This week I received the following question from :

I have pre-diabetes and am trying to learn about carbohydrate and sugar.  Does the sugar in fruit count as sugar?

Yes. Although the sugars in fruit are natural sugars as opposed to processed sugar we add to desserts or beverages, they are still sugar, which is a form of carbohydrate. The source of sugar does not matter. However, choosing fruits as opposed to other sugary snacks is a great way to go, as it is typically low in calories, and is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These qualities are essential for our health, so if you have diabetes you definietly do not want to skip out on fruit!!

A good goal for anyone is to get at least two to three servings of fruit in a day. Remember, 1 serving of fruit = 15 grams carbohydrate. Eating fruit with meals as a way to satisfy your sweet tooth is an excellent practice.
The following are 15 gram servings of fruit:

Apple, small (2 inches across) 1 (4 ounces)
Apricots 4 (5 1/2 ounces)
Banana, extra-small 1 (4 ounces)
Blackberries, blueberries 3/4 cup
Cantaloupe, honeydew, papaya, cubed 1 cup (11 ounces)
Cherries 12 (3 ounces)
Dates 3
Grapefruit, large 1/2 (11 ounces)
Grapes, small 17 (3 ounces)
Kiwi 1 (3 1/2 ounces)
Mango, cubed 1/2 cup
Nectarine, small 1 (5 ounces)
Orange, small 1 (6 1/2 ounces)
Peach, medium 1 (6 ounces)
Pear, large 1/2 (4 ounces)
Pineapple, cubed 3/4 cup
Plums, small 2 (5 ounces)
Raspberries 1 cup
Strawberries 1 1/4 cup
Tangerines, small 2 (8 ounces)
Watermelon, cubed 1 1/4 cup (13 1/2 ounces)
Dried fruit    
  Apples 4 rings
Apricots 8 halves
Blueberries, cherries, cranberries, mixed fruit 2 tablespoons
Figs 1 1/2
Prunes 3
Raisins 2 tablespoons
Canned fruit, unsweetened    
  Applesauce, apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, pineapple, plums 1/2 cup
Grapefruit, mandarin oranges 3/4 cup


If you have diabetes, its a good idea to avoid eating fruit by itself. Have it with a protein or healthy fat to slow sugar absorption and prevent a spike in blood sugar.  If you are still worried about sugar in general, I tend to tell patients to focus on the total carbohydrate amount instead. Sugar is listed underneath this category on nutrition labels and is included in this total amount.  This is just a way to look at the whole picture to determine how it will effect you, rather than just one component.