A major goal of mine is to get a better handle on my fructose malabsorption issues. I’m also lactose intolerant and have trouble with fructans sometimes, but fructose malabsorption is my worst digestive problem.
Lately I’ve been learning a lot about fructose malabsorption and about foods I can and can’t eat because of it. I’ve been writing posts about the fructose content of different foods, especially fruits. Then I realized it would be helpful to have an overview post on this topic. So I created a list of low fructose fruits.
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.
What Is Low Fructose?
There are several ways to define low fructose, but a common definition is containing less than 3 grams of fructose per serving.1 According to the American Heart Association, normal serving sizes for fruits are one medium piece of fruit, a half cup of fresh or canned fruit or a fourth cup of dried fruit.2 These are the serving sizes I use in my research.
Pay attention to serving size. Any food can be made low fructose or low FODMAP if you reduce the portion size enough. Some sources report foods as low FODMAP at a unrealistically small serving sizes. Like five grams of pear or two brussels sprouts. In my research, I emphasize normal serving sizes and those are what’s reported in this post.
Low Fructose versus Low FODMAP
Before we start, I want to distinguish between low fructose and low FODMAP. A food can meet low fructose guidelines, but not low FODMAP guidelines (and vice versa). This is because low fructose guidelines only consider fructose content, while low FODMAP guidelines look at fructose-to-glucose ratio.
As mentioned, a food is generally considered low fructose if it has 3 grams of fructose per serving or less. In contrast, a food is low FODMAP if its excess fructose content, that is fructose in excess of glucose, is between .15 and .40 grams.3 This is why some foods, like bananas, can be high fructose but low FODMAP.
Some people eat low fructose because, like me, they have malabsorption issues. Others eat low fructose for different health reasons. I wanted to write just about fructose content for people who need that specific information.
Okay, let’s get down to business. As you’ll see, I’ve included two tables here. The first is for true low fructose fruits, those with 3 grams of fructose or less per serving. The second is for moderate fructose fruits, those with 3 to 5 grams of fructose per serving. Everyone’s tolerance is different, so you’ll need to experiment to find your own fructose comfort zone.
Also, these lists only include fruits people actually eat. For example, one of the lowest fructose fruits is raw cranberries (.33 grams of fructose for half a cup). But most of us aren’t eating raw cranberries. We also don’t eat whole limes or lemons, so I didn’t put them on the list here. However, I do have a full post on FODMAPs in lemon, if you’re interested.
Low Fructose Fruits (3 Grams Fructose or Less)
|Fruit||Serving Size||Fructose (grams)|
|Avocado||1/2 cup, mashed or pureed||.19|
|Apricots||2 pieces (about 2.5 ounces)||.66|
|Cantaloupe||1/2 cup, cubes||1.49|
|Pineapple (fresh)||1/2 cup, chunks||1.75|
|Nectarine||1 medium (about 5 ounces)||1.94|
|Strawberries||1/2 cup, sliced||2.02|
|Plums||1 medium (about 2.5 ounces)||2.03|
|Tangerine||1 medium (about 3 ounces)||2.11|
|Grapefruit||1/2 medium fruit||2.18|
|Peaches||1 medium (about 5.3 ounces)||2.30|
|Clementines||2 fruits (about 5.2 ounces)||2.42|
|Honeydew||1/2 cup, cubes||2.51|
|Watermelon||1/2 cup, diced||2.55|
|Apple (Granny Smith)||1/2 cup, slices||2.72|
|Kiwi||1 fruit (about 2.5 ounces)||3.0|
Avocados (.19 grams)
While often considered a vegetable, avocados are actually a fruit.4 There are two types of avocados grown in the United States: California avocados and Florida avocados.
California avocados are also known as Haas avocados, the kind most commonly sold in grocery stores. Florida avocados tend to be larger than Haas avocados. There are slight nutritional differences between the two varieties. Though larger, Florida avocados are generally lower in calories and fat than California avocados.5
There’s also a slight difference in fructose content. A half cup of mashed California (Haas) avocado has .10 grams of fructose, while a half cup mashed Florida avocado has .28 grams of fructose. I averaged these to get the number reported in the table above, .19 grams.
