Pears 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Pears are a medium-sized fruit, known scientifically as Pyrus communis.

They originated in Europe and Asia, but today the major producer is China.

Pears are a member of the rose family and related to apples, strawberries, apricots and peaches.

They are most often eaten raw or canned, and can also be dried or processed into juice or alcoholic beverages like cider and perry.

Various recipes include pears as one of their main ingredients. This includes salads, cakes and sweets.

Pears are highly refreshing and filling. They are also very high in fiber, and may have benefits for weight loss and blood sugar control.

This is what pears typically look like:

Red Pears

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There are more than three thousand different varieties of pears, so the color, size and shape may vary greatly.

The skin of ripe pears is usually yellow, red or green, with white flesh inside.

Contents

  1. Nutrition Facts
  2. Carbs
  3. Vitamins and Minerals
  4. Plant Compounds
  5. Health Benefits
  6. Adverse Effects
  7. Summary

Nutrition Facts

Pears consist of 84% water and 15.2% carbs, with fiber making up 20% of the carb content. One medium-sized pear (178 g) contains only 101 calories.

This table contains information on the nutrients found in pears (1).

Pears - Nutrition Facts

General information
Amount
Calories57
Water84 %
Protein0.4 g
Carbs15.2 g
Sugar9.8 g
Fiber3.1 g
Fat0.1 g
Saturated0.02 g
Monounsaturated0.08 g
Polyunsaturated0.09 g
Omega-30 g
Omega-60.09 g
Trans fat~
Vitamins
Amount %DV
Vitamin A1 µg0%
Vitamin C4.3 mg5%
Vitamin D0 µg~
Vitamin E0.12 mg1%
Vitamin K4.4 µg4%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.01 mg1%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.03 mg2%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)0.16 mg1%
Vitamin B5 (Panthothenic acid)0.05 mg1%
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)0.03 mg2%
Vitamin B120 µg~
Folate7 µg2%
Choline5.1 mg1%
Minerals
Amount %DV
Calcium9 mg1%
Iron0.18 mg2%
Magnesium7 mg2%
Phosphorus12 mg2%
Potassium116 mg2%
Sodium1 mg0%
Zinc0.1 mg1%
Copper0.08 mg9%
Manganese0.05 mg2%
Selenium0.1 µg0%
Carbohydrates
Amount
Carbohydrate15.2 g
Fiber3.1 g
Sugars9.8 g
Sucrose0.7 g
Glucose2.6 g
Fructose6.4 g
Lactose0 g
Maltose0 g
Galactose0 g
Starch~
Amino Acids
Amount
Tryptophan2 mg
Threonine11 mg
Isoleucine11 mg
Leucine19 mg
Lysine17 mg
Methionine2 mg
Cysteine2 mg
Tyrosine2 mg
Valine17 mg
Arginine10 mg
Histidine2 mg
Alanine14 mg
Aspartic acid105 mg
Glutamic acid30 mg
Glycine13 mg
Proline21 mg
Serine15 mg
Fats
Amount
Saturated fatty acids0.022 g
4:00 mg
6:00 mg
8:00 mg
10:00 mg
12:00 mg
14:00 mg
16:017 mg
18:03 mg
Monounsaturated fatty acids0.084 g
16:12 mg
18:181 mg
20:11 mg
22:10 mg
Polyunsaturated fatty acids0.094 g
18:293 mg
18:31 mg
18:40 mg
20:40 mg
20:5 n-3 (EPA)0 mg
22:5 n-3 (DPA)0 mg
22:6 n-3 (DHA)0 mg
Sterols~
Cholesterol~
Phytosterols8 mg
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Carbs

Most of the calories in pears come from carbs. One medium-sized pear (178 g) contains 27 g of carbs, providing around 95% of the total calories.

Despite their high carb content, pears have a low glycemic index of 33 to 42. Therefore, they should not cause major spikes in blood sugar levels (2, 3).

For this reason, pears should be suitable for people with diabetes, especially when replacing other high-carb foods.

Fiber

Pears are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber.

The average pear contains 5.5 grams of fiber, which is 14–22% of the recommended daily intake for men and women. Half of the fiber content is found in the skin (4, 5).

