Most types of fruit are already low in calories. However, there are some fruits that are particularly low in calories and can play an important role in a nutritious diet due to their high nutrient content. The above table shows which fruits are low in calories.
In nutrition, calories are used as a unit of measurement for the energy contained in food and absorbed by the body through metabolic processes. The calories in fruit mainly come from carbohydrates, especially from fruit sugars such as fructose, glucose, and sucrose. One gram of carbohydrates contains about four calories. Some fruits also contain small amounts of plant-based proteins and fats. However, these are negligible compared to the carbohydrates. The calorie content of fruit depends on various factors such as variety, ripeness, and preparation method.
Ripeness Affects Calorie Content
Ripe fruits usually contain more sugar and therefore more calories than unripe fruits. During the ripening process, natural enzymes convert starch and other complex carbohydrates into simple sugars such as glucose and fructose. The fruit becomes juicier and sweeter. Ripe fruits are often softer and juicier than unripe fruits. The majority of fruit varieties contain between 5 and 15 g of sugar per 100 g of fruit.
Preparation Method Affects Calorie Content
The method of preparation can affect the calorie content. To reduce the calorie content of fruit, you can peel them or remove seeds and cores, as these often have a higher calorie content. However, edible peels contain many healthy nutrients. If the peel is removed, these nutrients can be lost.
Fruits can be steamed or baked to enhance their flavor without adding extra calories.
Canned fruit or juice often contains additional sugar and preservatives, which can increase calorie content.
Fructose In Low-calorie Fruits?
Fructose (fruit sugar) can also be found in low-calorie fruits, but typically in smaller amounts compared to high-calorie fruits like bananas or grapes.
For people with fructose intolerance, fructose is not well-tolerated. The body is unable to properly digest and absorb it, which can lead to a range of symptoms including bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. This table shows which fruits contain low levels of fructose. You can find a list of low-fructose foods here.
Low Glycemic Index In Low-calorie Fruits
Low-calorie fruits have a low glycemic index (GI). The GI measures on a scale of 0 to 100 how quickly carbohydrate-rich foods raise blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI value cause a rapid increase in blood sugar, which can lead to a sudden rise in insulin levels. This, in turn, can result in a quick release of energy followed by a rapid drop, leading to fatigue and cravings.
The digestion of low-calorie fruits is slower, resulting in a slower rise in blood sugar levels. Energy is released more gradually. Foods with a low GI can reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. It's also possible to combine low-calorie fruits with protein-rich foods to slow down and stabilize the increase in blood sugar levels.
Low-calorie Fruit Can Help With Weight Loss
Although fruit contains calories in the form of carbohydrates, it has relatively few calories compared to other foods. Therefore, it is well-suited, alongside low-calorie vegetables, for controlling and reducing body weight.
Fruit can play a crucial role in weight loss as it is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The fiber can help regulate blood sugar levels and increase satiety, thereby avoiding cravings. Check out the chart of fiber-rich fruits here.
Enjoying Low-calorie Fruit
You can incorporate low-calorie fruit into your diet in various ways:
- As a snack: Fruit is a healthy alternative to sugary snacks. Take a portion of fruit to work or enjoy it as a snack on the go.
- As a side dish: You can use fresh fruit as a side dish for various meals. It can also be toppings for cereal and yogurt alternatives.
- In smoothies: You can blend low-calorie fruit into smoothies to create a healthy and delicious meal.
- As a dessert: Instead of calorie-rich desserts, you can create a colorful fruit salad mix with different fruits such as berries, melons, or pineapples as a dessert.
Fresh, seasonal fruit is usually the most nutrient-rich. Choose organic fruit to potentially avoid harmful substances.