Are bananas a diet-wrecker? Find out why this favorite fruit has such a bad rap when it comes to your weight.
Are bananas really too high in natural sugars to be part of a weight loss plan? Not likely.
In fact, there’s evidence that suggests just the opposite: a diet rich in produce—including bananas—can help you lose and maintain a healthy weight. People who eat the most fruit and plant-based diets are thinner and have reduced risk for chronic diseases.
Bananas are often cited as having a high glycemic index that spikes blood sugar. However, because bananas provide equal amounts of glucose and fructose (which is digested slowly) and a small amount of sucrose, they have a low-to-moderate glycemic index of 51, which is the same as many other fruits like grapes, pineapple and mangoes.
A medium banana (7 to 8 inches long) has 110 calories and provides 30 grams of carbs, 3 grams fiber and has 13% of the potassium and 15% of each, vitamin C and manganese. As a general rule, we recommend half of a medium-sized banana or 1 small banana (4 to 5 inches long) as a serving. When you eat that portion size, bananas are essentially equivalent to any other piece of fruit in terms of calories and carbs.
The unripe fruit also contain resistant starch, a type of carb that your body can’t digest so it doesn’t contribute any calories and acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics help boost the amount of probiotics in the GI tract. The resistant start and fiber in bananas help to fill you up and not out. (The greener the banana, the more resistant starch it contains) In addition, smelling bananas has been shown to be a natural appetite-suppressant, so be sure to take in their aroma before eating them.
Bottom line: Bananas are a dieter’s friend and a nutrient-rich fruit that should be part of any diet.