Pectin is one type of soluble fiber found in pears. It can improve digestion, lower blood fat and cholesterol levels, and help moderate blood sugar. Pectin may also help prevent cancer (6, 7, 8, 9).

However, pears are also relatively high in FODMAPs. These are short-chain carbohydrates that can cause bloating and other digestive issues.

People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) tend to be sensitive to FODMAPs, and may want to be careful with eating pears.

Bottom Line: Pears contain high amounts of carbs and fiber, but should not cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. However, people with digestive issues may want to limit their intake because of the FODMAP content.

Vitamins and Minerals

Pears in Basket

Pears contain small amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K, copper and potassium.

  • Vitamin C: This is an antioxidant that is important for immune function and skin health (10).
  • Vitamin K: A deficiency in vitamin K has been linked to bleeding, osteoporosis and heart disease (11).
  • Potassium: A mineral that is essential for blood pressure control and heart health (12).
  • Copper: This mineral is needed for healthy blood vessels, nerves, immune system and bones. One large pear can cover one fifth of the daily needs (13).

Bottom Line: Pears are a good source of several essential nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin K, copper and potassium.

Plant Compounds

Sliced Pears

Pears are rich in several antioxidants, which are concentrated in their skin (14, 15).

In fact, pears may be among the biggest sources of flavonoid antioxidants in the Western diet (16).

  • Chlorogenic acid: This potent antioxidant is associated with lower blood pressure (17, 18, 19).
  • Epicatechin: Epicatechin is a powerful antioxidant with many health benefits (20, 21).
  • Cyanidin: The major anthocyanin antioxidant found in the pear peel. It is responsible for the color of red pears, and may help protect the body from oxidative stress and damage to blood vessels (22, 23).
  • Quercetin: This antioxidant is found in pear skin. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects (24, 25).

Bottom Line: Pears contain a range of plant compounds and antioxidants. These include chlorogenic acid, epicatechin, cyanidin and quercetin.

Health Benefits of Pears

Several health benefits have been associated with eating pears. Adding pears to the diet may promote weight loss and help with blood sugar control.

Man Holding Pear

Weight Loss

The average pear contains only 101 calories, which is low.

Pears contain a high amount of fiber and have a low glycemic index, so they may help promote a feeling of fullness.

One study of 40 overweight women showed that pears led to more weight loss over time, when compared to oats (26, 27).

Eating pears daily could also help people lose weight by stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system (28).

Bottom Line: Pears are high in fiber, which can produce a feeling of fullness and lead to weight loss over time. They may also help increase beneficial bacteria in the digestive system.

Blood Sugar

Type 2 diabetes is a very common disease.

It is characterized by high blood sugar levels in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to produce sufficient insulin (29).

Diet, lifestyle and maintaining a healthy body weight can have a major impact on the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Pears are rich in flavonoids, such as epicatechin, quercetin and anthocyanins. These antioxidants can improve insulin sensitivity and help prevent type 2 diabetes (30, 31).

The skin of pears is also full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances that may reduce the risk of diabetic complications (32).

Additionally, pears contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which should help slow down the absorption of sugar from the digestive system.

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Bottom Line: Pears may have benefits against type 2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity and slowing down sugar absorption.

Adverse Effects

Whole Pears

Allergy

Pears are not a highly allergenic fruit, and therefore allergy to pears is very rare.

However, some people may develop oral allergy syndrome, which causes discomfort in the mouth (33, 34).

Interestingly, people who are allergic to birch pollen could be at a higher risk of developing a pear allergy.

Bloating and Diarrhea

Pears are high in FODMAPs, short-chain carbohydrates that may be poorly absorbed in some people. Fructose is one of them (35).

Pears can be very high in fructose, especially when ripe, and this can have adverse effects in people with fructose malabsorption (36, 37, 38).

Bloating and diarrhea are the main symptoms of fructose malabsorption and FODMAP sensitivity. This appears to be particularly common among those with irritable bowel syndrome (39).

For this reason, people with digestive problems might want to limit their consumption of pears (40).

Bottom Line: Eating pears carries a low risk of allergy, but they may cause digestive problems in some people.

Summary

Pears are both refreshing and healthy. They are a very good source of fiber and antioxidants.

Eating pears regularly may provide numerous benefits, including weight loss and improved blood sugar control.