Both types of avocado are good low fructose options, so it really comes down to personal preference. California avocados are creamier and good for guacamole, while Florida avocados are a bit sturdier, so are good when sliced for salads or sandwiches.
Apricots (.66 grams)
Fresh apricots are fairly small, so a normal serving is 2 fruits, which typically have less than 1 gram of fructose. This makes them a good low fructose fruit option. They can also be a good low FODMAP option for some people.
I looked at apricots in more detail in this post, including the fact that they exceed low FODMAP guidelines for polyols. This is another example of a food that is low fructose but not low FODMAP. However, if you’re not sensitive to polyols, particularly sorbitol, then consider giving apricots a try.
Raspberries (1.45 grams)
When it comes to low fructose fruits, berries are generally a good choice. Raspberries, blackberries and strawberries all make the low fructose list, and blueberries fall just inside the range for moderate fructose.
A half cup of fresh raspberries has about 1.5 grams of fructose. This makes raspberries a good low fructose option. In addition, raspberries have numerous health benefits. They’ve been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.6 Moreover, raspberries have high levels polyphenols, which contain flavonoids and antioxidants and support immune system health.7,8
Cantaloupe (1.49 grams)
Cantaloupe is the only popular melon that, at present, is considered both low FODMAP and low fructose. Fresh cantaloupe has about 1.5 grams of fructose per serving.
As shown in the earlier table, honeydew and watermelon are also low fructose at normal serving sizes of half a cup. But, watermelon has high levels of polyols and honeydew contains excess fructose, so both melons are classified high FODMAP.
Thus far, there’s scant research on the possible polyol content of cantaloupe, so currently, the only identified FODMAP in this type of melon is fructose. You can learn more about this in my post summarizing FODMAPs in different melons.
Blackberries (1.73 grams)
Blackberries have many of the same health benefits as raspberries.7 They are one of the lowest fructose fruits and may also be low FODMAP.
The FODMAP status of blackberries is actually a bit controversial. Many sources report that blackberries are high FODMAP, due to high sorbitol levels.9,10 However, there’s been scientific research that shows the sorbitol levels in blackberries have been miscalculated.11
I’ll examine that debate in more detail some other time. For now, just know that if you’re looking only for fruits low in fructose, blackberries are a good choice.
Pineapple (1.75 grams)
I absolutely love pineapple. I love fresh pineapple and eat it whenever I have a chance. But, due to cost and availability, I usually eat canned pineapple instead of fresh.
If you’re watching your fructose intake, you need to be careful with canned pineapple. The packing liquid makes a big difference.
Pineapple canned in water is low fructose, but pineapple canned in juice or syrup is not low fructose, though it may still be low FODMAP. For details, check out this post I wrote on FODMAPs and pineapple.
Nectarines (1.94 grams)
Due to their smooth, fuzzless skin and prominent pit, many people think nectarines are created by breeding peaches with plums. However, nectarines are actually peaches. There’s very little botanical difference between the two fruits. The lack of fuzz on nectarines is caused by a recessive gene, not by any type of special breeding.12
Peaches tend to grow a bit larger than nectarines, but the two fruits have similar nutritional profiles. A medium nectarine is about 5 ounces in weight and has just under 2 grams of fructose. As discussed below, a medium peach is a bit larger and has just over 2 grams of fructose.
Peaches do contain sorbitol, though I’ve been unable to find any data on possible sorbitol content in nectarines specifically. Still, it’s something to keep in mind. But if fructose is your only concern, both peaches and nectarines are considered low fructose fruits at normal serving sizes.
Strawberries (2.02 grams)
Fresh strawberries are both low fructose and low FODMAP at a normal serving of one half cup. A half cup strawberries contains 2.02 grams of fructose, easily falling within low fructose guidelines. However, strawberries just barely make the cutoff for low FODMAP guidelines. To learn more, you can read my post on whether strawberries are low FODMAP.
