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What sugars are in fruits and vegetables?

Fruits and vegetables are consumed in every country across the globe. They are made up of multiple edible components such as the flowers, fruits, stems, roots, seeds and leaves that are used in meals every day.

Fruit and vegetables form an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet. They are nutrient dense, providing dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Dietary Guidelines recommend we eat plenty of vegetables and enjoy fruit, with research showing this can protect against weight gain, obesity, heart disease, stroke and some cancers. Data, however, shows that many of us are not eating enough fruits and vegetables according to recommendations. Some fruit and vegetables are higher in sugars than others, but it’s important to look at the food as a whole - fruit and vegetables contribute important nutrients for health like dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Which sugars are in fruits and vegetables?

Fruits and vegetables contain a range of naturally occurring sugars that make them taste sweet and flavourful. These sugars include disaccharides like sucrose, and monosaccharides like fructose and glucose. Most fruit and vegetables have a mixture of these different sugars, but the ratio will depend on the specific type and variety of fruit or vegetable.

Learn more about monosaccharides and disaccharides in Sources and Type of Carbohydrates and Sugar.

Sugars Content of Fruits and Vegetables

Here we take a look at the types and amounts of sugars in some popular fresh fruits and vegetables available at supermarkets and farmers markets.

The values below have been taken from the FSANZ Australian Food Composition Database. Values are for the raw food, unpeeled, with no additions, unless otherwise stated. Sugars content may vary depending on the way the food is prepared or if other ingredients are added during preparation or cooking.

Food  Total Sugars (g/100g)  Sucrose (g/100g)  Fructose (g/100g)  Glucose (g/100g) 
Apple 11.1 1.9 6.9 2.3
Banana 12.8 0 6.2 6.7
Orange 8.2 4.2 2.1 1.9
Pineapple 8.2 5.2 1.8 1.3
Pear, green 12.4 0.5 6.2 5.7
Strawberry 3.8 0 2.1 1.8
Carrot 6.2 4.1 1 1.1
Beetroot 8.4 8.4 0 0
Tomato 2.5 0 1.4 1.1
Pumpkin, baked 5 2.1 1 1.9
Broccoli 0.4 0.1 2.1 1.9
Red Capsicum 4 0 2.1 1.9
Onion 5.8 1.9 1.7 2.2

 

Apples

Crisp, crunchy and healthy, the humble apple is the perfect healthy snack when you’re craving something sweet.

Royal Gala

Typically one of the first apples you get in the season, these apples have a sweet flavour that are perfect for pies.

11.1g of sugar per 100g

Golden Delicious

One of the most popular apples for tarts and pies, this apple is a staple for baking.

10.5g of sugar per 100g

Red Delicious

Crisp, white and juicy flesh, this variety of apples is great in salads and a popular option for healthy snacks and lunch boxes.

13g of sugar per 100g

Fuji

Sweeter than many other varieties, this apple is great in salads, pies and eaten on its own.

12.1g of sugar per 100g

Pink Lady

Firm and crisp, this popular apple can be eaten as a snack or used in pies, salads or sauces.

12.2g of sugar per 100g

Granny Smith

Known for its crisp flesh and tart, tangy taste, this apple is used for baking, salads and snacking.

10.3g of sugar per 100g

Bananas

A wholesome snack available everywhere, the banana is full of Potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Copper, and Manganese, along with healthy fibre.

Cavendish Banana

The most popular variety of banana, this tasty, healthy fruit is a great go-to snack as part of a healthy diet.

12.8g of sugar per 100g

Lady Finger Banana

Another popular variety, these are thinner and slightly shorter than Cavendish bananas and have a sweeter flavour.

18.2g of sugar per 100g

Oranges

Used in a wide range of foods and juices, oranges are grown extensively and make for a healthy snack or addition to a meal. Grown in colder climates but typically available all year round, oranges can be juiced, added to baked goods, added to salads, used in a range of savoury dishes or eaten on its own.

Navel Oranges

Sweet flesh with little to no seeds make these a popular variety of orange.

8.2g of sugar per 100g

Valencia Oranges

Popular for their high juice content, this is a favourite for freshly squeezed juice.

8.2g of sugar per 100g

Pineapples

Pineapples come in a wide range of varieties specifically bred to be sweet, juicy, have higher levels of antioxidants and vitamin C. We have the Aussie Rough, Aussie Gold, Aus Jubilee, Aussie Smooth and the Aus Festival. Varieties available in New Zealand include Cayenne and Queen.

The sweetness of pineapples will vary slightly depending on the variety and the time of year they’re picked. Pineapples are slightly sweeter when picked in the summer.

