselman’s Cinnamon ApplesauceY
Musselman’s Honey Cinnamon ApplesauceY
Musselman’s Original ApplesauceY
Musselman’s Strawberry ApplesauceYY
TOPS (Tree Top) ApplesauceYY
TOPS (Tree Top) Chunky ApplesauceY
TOPS (Tree Top) Cinnamon ApplesauceY
TOPS (Tree Top) Granny Smith ApplesauceY
TOPS (Tree Top) Mixed Berry ApplesauceYY
TOPS (Tree Top) Strawberry ApplesauceYY
Wacky Apple Golden ApplesauceY
Wacky Apple Mango ApplesauceY
Wacky Apple Organic Apricot ApplesauceY
Wacky Apple Organic Cinnamon ApplesauceY
Wacky Apple Wild Berry ApplesauceY
Sweeteners in popular U.S. applesauce brands. 13, 14

Final Thoughts on Applesauce and FODMAPs

Whether you buy applesauce at the store or make it at home, it’s definitely not a low FODMAP food. Apples are high FODMAP for both fructose and sorbitol. Cooking apples and turning them into applesauce doesn’t change that.

The sweeteners added to applesauce can significantly increase the FODMAP content, too. White sugar isn’t considered a FODMAP, so will have no effect on the FODMAP content of applesauce. However, fruit puree or concentrate and high fructose corn syrup will likely raise the FODMAP content.

The truth is, if the FODMAPs in apples give you trouble, you’ll likely need to avoid applesauce, too. But some people react to the acidity in apples or to fiber in the peel instead. In those cases, peeling the apples before cooking them and adding sugar to balance the acidity may make applesauce suitable for you.

The low FODMAP lifestyle is really a trial-and-error process. You can test apples and applesauce separately to learn your own tolerance levels. And remember, if you have no trouble with apples, there’s no reason to avoid them, even if you follow other aspects of the low FODMAP plan.


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.


  1. if I get applesauce that’s unsweetened and put stevia on it would that be okay?

    1. Hi Kim,

      Unsweetened applesauce will still have high levels of fructose, because most of the fructose comes from the apples, not from any added sweeteners. There’s not a good low FODMAP substitute for applesauce that I’m aware of, sorry. Thanks for your comment and for stopping by to read the blog. 🙂


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