We know we're in for a heavy dose of delicious, satiating carbohydrates when we eat a plate of pasta or a few slices of pizza. But certain fruits and vegetables also pack a powerful (albeit sneakier) carbohydrate punch, despite their reputation as a "light" snack or meal addition.
Registered dietitian Lisa Valente even goes as far as to suggest that "fruit gets a bad rap because it's sweet and not low in carbs," she writes on Eating Well. However, this doesn't mean that carb-heavy fruits are unhealthy and to be avoided. On the contrary, they're a great source of naturally occurring carbohydrates that our bodies need to function properly.
Carbohydrates should make up 45% to 65% of the average adult's daily calorie intake, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. So if you consume the recommended 2000 calories per day, between 900 and 1300 of those calories (or between 225 and 325 grams) should be from carbohydrates. Ideally, those carbs are coming from sources like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as opposed to added sugars, pastries, and white bread.
"Fruits are packed with important vitamins and minerals, plus fiber," adds Valente. "It's recommended that you eat two cups of fruit per day as part of a healthy diet. Fruit is a good carb and the kind you should be eating." For more clarity surrounding the carb content of specific fruits, Valente ranked 13 of them based on carb content, from lowest to highest. The first six, in particular, have high water content and extremely low carb content. Find her list below.
Watermelon: one cup chopped watermelon = 11 grams carbs, 46 calories
Strawberries: one cup sliced strawberries = 13 grams carbs, 53 calories
Cantaloupe: one cup cubed cantaloupe = 13 grams carbs, 54 calories
Peach: one medium peach = 14 grams carbs, 58 calories
Raspberries: one cup raspberries = 15 grams carbs, 64 calories
Orange: one medium orange = 15 grams carbs, 62 calories
Blueberries: one cup blueberries = 21 grams carbs, 84 calories
Pineapple: one cup cubed pineapple = 22 grams carbs, 82 calories
Mango: one cup chopped mango = 25 grams carbs, 99 calories
Cherries: one cup cherries = 25 grams carbs, 97 calories
Apples: one medium apple = 25 grams carbs, 95 calories
Bananas: one medium banana = 27 grams carbs, 105 calories
Grapes: 32 grapes = 28 grams carbs, 108 calories
Appendix 7. Nutritional Goals for Age-Sex Groups Based on Dietary Reference Intakes and Dietary Guidelines Recommendations. U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2020.