While some are high in carbohydrates, fresh fruits are good sources of fiber, vitamins and minerals essential for maintaining our health. Canned fruits, dried fruits and fruit juices are often higher in carbohydrates, because sugars are added during the manufacturing process and provide no added nutritional value.
Among the fruits that contain the most carbohydrates are apples, bananas, oranges and pears, as well as dates and figs. Fruits consumed at their fullest ripeness have more carbohydrates than in their less-ripe states.
Canned and Dried Fruits
Canned fruits tend to have more overall carbohydrates than fresh fruits, if sugar is added during manufacturing. Any dried fruits, like raisins, prunes and dried apricots, are significantly higher in carbohydrates than their fresh forms.
Fruit smoothies made in your blender have the same levels of carbohydrates as the fresh fruits you are using, provided you do not add any honey or sugar. Smoothies purchased from grocery stores, and manufactured juices, on the other hand, are higher in carbohydrates than fresh fruits.
When reading nutrition labels, it is important to remember that the number of total carbohydrates is calculated to include both dietary fibers and sugars. Dietary fibers are the healthy portion of any carbohydrates you consume, while sugars are not. Many labels now have separate listings for Total Carbohydrates and Dietary Fibers; however, the Sugar content is not always listed. In this case, you’ll want to skim down toward the bottom of the label where Ingredients are listed. Look for sugar in any form, including fructose, glucose, dextrose, corn syrup and honey. If the sugar is among the first ingredients listed, the product is high in sugar. If sugars appear closer to the end of the ingredient list, the sugar content is lower.
Carbohydrates vs. Fats
Many people have come to think of carbohydrates as the cause of weight gain, when in fact much of what actually causes weight gain is the fat content of foods. Fresh fruits may be high in carbohydrates, but they contain little or no fat. Fruits are high in fiber and contain essential vitamins and minerals. Candies and cakes, on the other hands, are high in carbohydrates and fats. They also lack fiber, vitamins and minerals. Consuming large portions of these foods is what perpetuates weight gain.
The key to a healthy and well-balanced diet is moderation. Weight gain occurs when more calories are consumed than the body can utilize at a given time. Moderating portion intake is a good starting point in ensuring that consumed calories and fats are utilized and not stored as fat. If you cannot pass up your sweets entirely, fruits can help assuage that hunger, and taking up an exercise routine will help break down additional fats that are consumed.