I am frequently asked if bananas make you fat. Bananas are some of the most popular fruits because they are easy to eat anywhere, anytime and they are delicious. Bananas are also nutritious, having a significant content of fiber, minerals and antioxidants.
However, many people have doubts about banana consumption due to the high carbohydrate and sugar content they contain. Let’s debunk them.
Bananas contain several important nutrients
Over 90% of calories from bananas come from carbohydrates. When the banana is baked, the starch in the banana turns into sugar. Unripe bananas (green) have a high level of starch and resistant starch (harder to digest) while ripe bananas mostly contain sugar. Bananas also have a decent fiber content and are very low in protein and fat.
Of course, there are many types of bananas, depending on size and color. But an average banana (around 118 grams) has 105 calories, potassium 9% of the recommended daily intake (RDI), vitamin B6 33% of RDI, vitamin C 11% of RDI, magnesium 8% of RDI, copper 10% of RDI, magnesium 14% RDI, fiber 3.1 grams.
Bananas also contain other beneficial compounds and antioxidants, including dopamine and catechin (antioxidants).
Bananas are rich in fiber and starch
Carbohydrates that cannot be digested in the upper digestive system are called fibers. It has been shown that increased fiber intake has many health benefits. And since a banana has about 3 grams of fiber, it is an excellent source.
Green bananas are rich in resistant starch, a type of non-digestible carbohydrate that functions as a fiber. The greener the banana, the higher the content of resistant starch.
According to several studies, resistant starch has many health benefits:
- Improves colon health;
- It gives the sensation of satiety after the meal for a longer time;
- Reduces insulin resistance;
- Low blood sugar levels after meals;
Pectin is another type of fiber that we find in bananas. Pectin gives consistency and helps the banana to acquire a specific shape. When the banana is overcooked, the enzymes begin to break down the pectins and the fruit becomes soft. Also, pectin can reduce appetite and regulate blood sugar after meals and protect against colon cancer.
Do bananas help with weight loss?
Unfortunately, there are no specific studies that demonstrate the effects of bananas on the weight loss process. However, a study in obese people with diabetes investigated how unripe bananas affect insulin weakness and sensitivity. The researchers found that ingesting 24 grams of resistant fiber (from bananas) every day for 4 weeks helped to weaken and help improve insulin sensitivity.
The reason why bananas could help in weight loss is the high fiber content that “cuts” hunger.
Although there are no clear studies to confirm that bananas are helping in weight loss, they have many properties that can help in this process. Certainly, it is an extremely handy fruit before or after the meal, in homemade ice cream or simply as a quick snack when we are on the go.
If you are on a low-carb diet, bananas are not highly recommended, a single average banana having a content of 25-27 grams of carbohydrates.
What other benefits do bananas have?
- Rich in potassium. An average banana has about 0.4 grams of potassium, about 9% of the recommended daily dose. Potassium is an important mineral that plays a crucial role in controlling blood pressure and kidney function.
- Rich in magnesium . Magnesium-rich content can help protect against multiple chronic diseases, heart disease, type 2 diabetes. They also have a beneficial effect on bones and sports recovery.
- Helps in digestion . Green bananas are rich in resistant fibers and pectin. These babies act as a prebiotic, which feeds the friendly bacteria in the digestive system thus reducing the risk of colon cancer.
So do bananas make you fat?
Depending on the level of ripeness, bananas have a glycemic index between 42 and 62 and about 105 calories (an average banana). That doesn’t mean much at all.
Fat burning occurs when we eat more calories than we burn. That’s not the case when we eat a banana or two. If the banana comes after eating an entire cake and / or fast food, it will definitely fatten up, but not because of the banana. The weight loss process is a sum of all the actions (or inactions).
I personally consume bananas almost daily. Before or after training they are excellent. They also give excellent protein shake consistency. If the bananas are a bit too ripe, I still consume them with a little almond butter to delay the absorption of the sugar they contain. In no case do they throw them if they have those dark spots; you can peel and freeze them and later you can use them in ice cream or smoothies.
Studies show that those with latex allergy have allergy to bananas (30-50%).