Written By: Sofia Layarda, RD
Last Updated on:
Are you or your loved ones banana fans? It’s easy to love bananas: They are self-enclosed, completely biodegradable travel snacks and tasty to boot! What is there not to like?
Do Bananas Have Too Much Sugar?
Bananas’ sweetness and appealing “banana-y” flavor may lead some to believe they are very high in sugar. This isn’t true: They are very comparable in carbohydrates to other fruits. Here are some numbers for comparison:
|Serving Size||1 large||1 large||1 cup|
|Calories||121 kcal||116 kcal||104 kcal|
|Total Sugar||16.6 g||23.2 g||23.4 g|
|Total Carbohydrates||31 g||30.8 g||27 g|
|Fiber||3.5 g||5.4 g||1 g|
|Glycemic IndexLow: less than 55||Unripe: 31Ripe: 51||28 to 44 depending on type and ripeness||43 to 53|
Bananas and Blood Sugar
People with diabetes or prediabetes may have received the suggestion to only eat half a banana in one sitting. This is because bananas vary widely in size and can therefore have a different impact on blood sugar depending on the portion size. An extra-small banana (6 inches long or less) has 18.5 g carbohydrates, whereas a large banana (8 to 8 7/8 inches long) has 31 g carbohydrates. So bananas can fit into a diabetes meal plan as long as you plan accordingly.
Other Nutrients in Bananas
Bananas are also high in potassium and Vitamin B6, and are a good source of fiber. Potassium is an important nutrient that counteracts the blood-pressure-raising effect of sodium, while Vitamin B6 is involved in many metabolic processes in the body, such as protein metabolism, production of neurotransmitters, glucose and glycogen metabolism, immune function, and hemoglobin formation. Another plus: A 2008 study from Uppsala University in Sweden suggests that a phytonutrient called 2-pentanone, commonly found in bananas, may help prevent the development of colon cancer.
The Bottom Line
Relax: Just like many other fruits and vegetables, bananas contain beneficial nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. This isn’t a reason to consume solely bananas, of course. Instead, aim to get a wide variety of fresh produce with different colors to get the maximum benefit.
Sofia believes in bringing back fun and pleasure into everyday eating. She loves cooking, and is constantly experimenting with ingredients, creating recipes and trying them out on family and friends. Her latest interest lies in finding realistic and practical ways of environmentally-friendly food/eating habits.