Sugar In Peppers: The Fact And Fiction

Most of the bell pepper’s calorie count is from carbohydrates in the form of sugars, which gives them their sweet taste. Peppers are still healthy because their fiber and anthocyanin content helps to slow down the rate at which your body absorbs their sugar. Slower absorption means a reduced blood sugar spike and a lower risk of developing diabetes. Let’s look at some more facts about the sugar in peppers.

How much sugar is there typically in peppers?

Peppers usually contain between 5 and 10 grams of sugar in each cup. The amount varies a lot between varieties. The USDA lists the typical serving size for raw hot red chilies as 45 grams and states that the sugar contained in that serving is 2.38 grams.

Are there certain varieties higher in sugar than others?

Some varieties have less sugar than others. For instance, chilaca chilies, Japan’s shishito, and banana peppers are all relatively low in sugar. Every 100 grams of chilacas has 2.7 grams of glucose while shishitos have 2.5 grams, and banana peppers have 1.9 grams. Hatch chilies have more with 4.4 grams per 100 grams of pepper. Thai bird’s eye chilies are also high in sugar with 5.3 grams; red piquillo peppers have high levels with 10 grams in each 100-gram serving.

How do they compare to foods known for high levels of sugar?

While some peppers have relatively high levels of sugar, most don’t. When compared to vegetables known to have high levels, peppers appear to be more moderate. For example, the 8 grams of sugar that you get from 100 grams of beetroot and the 6.3 grams that you get from the same amount of corn are much greater amounts than you would get from most peppers.

Do ripened red peppers have more sugar than unripened green ones?

The general rule for fruit is that the sugar content in ripe fruit is typically greater than in unripe fruit. That holds true for peppers where 100 grams of ripe red bell will give you 4.2 grams while the same amount of green bell gives you 2.4 grams. The exact amount varies depending on which resource you use and probably varies from between peppers based on factors like soil quality and fertilizers, but all have a similar gap in sugar content. Red bell peppers always contain more than the green ones.

You should note that peppers in the intermediate stages of ripening can sometimes have more sugar in them than fully ripe or unripe ones. Some of the sugar is lost during the ripening process.

Do dried peppers lose sugar?

Peppers are often dried to preserve them and this does affect the nutritional content. Studies on the effects of dehydration on the nutritional content of bell peppers have shown that much of the pepper’s nutrients are degraded by drying including its sugars.

If they are dried at a higher temperature, some of their sugar content could be lost. Relative humidity was also shown to be a factor in the nutritional content of the end product. The effects of temperature and humidity on bell peppers can most likely be extended to all peppers.

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on January 25, 2020 to include new content.
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