From Fibonacci to Mendel, humans have been tracking down the naturally-occurring numbers sprouting from our seeds for centuries. But being the perfectionists that we are, we humans just couldn’t help but add a few of our own calculations to the mix.
Whether it’s calories, carbs or keto points, there are plenty of ways to count and categorize our fruits nowadays – so we’ve made this handy list, to help us all divide and conquer!
Best Low-Calorie Fruits
It’s perhaps the ultimate weight-loss question of modern times – and diets: How many calories are in this food?
While many of us have come to see calories as an evil entity of sorts, in nature, the concept is a bit more neutral. Calories simply represent the amount of available energy in any given food or drink.
Where things get a bit tricky is determining whether the calories come from “good” (naturally-occurring, healthy) or “bad” (typically artificially added) sources – but that’s a bedtime story for a whole other night.
Simply put, humans need calories to function. Energy is, after all, what keeps our organs running and our cells multiplying.
But like much else in life, too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing. (Except for watermelon. There is no such thing as too much watermelon.)
Luckily for those of us trying to keep things on the low end, there’s fruit!
Nature’s candy, as a general rule, is pretty low in calories and tastes even better than most of that high-calorie stuff anyway. (Again, may we mention watermelon?)
Some of the lowest-calorie fruits include:
- Apples: One cup (125 grams) of apple slices can keep the doctor away for just 57 calories.
- Clementines: The mini-oranges also have minimal caloric impact, weighing in at just 35 calories each.
- Grapefruit: If you like to eat a lot but gain a little, half of one of these giant citrus fruits (123 grams) includes just 52 calories.
- Papaya: The delicious tropical treats were made for bathing suit season, coming in at just 55 calories per cup (140 grams).
- Strawberries: The summertime favorite is great for shorts weather, packing no more than 50 calories into a cup’s worth (152 grams).
- Tomatoes: Technically a fruit! These multi-tasking masters can do it all at only 27 calories per cup (149 grams).
- Watermelon: What’d we say? Nature’s masterpiece can keep us hydrated and taste fantastic for the low, low price of just 46 calories per cup (152 grams).
Best Low-Carb Fruits
Perhaps the second-most asked question in a particularly weight-conscious world is how many carbs are in this food.
While carbs are an important component in many bodily functions, they can contribute to weight gain, as our bodies break them down into glucose – essentially, human fuel – and store any extra as energy reserves.
But if we stockpile too much, or use too little, we may see the results ticking up the scale – among many other more complex ways carbohydrates may impact our weight.
How many carbs you should include in your diet is a calculation as unique as you are, and one that’s best discussed with a healthcare provider.
But if you’re trying to cut down as a general rule, you can rely on these fruits:
- Watermelon: Our favorite fruit strikes again! Watermelons typically weigh in at just 7.5 grams for every 100 grams of fruit.
- Honeydew: Another carb-free wonder, this melon averages 9 grabs of carbs for each 100 grams.
- Cantaloupe: Basically, if you’re going low-carbs, we hope you love melons! Cantaloupe clocks in around 7.3 grams of carbs per 100 grams.
- Avocado: Truly a superfruit, avocados include only around 8.5 grams of carbs in every 100 grams.
- Peaches: Most of that juicy goodness is carb-free, with peaches packing just 9.5 grams of carbs for every 100 grams.
- Berries: If melons don’t do it for you, berries are a great low-carb alternative, including strawberries (7.6 grams carbs per 100 grams); blackberries (9.6 grams carbs per 100 grams); and raspberries (just 5.4 grams carbs per 100 grams).
Best Fruits for Weight Loss
Still, there’s more than carb- and calorie-counting when it comes to losing weight.
Shedding pounds in general is a complex equation, involving everything from diet to daily movement to metabolism rate, and any number of extremely personal calculations.
But there are also a number of natural processes at work in the body that may help stimulate or maintain weight loss – and some fruits are simply better than others when it comes to keeping them in check, including:
- Grapefruit: Stop us if you’ve seen some of these before. Aside from being low-calorie, grapefruits are also low on the glycemic index (GI), meaning they release their sugars more slowly into the bloodstream, which can help not only with losing weight but maintaining any weight loss progress.
- Apples: Not only low in calories, but high in fiber, these fruits can help keep things – shall we say – moving? Other studies have linked the fruit’s polyphenol extract to lower cholesterol levels and reductions in body fat.
- Passionfruit: If you’re passionate about fitness, you may want to consider the passionfruit. Just one fruit is extraordinarily low in calories, but high in fiber, which can help slow down digestion and keep you feeling full. Plus, some preliminary tests have linked the piceatannol found in passionfruit seeds to improved insulin sensitivity.
