We study the impact of quantum gravity, formulated as a quantum field theory of the metric, on chiral symmetry in a fermionic matter sector. Specifically we address the question of whether metric fluctuations can induce chiral symmetry breaking and bound state formation. Our results based on the functional renormalization group indicate that chiral symmetry is left intact even at strong gravitational coupling. In particular, we found that asymptotically safe quantum gravity where the gravitational couplings approach a non-Gaußian fixed point generically admits universes with light fermions. Our results thus further support quantum gravity theories built on fluctuations of the metric field such as the asymptotic-safety scenario. A study of chiral symmetry breaking through gravitational quantum effects may also serve as a significant benchmark test for other quantum gravity scenarios, since a completely broken chiral symmetry at the Planck scale would not be in accordance with the observation of light fermions in our universe. We demonstrate that this elementary observation already imposes constraints on a generic UV completion of gravity.