Plums (2.03 grams)
Like peaches and apricots, plums are a stone fruit, containing a pit in the center. The formal name for such fruits is drupe. Cherries and and mangoes are also drupes, as are olives, almonds and cashews. (Yes, though we consider them nuts, almonds and cashews are botanically classified as fruits).13
Plums contain polyphenols and are thought to have health benefits similar to those of berries. There are many varieties of plums grown around the world, but all tested thus far show beneficial antioxidant and other properties.14,15
A medium plum weighs about 2.5 ounces and has about 2 grams of fructose. Pair it with a low lactose cheese and you have nice, low fructose snack.
Tangerines (2.11 grams)
Tangerines and clementines look a lot alike. Many people think they’re the same thing. So you may be wondering why both appear on the low fructose fruits list.
It turns out that tangerines and clementines are both variations of the mandarin orange. In the US, tangerines are often referred to as mandarins. In fact, the US Department of Agriculture’s own database classifies mandarins as tangerines.16,17
Tangerines are bigger than clementines, which is why one medium tangerine is considered a serving, versus two clementines. Nutritionally, the two fruits are nearly identical. You can learn more about both in my post on fructose in oranges and orange juice.
A medium tangerine weighs about 3 ounces a contains just over 2 grams of fructose. In contrast, two clementines weight about 5 ounces and contain just under 2.5 grams of fructose. Both are good, low fructose choices. We’ll learn more about clementines shortly.
Grapefruit (2.18 grams)
Like apricots, I hated grapefruit when I was a child. Unlike apricots, I haven’t developed a fondness for grapefruit as an adult.
Half a medium grapefruit has just over 2 grams of fructose. But, who can actually eat half a grapefruit??
Honestly, I never understood people who like grapefruit. I assumed it tasted horribly bitter to everyone. Apparently not.
The flavor of grapefruit is influenced by a flavonoid called naringin, which has all sorts of beneficial health effects.18 But, naringin also has a bitter taste to many people.
Whether naringin tastes bitter to you, and exactly how bitter, depends on genetics. Shockingly (at least to me) there are some people who can’t perceive the bitterness at all and actually think grapefruit is sweet.19
To reduce bitterness, many people put sugar on grapefruit. There’s debate about whether this is the right thing to do. Some argue grapefruit should be salted instead. Apparently the ions in salt neutralize the naringin in grapefruit, which enhances the fruit’s natural sweetness.20
Now, if you’re watching your sweets intake, putting sugar on fruit probably isn’t the kind of advice you’re looking for. So, if you want to incorporate grapefruit into your diet but dislike the bitterness, try salting it instead.
Or perhaps just pick one of the 16 other low fructose fruits. That may be your best option here.
Note: while grapefruit may be low fructose, there’s debate about whether it’s low FODMAP. Personally, I think it is. You can read why in my “is grapefruit low FODMAP?” post.
Peaches (2.3 grams)
Peaches are one of the few fruits that contain more glucose than fructose, so it’s not surprising to see them on a list of low fructose fruits. A medium peach has 2.3 grams of fructose.
That said, peaches do contain sorbitol, which prevents them from being classified low FODMAP. You can learn more about that in my post on peaches. But, if fructose is your only concern, you can fit fresh peaches into a low fructose diet.
Clementines (2.42 grams)
As mentioned earlier, clementines are a smaller fruit, so one serving is two clementines. These have just under 2.5 grams of fructose.
In the US, clementines are sometimes called mandarins or mandarin oranges, which is technically correct. Clementines are a type of mandarin orange. They’re commonly sold under the brand names “Cuties,” “Sweeties” or “Halos.”21
Honeydew (2.51 grams)
When it’s in season, fresh honeydew melon is one of my favorite fruits. A half cup of cubed honeydew contains about 2.5 grams of fructose, so standard servings of honeydew are low fructose.