- Kiwifruit: Small but mighty, these baseball-sized fruits are densely packed with dietary fiber, register low on the GI scale and have been shown in some studies to help with everything from blood sugar, cholesterol and waist circumference.
- Oranges: As low in calories as the rest of its citrusy siblings, the orange also seems to have preternatural powers of satisfaction, registering as four times more filling than a croissant and two times more filling than a muesli bar in one study. (Still, that trial recommended eating the whole fruit, rather than relying on the juice, for the best weight loss benefits.)
What Fruit Can You Eat On Keto?
While we’re on the topic of weight loss, there are plenty of people out there who have turned to the ketogenic (“keto”) diet for some help slimming down.
The general concept of the weight loss plan is to keep things high-fat and very low-carb, to train the body to use fat stores – rather than carb-built glucose deposits – as its main energy source.
When it comes to keto, net carbs also become an important concept, essentially representing the amount of carbs in a given food minus the amount of soluble fiber (technically a carb).
But don’t fear, fruit-loving keto fam. While fruits aren’t typically high in fat (and may be a bigger source of carbs in many cases), a few of our favorites still make the mark, including:
- Avocados: Of course the OG of healthy fats makes this list. Avocados’ infusion of heart-healthy fats with generally low carbohydrate counts make them a perfect match for keto dieters.
- Watermelon: Seriously, y’all! The melon of our dreams mostly makes the cut thanks, again, to its very low carb count, though watermelons have plenty other health benefits to offer, including numerous vitamins and the antioxidant-rich compound lycopene.
- Cantaloupe: There go those melons again. Cantaloupes are already low in carbs, but their high fiber count makes their net carb calculations even lower.
- Peaches: Net carbs strike again. Peaches pack even less of a carbohydrate punch when you consider how much fiber also appears in the juicy fruit.
- Star Fruit: With just 4.3 grams of net carbs in every (108 gram) cup, this fruit is not only unique, beautiful and tasty, but the perfect thing to compliment all that keto diet avocado toast.
Best Fruits For Potassium
Of course, eating isn’t always about losing. Sometimes we want to actually gain a few nutrients from our food!
One of the most important compounds out there to include in our diets is potassium.
Technically an electrolyte, this mineral helps with nerve function and is largely involved in muscle contractions – including the ones that make sure our hearts keep the beat.
(Potassium is also useful in counteracting some bad effects of too much sodium on our blood pressure. Thanks, potassium!)
If you’re looking to up the dosage of this essential bodily ingredient, you might want to consider some of these high-potassium fruits:
- Bananas: Perhaps the most famously high-potassium fruit, bananas certainly deliver on the promise, with a medium-sized example including up to 422 mg of potassium.
- Avocados: Can they do no wrong? (That’s a rhetorical question. The answer is obviously yes!) Avocados, on average, serve up a whopping 487mg of potassium for every 100 grams – or a full 10 percent of the daily recommended amount.
- Watermelon: Would it even be a list on this page without them? That’s right, watermelon also manages to pack plenty of potassium, with just two wedges (or around 572 grams) supplying as much as 640 grams of the stuff.
- Pomegranate: The seedy delight is dense with potassium too, including as much as 665mg in a single fruit.
- (Dried) Apricots: Besides changing their color and texture, the practice of drying fruits can alter the levels of vitamins and minerals available – including apricots. Six of the dried-out fruits can bring as much as 488 mg of potassium.
Best Fruits For Protein
Yes, you read that right. Plant-based friends, rejoice!
Fruits can – and do! – include protein, too.
As a general rule, they’re not exactly considered a “high-protein” food, which would, according to many nutritionists, require them to meet at least the 6 gram mark.
But if you’re looking to boost your protein levels a bit, you can still count on some of these delicious options:
- Jackfruit: The tropical wonder stands in for pulled beef or pork in many vegan recipes, so it only makes sense that it delivers some of the same protein as those meats. Jackfruit can be counted on for around 1.42 grams of the stuff for every ½ cup (64 gram) serving.
- Prunes: Don’t let their fibrous reputation fool you. These superfruits also pack more than their fair share of protein, with about 1 gram in every ¼ cup (32 grams).
- Guava: One of the best fruit sources for protein, these tropical wonders include as much as 2.1 grams for every ½ cup (64 grams).
- Apricots: Stone fruits can help you get a rock hard body! Apricots have around 1.1 grams of protein for every ¼ cup (32 grams).
- Golden Raisins: A close cousin to prunes, these pretty little things are almost nearly as good at delivering protein, averaging around 1.4 grams for every (packed) ½ cup (64 grams).
Still, whether you’re aiming for weight loss or nutrition gain, eating more fruit always adds up to a good idea.