Pineapples (multiple varieties)

Popular in fruit salads, BBQs, desserts and as a great summer snack, pineapples are a popular choice of fruit.

8.2g of sugar per 100g

Pears

Picked in late summer, pears can be grouped into two categories: European and Asian – both of which are available in Australia and New Zealand. Mild in flavour, their crunchy, juicy flesh is full of antioxidants and dietary fibre.

Bosc Pear (also known as Brown Skin Pear)

With a harder flesh than other varieties, the Bosc pear is juicy, crunchy and sweet.

10.4g of sugar per 100g

Nashi Pear

Known also as the Asian pear, apple pear or papple, this pear is round in shape with juicy white flesh.

10.6g of sugar per 100g

Packham's Triumph Pear

This is a wonderful eating pear with green to yellow skin and juicy, white flesh with a sweet flavour to it.

12.4g of sugar per 100g

William Bartlett Pear

With its sweet, soft flesh, this is a perfect pear to have by itself or with a cheese platter.

9g of sugar per 100g

Strawberries

A popular berry in the summer months, strawberries can be enjoyed as a refreshing snack, part of a fruit platter or in desserts like pavlova.

3.8g of sugar per 100g

Carrots

A staple in roasts, stir fries, salads and platters all over Australia, carrots are full of vitamins and minerals like zinc, calcium, beta carotene and folate.

6.2g of sugar per 100g

Tomatoes

Red, juicy and delicious, tomatoes make a great addition to pasta sauces, sandwiches and salads.

Cherry Tomatoes

Small and round these are a favourite in salads and platters. Perfect for snacking or for a little extra flavour in your favourite salad.

2.2g of sugar per 100g

Common Tomatoes

Bright red and juicy, this variety of tomato is used in everything from spaghetti bolognaise to salad sandwiches.

2.5g of sugar per 100g

Roma Tomatoes

Oval in shape and used primarily in canning and producing tomato paste, this variety is also known as ‘Italian tomatoes’.

2.3g of sugar per 100g

Beetroot

Commonly roasted to serve with dinner or mixed into a warm salad, beetroots add a mild sweetness to any dish. They can also be enjoyed raw, simply sliced or grated into a salad.

8.4g of sugar per 100g

Pumpkin

Used in curries and warm salads or simply roasted with your favourite meat, the pumpkin is a versatile and healthy vegetable full of vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Butternut Pumpkin

With a distinctive shape and mild, nutty flavour, the butternut pumpkin is the perfect addition to curries, roasts and warm salads.

6.1g of sugar per 100g

Golden Nugget Pumpkin

Small and round with bright orange flesh, this is a favourite for home gardeners with limited space.

3.1g of sugar per 100g

Jarrahdale Pumpkin

Native to Australia, this variety of pumpkin has a distinctive blue-grey skin. Easy to cut and large in size, this pumpkin has a sweet tasting flesh.

5.1g of sugar per 100g

Queensland Blue Pumpkin

The perfect addition to pumpkin scones, this variety is great for baking or boiling.

5.8g of sugar per 100g

Broccoli

Part of the cabbage family, this edible green plant is high in many nutrients, including fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium.

0.4g of sugar per 100g

Capsicum

Native to the Americas, the capsicum is actually part of the nightshade family. Crisp and mild in flavour this vegetable makes the perfect addition to stir fries, salads and are also great roasted.

Red Capsicum

Roasted, raw or cooked in your favourite dish, red capsicums are also known as bell peppers or sweet peppers.

4g of sugar per 100g

Green Capsicum

Used mainly in salads, green capsicums have a crisp, fresh flavour.

2.3g of sugar per 100g

Onions

Great eaten raw, cooked, pickled, baked or roasted, the onion is used to add flavour and a bit of kick to dishes.

Brown Onion

Used mainly in cooking from stir fries and curries through to risottos and soups, the brown onion is as versatile as it is tasty.

5.8g of sugar per 100g

Spring Onion

A great addition to salads and soups, this variety of onion is full of vitamins and minerals.

4.5g of sugar per 100g
 

REFERENCES

  • Ministry of Health. (2015). Eating and Activity Guidelines for New Zealand Adults. Wellington: Ministry of Health.
  • National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Australian Dietary Guidelines. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council.
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics. National Health Survey: First Results— Australia 2017-18 4364.0.55.001. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.
  • Food Standards Australia New Zealand. Food Composition Database – Release 1.0. Accessed 12 May 2021 at: https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/science/monitoringnutrients/afcd/pages/default.aspx

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