However, as I wrote in this post on FODMAPs in honeydew, this melon has more fructose than glucose, so is high FODMAP at normal serving sizes. It also contains small amounts of fructans and polyols, which can cause digestive issues in some people.
So, while honeydew is classified as low fructose based solely on the fructose content, you may want to exercise caution here.
Watermelon (2.55 grams)
Watermelon is a great example of how serving size matters. It’s also a good example of how the way we calculate fructose content matters.
In this post, we’re using the 3 grams or less rule: if a fruit has 3 grams of fructose or less per serving, it’s low fructose. By that rule, a half cup diced watermelon is low fructose.
However, I concluded in another post that watermelon is actually high fructose. That’s because I also looked at the percent of fructose in watermelon.
Typically, a fruit is considered low fructose if fructose makes up less than 50% of the total sugar in the fruit. Fructose makes up nearly 55% of the sugar in watermelon. By this standard, then, watermelon is high fructose.
So, the way we calculate fructose content matters. And it’s very easy to exceed the standard half cup serving size for watermelon. For example, a single watermelon wedge contains over 9 grams of fructose.
The bottom line here is, even though watermelon appears on the low fructose fruits list, you need to be very mindful of portion size if trying to incorporate it into a low fructose diet.
Granny Smith Apple (2.72 grams)
Apples are another case where portion size and calculation method matter. I’ve written quite a lot about apples already and have concluded that, in general, apples are high fructose. That’s because fructose makes up as much as 60% of the sugar in some apple varieties.
The exception here is the Granny Smith apple. Even with it’s notable tartness, fructose still makes up 52% of the sugar in this type of apple. But, Granny Smiths have less fructose overall than most other apples, so do meet the low fructose guidelines used in this post.
That said, I don’t know many people who eat Granny Smith apples raw. They’re most often used in sugary baked goods, like apple pie. But, if you can stomach the tartness, a half cup of Granny Smith apples slices contains about 2.7 grams of fructose.
Kiwi (3.0 grams)
Rounding out our list of low fructose fruits is the fuzzy, colorful kiwi. One kiwi, weighing about 2.5 ounces, has exactly 3.0 grams of fructose.
This data refers to green kiwis, also known as Haywards. These are the most commonly cultivated variety, though many stores also sell hairless, yellow kiwi.
If you’re adding kiwi to your diet, be mindful of portion size. Kiwi barely meets the criteria for low fructose, so a larger portion will exceed the 3 grams per serving threshold. If you want to know more, especially about yellow (or golden) kiwi, you can check out this post I wrote on the fructose content of kiwi.
Moderate Fructose Fruits
There are some fruits that fall just outside the 3 grams of fructose per serving guideline. Then there are others that fall way outside the guideline. To help you distinguish between them, I decided to include a list of moderate fructose fruits.
For this list, I defined foods that have between 3 and 5 grams of fructose per serving as moderate fructose. I’ve classified anything with more than 5 grams of fructose per serving as high fructose.
I included this moderate fructose fruits list so you can make informed choices. For example, I love blueberries, but they’re moderate fructose at half a cup. Knowing this, I eat just a handful, often paired with a lower fructose fruit. You can make adjustments like this if you want to fit a moderate fructose fruit into your diet.
Fruits with 3 to 5 Grams Fructose Per Serving
|Fruit||Serving Size||Fructose (grams)|
|Orange (navel)||1 fruit (about 5 ounces)||3.15|
|Apples||1/2 cup, slices||3.32|
|Banana||1/2 cup, sliced||3.64|
|Mango||1/2 cup, pieces||3.86|
|Pears||1/2 cup, sliced||4.36|
Oranges (3.15 grams)
It’s not surprising to see oranges at the top of the moderate fructose fruits list, since both clementines and tangerines appear on the low fructose fruits list. A small, 5 ounce orange just barely misses the low fructose cutoff value of 3.0, clocking in at 3.15 grams of fructose.
Apples (3.32 grams)
The figure listed above is the average fructose content for four popular apple varieties: Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Fuji and Gala. You can find more information on each type of apple in this post on the FODMAP content of apples.
