Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. But all fruits and vegetables contain some amount of carbs and natural sugar as well (1). Eliminating fruits and veggies from your diet is not healthy as you will miss out on the benefits they offer. Hence, select fruits and vegetables that are low in sugar and loaded with fiber and water. This article lists out 15 best low-sugar fruits and vegetables that are low-carb diet-friendly. Scroll down to check them out!
In This Article
15 Best Low-Sugar Fruits & Vegetables For Low-Carb Diets
Apples are highly nutritious. A medium-sized (182 g) apple contains 19 g of sugar, 25 g of carbs, and 5 g of fiber (2). The phytochemicals in apples support weight management, are diabetes-friendly, and aid in improving bone, pulmonary, and gastrointestinal health (3). Snack on an apple or add it to porridge for a healthy breakfast.
Like any other berries, strawberries are low in sugar and high in fiber content. One cup of whole strawberries (144 g) contains only 7 g of sugar and 3 g of fiber (4). Strawberries are loaded with vitamin C (an antioxidant) and minerals like potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium(4). You can consume strawberries in salads, smoothies, as wheat pancake topping, and with oatmeal.
Watermelon is loaded with water, dietary fiber, and antioxidants. A cup of watermelon (154 g) contains only 9.55 g of sugar and 141 g of water. It is also loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, lycopene, folate, choline, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus (5). It is good for weight management as it improves satiety and reduces BMI and blood pressure (6).
Note: Though watermelon has a high glycemic index, it has a low glycemic load due to its low carbohydrate content (7). However, if you have diabetes, it is best you avoid or consume watermelon in limited quantities (8).
A large orange (184 g) contains 17 g of sugar, 4.42 g of dietary fiber, and 160 g of water (9). Like other citrus fruits, oranges are loaded with vitamin C and have antioxidant properties (10). They are also rich in vitamin A, beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, calcium, folate, magnesium, and potassium (9). Drink freshly pressed orange juice with pulp, enjoy a whole orange, or add it to salads to reap its health benefits.
Blackberries have the lowest sugar content among all the berries. A serving size of 100 g of blackberries contains only 5 g of sugar, 5 g of fiber, and 10 g of total carbohydrates (11).
Blackberries have been found to increase fat oxidation and improve insulin sensitivity in overweight and obese men. They also have an anti-diabetic effect (12). Snack on a cup of blackberries, or add them to smoothies or a cup of oatmeal.
Grapefruit is a great low-sugar, high-water fruit perfect for your breakfast. A serving size of 100 g of grapefruit contains just 7 g of sugar. It is also loaded with vitamin C, a potent antioxidant (13). Enjoy a juicy grapefruit first thing in the morning to quench your thirst, or in the evening as a healthy snack option.
Melons have always been popular as low-sugar fruits that are good for a low-carb diet. A serving size of 100 g of cantaloupe provides 1 g of fiber and just 8 g of sugar (14). You can enjoy diced cantaloupe alone or make a cantaloupe salad with mint to give it a fresh touch.
Avocado is christened a “complete food” by nutritionists across the globe due to its high fiber, antioxidant, and healthy fat content. Not to mention that it is another low-sugar and low-carb fruit. A 100 g of avocado contains a negligible 0.66 g of sugar along with 6.7 g of fiber and just 8.53 g of carbohydrates. It contains vitamins C, E, and A. Trace amounts of folate, copper, and protein are also found in this nutty, buttery fruit (15). You can make avocado toast, smoothie, salad, or even ice cream to savor a delicious fruit without consuming too many carbs.
Cucumber is a refreshing and nutritious vegetable that is often used in salads. It is extremely low in sugar and high in water. A serving size of 100 g of cucumber contains only 2 g of sugar with 95 g of water (16). Add some slices of cucumber to your salad bowl and top it with some nuts and seeds to enjoy a low-sugar dish that will keep you satisfied long after eating.
Asparagus is a spring vegetable that contains a negligible amount of fat and virtually no sugar. It also contains many other important nutrients that are quite beneficial for the body. A serving size of 100 g of asparagus contains only 2 g of fiber and 2 g of sugar along with 0.1 g of fat (17).
Although asparagus is primarily used as a diuretic, it can also promote a faster metabolism (18). Roast asparagus with some olive oil for a delicious side dish or add to soups or salads for extra nutrition.
3. Iceberg Lettuce
Iceberg lettuce is the most popular low-calorie and low-sugar vegetable used in salads to provide satiety. A serving size of 100 g of iceberg lettuce contains 96 g of water along with 1 g fiber and just 2 g sugar (19). Combine iceberg lettuce with other vegetables to make a low-carb salad bowl or use a lettuce leaf as a low-carb alternative to wraps for sandwiches.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that is low in sugar and perfect for any kind of diet, including the low-carb diets. A serving size of 100 g of broccoli contains 3 g of fiber and 2 g of sugar (20). Broccoli also contains vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, dietary fiber, calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and potassium (20). Blanch the broccoli florets and add them to curries or salads. Or you can also sauté them and enjoy over whole grains like quinoa or brown rice for a wholesome meal.
5. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are one of the healthiest low-sugar vegetable options and are used in many salad recipes. A serving size of 100 g of Brussels sprouts contain just 2 g of sugar and 4 g of fiber (21).
Brussels sprouts taste delicious tossed in olive oil and roasted, or shaved Brussels sprouts make a great base for slaws and salads. This vegetable is infamous for its bitter taste, which is not always popular, especially among kids. However, if you have diabetes and are looking for a low-sugar vegetable, it is one of the healthiest options on this list (22).
Cabbage is another low-fat, low-sugar vegetable that you can indulge in any time and in any form. A serving size of 100 g of cabbage contains 6 g of carbs, 3 g of fiber, and 3 g of sugar that is mainly glucose and fructose (23).
Cabbage is rich in vitamins A, C, D, E, and K. It also contains minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and sodium (23).
This low-sugar, high-water content leafy vegetable is an excellent option to curb your appetite. A serving size of 100 g of spinach contains almost negligible amount of sugar and 91 g of water (24). You can add blanched spinach to your salad, serve raw in salads or blended in smoothies, or steam and serve with roasted or grilled fish or chicken.
Fruits and vegetables are healthy, and consuming them regularly can have many benefits. However, if you want to reduce your sugar intake, low-sugar fruits and vegetables are a good option. They provide all the beneficial nutrients to your body and keep you satiated. Go ahead and use colorful low-sugar vegetables and fruits to make your low-carb diet plate attractive and palatable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you lose weight by cutting out sugar?
Yes, you will lose weight by cutting out sugary foods and refined sugar. Avoid sugary foods and drinks to keep the calories at bay.
Can you survive without sugar?
Yes, you can survive without sugar. However, if you are looking for a low-carb diet for weight loss or to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you can consume sugar from fruits and vegetables in limited amounts. You can cut out all the unhealthy sugar sources like sweetened beverages, white bread, ketchup, pasta sauce, barbeque sauce, sports drinks, protein bars, packaged fruit and vegetable juices, chocolate milk, etc.
How much weight can I lose by cutting out sugar?
If you are trying to lose weight, cutting out sugar is a great way to keep the extra calories at bay. You will lose about 1-2 pounds in a month if you steer clear of sugar completely. However, you need to follow a balanced diet and workout 4-5 days a week to prevent weight regain and look toned.
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- Golbidi, Saeid et al. “Diabetes and alpha lipoic Acid.” Frontiers in pharmacology vol. 2 69.
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