Blueberries are full of carbohydrates primarily in the form of sugar. But don't despair, as carbs are an essential part of your diet. Your digestive tract works hard to turn carbohydrates into glucose -- the main source of energy for cells. Adequate glucose in your system gives you energy for all of your daily activities, including your gym routine. Additionally, blueberries are full of fiber, which is a type of carbohydrate, but it doesn't turn into glucose or provide calories.
The exact amount of carbs in blueberries depends on how they are processed. A 1/2-cup serving of fresh blueberries has about 45 calories, and roughly 90 percent of the calories come from carbohydrates. You'll get a little more than 10 grams of carbohydrates from this serving of fresh blueberries. The majority of carbohydrates are in the form of naturally occurring sugars, like fructose and dextrose. Fresh blueberries also have a whopping 2 grams of fiber in a 1/2-cup serving.
While fresh fruits are always your best option, since they are minimally processed, frozen blueberries are the next best thing. Opt for frozen blueberries during winter months when fresh blueberries are not as prevalent. Frozen blueberries often have added sugar in the form of sucrose in addition to naturally occurring fructose and sucrose. A 1/2-cup portion of sweetened, thawed blueberries provides 100 calories and around 22.5 total grams of sugar, amounting to 90 calories from sugar alone. You'll still get lots of fiber from frozen blueberries -- about 2.5 grams per 1/2 cup.
Canned blueberries should only be used as a last resort because they tend to be loaded with excessive amounts of added sugar, often in the form of sucrose, in addition to natural sugars. One-half cup of canned blueberries in heavy syrup has nearly 115 calories, and just like fresh and frozen blueberries, the majority of the calories come from sugar carbohydrates. Sugar makes up more than 90 percent of the calories in canned blueberries, which is similar to sweetened, frozen blueberries. You'll get more than 26 grams of total sugar from 1/2 cup of blueberries canned in heavy syrup. On a positive note, canned blueberries are still high in fiber, providing 2 grams per 1/2 cup.
Carbohydrates need to make up a certain percentage of your total calories. Around 45 to 65 percent of your caloric intake must come from carbs, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. For a 1,600-calorie diet, this equates to 180 to 260 grams, or 225 to 325 grams of carbs for a 2,000-calorie diet. Fiber has a separate recommendation, but it is also based on the calories in your diet. You need 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories. Following a 1,600-calorie diet requires 23 grams of daily fiber, whereas a 2,000-calorie diet needs 28 grams.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Blueberries, Raw
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Blueberries, Frozen, Sweetened
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Blueberries, Canned, Heavy Syrup, Solids and Liquids
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.