Prunes (3.54 grams)
Dried fruit like prunes is generally high fructose. When water is removed from fruit during dehydration, the sugars in the fruit become more concentrated. For this reason, it’s best to avoid dried fruit if you’re eating low fructose.
However, as shown here, small servings of certain dried fruit can be moderate fructose. Here, 3 prunes counts as one serving, containing about 3.5 grams of fructose.
Bananas (3.64 grams)
I’ve studied the fructose content of banana before and concluded that bananas are high fructose. And that’s true. Even an extra small banana, less than six inches long, contains about 4 grams of fructose.
So, this is another situation in which serving size matters. A half cup of sliced banana contains about 3.6 grams of fructose. That places bananas in the moderate fructose category, at this serving size. Larger serving sizes easily land in the high fructose category.
And, remember, we’re only looking at total fructose content here. Though one of the sweetest fruits, fructose only makes up about 40% of the sugar in bananas. By that standard, bananas would be considered low fructose.
So, whether bananas will fit into a low fructose way of life depends on how you choose to determine fructose content and how much you choose to eat.
Blueberries (3.68 grams)
Blueberries are the only popular berry that aren’t low fructose. Granted, they just miss the cutoff, with a half cup of raw blueberries having 3.68 grams of fructose. You can learn more in this post I wrote about fructose in blueberries.
Mango (3.86 grams)
Data in the table above is for fresh mango, but the figures are likely accurate for frozen mango, too, provided it hasn’t been sweetened.
Mango also brings up another consideration, which is the size of fruit. A half cup mango pieces really isn’t that much food, while a half cup of blueberries is a lot of berries.
Just keep this in mind when choosing fruits. It’s okay to reduce the serving size of a food if you think it’s too much. Personally, I could never eat a half cup of blueberries in one sitting, so am satisfied with adding just a handful to my breakfast plate.
Pears (4.36 grams)
The number shown in the table is an average. To get this figure, I averaged the fructose content of four popular pear varieties: Green d’Anjou, Red d’Anjou, Bartlett and Bosc. You can get a further breakdown of each type of pear in this post I wrote on whether pears are low FODMAP.
Raisins (4.86 grams)
Let’s be real: raisins are high fructose, just like all dried fruit. Notice the serving size here is half an ounce. That’s the size of a mini-box, or about 30 raisins.24
The fructose content of a mini-box of raisins does fall within moderate fructose guidelines, so I included it on the list. Still, I wouldn’t plan to add raisins to your diet anytime soon. Nearly 5 grams of fructose for 30 raisins isn’t a good use of your daily fructose budget, in my opinion.
Really, dried fruit is one of the worst choices for those who need to watch their fructose intake. I dedicated a whole section to dried fruit in my post on high fructose fruits.
Final Thoughts on Fructose and Low Fructose Fruits
I’ve really been struggling with my fructose (and general carbohydrate) malabsorption issues lately, so researching and writing this post has been helpful. I hope you’ve found it helpful, too.
If you’re very sensitive to fructose like I am, please remember there are different ways to evaluate the fructose content of a food.
This post uses the 3 grams of fructose per serving or less guideline. Another way to measure fructose content is the excess fructose guidelines used in FODMAP research. And another is to look at the percent fructose contributes to the total sugar in food.
So, if you find some fruits on this low fructose list still trouble you, it may be that you need to stick with foods with no excess fructose or those in which fructose makes up a smaller percentage of total sugar.
Posts Related to “Low Fructose Fruits”
I’ve written two companion posts to this one. The first lists high fructose fruits. The good news is that the list of high fructose fruits is much shorter, meaning there are fewer fruits to avoid if you must eat low fructose.
The second companion post looks at the fructose content of popular vegetables. Fortunately, most vegetables are naturally low in fructose. This post gives you a list of 50+ veggies that can fit in a low fructose diet.
I also wrote a detailed post about other high fructose foods. It looks at fructose in common foods like soda and also goes over high and low fructose sweeteners.
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.