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Are Bananas Fattening or Weight Loss Friendly?
People who want to improve their health are often advised to eat more fruits and vegetables. However, some people worry that high-sugar fruits like bananas can be fattening.
This article explores whether bananas will make you gain or lose weight.
Nutrition Facts of Bananas
Bananas are high in many nutrients and provide many health benefits
They contain lots of fiber, carbs and some essential vitamins and minerals.
A medium-sized banana contains
- Potassium: 12% of the RDI.
- Vitamin B6: 20% of the RDI.
- Vitamin C: 17% of the RDI.
- Magnesium: 8% of the RDI.
- Copper: 5% of the RDI.
- Manganese: 15% of the RDI.
- Fiber: 3.1 grams.
This is coming with around 105 cal, 90% of which come from carbs. Most of the carbs in ripe bananas are sugars - sucrose, glucose, and fructose.
On the other hand, bananas are low in both fat and protein.
Bananas also contain a number of beneficial plant compounds and antioxidants, including dopamine and catechin.
Bananas Are High in Fiber, But Low in Calories
Calorie for calorie, bananas contain a lot of fiber. One medium banana provides around 12% of your recommended daily intake, with just 105 calories.
Fiber is important for maintaining regular bowel habits and plays a vital role in digestive health. An adequate fiber intake is also linked to reduced body weight.This effect is thought to occur because fiber makes you feel full for longer, which may help you eat fewer calories over the long term.
The Greener the Banana, the Higher the Resistant Starch
The type of carbs in a banana depends on how ripe it is.
Unripe, green bananas are high in starch and resistant starch, while ripe, yellow bananas contain mostly sugars. Resistant starches are long chains of glucose (starch) that are resistant to digestion. They act like soluble fiber in the body and have lots of potential health benefits. This includes weight loss and reduced blood sugar levels. Resistant starch can also slow down the absorption of sugar from foods. This keeps your blood sugar levels stable and helps you feel full. Furthermore, resistant starch may also increase fat burning.
Bananas Have a Low Glycemic Index, But it Depends on Ripeness
The glycemic index (GI) measures how much foods raise blood sugar levels. If a food scores lower than 55, it's considered to have a low GI. 56-69 is medium, while a score above 70 is high. Foods that contain a lot of simple sugars are quickly absorbed and have a high GI value since they cause a greater rise in blood sugar levels. Eating a lot of high-GI foods has been linked to weight gain and an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Foods with more slowly absorbed carbs have a lower GI and keep your blood sugar levels stable. Since bananas are 90% carbs, they're sometimes considered to be a high-sugar fruit that could spike your blood sugar. However, the GI score of bananas is 42-62, depending on ripeness. This makes them low to medium on the glycemic index.
Ripe bananas have a higher GI than greener bananas. The sugar content increases as the banana matures, which in turn affects your blood sugar levels. That said, overall bananas seem to release their sugars slowly.
Low-GI foods like bananas may also help you feel full and keep blood sugar levels stable.This may lead to weight loss over time.
Fattening or Weight Loss Friendly?
Bananas are healthy and nutritious, there is no doubt about that. They are also high in fiber, but low in calories.
Most bananas have a low to medium glycemic index, and should not cause big spikes in blood sugar levels compared to other high-carb foods.
Although there are no studies that directly examine the effects of bananas on weight, they do have several properties that should make them a weight loss friendly food.
If you are trying to lose weight, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with eating bananas as a part of a balanced, real food based diet.