Carbohydrates usually have a bad reputation, but they are an important part of your diet. You need a lot of carbs to get you through your busy morning, hectic work schedule and evening aerobics class. Fortunately, tomatoes are rich in carbohydrates, while only providing a small amount of calories. Whether you toss a few onto your salad at lunch or snack on cherry tomatoes as an afternoon pick-me-up, you won't have to feel guilty about ruining your diet.
Carbs and Calories
One cup of cherry tomatoes, weighing around 150 grams, has about 25 calories and slightly more than 5.5 grams of carbohydrates, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Because carbs have 4 calories per gram, this amounts to nearly 90 percent calories from carbohydrates. The remaining 10 percent of calories comes from trace amounts of protein and fat.
All of the carbohydrates in cherry tomatoes come from various types of sugar, such as fructose, dextrose and a small amount of sucrose. You probably hear a lot of bad things about sugar. However, naturally occurring sugar in fruits, vegetables and other foods is a healthy part of your diet, since these foods also have lots of vitamins and minerals. Sugar breaks down quickly and converts into glucose. Each cell in your body uses glucose as the primary energy source. Your brain in particular uses only glucose for fuel versus cells in other parts of your body that can turn to broken-down fat and protein for energy if needed.
Most of your calories -- between 45 and 65 percent -- need to come from carbs, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you usually stick to a 2,000-calorie diet, you'll require 900 to 1,300 calories from carbohydrates or 225 to 325 grams of carbs. The 5.5 grams of carbohydrates in 1 cup of cherry tomatoes takes up only about 2 to 3 percent of your daily carbohydrate allotment for a 2,000-calorie diet.
The Fiber Exception
Fiber is the exception to the rule. You only get fiber from plant foods, like tomatoes. Although fiber is a type of carbohydrate, it does not provide calories nor does it transform into glucose. Fiber is vital for a healthy digestive tract and regularity. For every 1,000 calories in your diet, you need 14 grams of fiber, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Based on 2,000 calories per day, you'll need 28 grams of fiber. One cup of cherry tomatoes has more than 2 grams of fiber, or around 7 percent of your fiber needs for the day.
Cherry tomatoes are enjoyable hot or cold. As a quick snack or appetizer, pair sliced cherry tomatoes with fresh mozzarella cheese and a drizzle of balsamic dressing. If you're making pasta for dinner, sneak a few quartered cherry tomatoes into your dish to boost the fiber content of your favorite entree. Cherry tomatoes are also the perfect size to place on top of your pizza. These flavorful, robust tomatoes blend perfectly with almost any dish.
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.