Do Bananas Make You Fat?

Food, Food Benefits, Nutrition

By: Chris Freytag, CPT // February 21, 2024


The bashing of bananas has received a lot of attention with articles such as “eating bananas causes weight gain” to “Stop eating bananas for a flatter stomach.” Just when you thought fruit was safe, you’re now being told one of nature’s natural candies can be a threat to your weight. Whoa!

Let me start by saying that I, a certified fitness expert, eat a banana every day. If bananas made you fat, I’d be the poster child.

So how did this simplistic fruit, grown from the earth and unprocessed, get such a bad rap in recent months? And do bananas make you gain weight? Or are bananas actually good for weight loss?

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    Bananas Won’t Make You Gain Weight Because It’s Not A Processed Sugar

    The more processed a food is, the more nutrients it loses due to ridding the food of its natural state. Nutrients such as vitamins and minerals are essential for helping the body function on a day-to-day basis.

    So why would an unprocessed, wholesome food such as a banana be considered “bad for you?” One of the reasons for this type of logic is that bananas contain sugar, and sugar, therefore, makes you bloated, overweight, etc.

    However, there is a big difference between processed sugars and natural sugar.

    Processed Sugar Vs. Natural Occuring Sugar

    I’m happy to shed light on why natural sugars found in fruits like bananas differ from processed sugars and why it’s absolutely okay to include any fruit in a balanced diet.

    Nutrient Density

    Fruits are not just a source of sugar; they come packed with essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. These nutrients play crucial roles in supporting overall health, immune function, and disease prevention.

    Processed sugars, on the other hand, lack these essential nutrients and are often referred to as “empty calories.”

    Fiber Content

    Fruits contain dietary fiber, which slows down the absorption of sugar and helps regulate blood sugar levels. Fiber also promotes satiety, making you feel fuller for longer, which can aid in weight management.

    Processed sugars, like those found in candies or sugary beverages, lack this fiber, causing a quicker spike in blood sugar levels.

    Phytonutrients and Antioxidants

    Fruits are rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants that have various health benefits, including reducing inflammation and protecting cells from damage. These compounds are generally absent in processed sugars, which have been stripped of natural components during refining.

    Slow Energy Release

    The natural sugars in fruits are accompanied by other macronutrients like fiber, which slows down the digestion and absorption of sugars. This gradual release of energy helps maintain steady blood sugar levels, providing a sustained source of energy.

    In contrast, processed sugars can lead to rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar, contributing to feelings of fatigue and cravings.

    Gut Health

    The fiber in fruits also plays a crucial role in promoting a healthy gut microbiome. A balanced and diverse gut microbiota has been linked to various health benefits, including improved digestion and immune function.

    Portion Control and Whole Food Approach

    Fruits come in their natural packaging, and it’s relatively easy to consume them in appropriate portions. On the other hand, processed sugars often hide in various foods, making it easier to consume excessive amounts without realizing it.

    Health Benefits Of A Banana

    Aa already explained fruit is truly nutrient rich. Bananas in particular contain potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, biotin, copper, and manganese.

    Fiber

    The fiber in a banana is naturally occurring fiber, which means you’ll most likely feel more full and satisfied versus consuming a cereal or granola bar containing isolated fiber.

    Isolated fibers are those added to increase their fiber content but are not naturally found in the foods. Some examples you’ll see on a processed food label are inulin, maltodextrin, and polydextrose.

    Potassium

    The potassium in a typical medium banana fulfills around 10 percent of the daily recommended intake for adults. Potassium has been shown to lower blood pressure, sustain muscle mass, regulate your body’s salt intake and preserve bone mineral density.

    Vitamin B

    The vitamin B6 in a banana fulfills around 30-35 percent of the daily recommended intake for adults.

    The benefits of vitamin B include treating anemia, promoting healthy nervous system functioning, producing energy from food, and maintaining healthy skin, eyes, hair, and liver.

    Vitamin B6 is found in most animal-based products, so for vegetarians and vegans, consuming a banana a day is a great way to attain almost half of the recommended intake.

    Manganese

    Manganese regulars blood sugar which jumpstart your metabolism. It’s also good for your skin and produces collagen.

    Clearly, the nutrients in bananas can nourish your body more than a processed food product.

    Can You Overeat Bananas?

    The only thing you need to be aware of is if you’re consuming bananas like a chimpanzee (you consume a large quantity of them daily!) then yes, you will need to be concerned about weight gain. However this goes for any food: if you consume food in large quantities, you’re more likely going to consume more calories than you burn and possibly gain weight from that.

    Eating in moderation is always the key to a healthy diet! If you choose to consume bananas daily, a general guideline is to consume no more than two per day.

    Are Bananas Good For Weight Loss?

    Consuming one banana a day is a great addition to a healthy weight loss plan. In addition to all the nutrients mentioned above, bananas are full of fiber that fiber is what helps keep you full for longer.

    Studies have shown that eating a diet high in fiber can help with weight loss by up to 30%.

    Delicious Ways to Incorporate Bananas Into Your Diet

    Bananas As A Topping

    Slice bananas and add them on top of cereal, yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, etc.

    Banana Nice Cream

    Peel ripe bananas and freeze them in a plastic bag. Thaw them for an easy homemade banana ice cream using frozen bananas and a food processor.

    Bananas In Baked Goods

    Substitute for oil in baked goods Use ripe bananas for delicious banana bread

    [ghuvideo slug="chocolate-chip-banana-bread-peanut-butter-drizzle"]

    Bananas In Smoothies

    Incorporate them into one of our yummy and satisfying smoothie recipes.

    Banana Faster Smoothie 

    Cashew Banana Smoothie

    Banana Split Smoothie

    Banana Pancakes

    Try these delicious two-ingredient pancakes. 

    You know you've heard it before: "bananas make you fat" but do they really? We're revealing the truth here.


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      Printed from GetHealthyU.com

      12 Comments


      on Reply

      I did wonder about this asi have been eating a banana a day recently and have gained body fat. I have even cut down on other food intake too. I think I may have to find a banana substitute.


      on Reply

      can i ask i eat banana 6 times a day and can i make gain weight with that?? because i subtitute banana for rice


        on Reply

        Hi there - any food in large quantities, like 6 bananas a day, can add to a higher calorie intake and thus weight gain. So, yes, in this case it's possible to gain weight just from the higher calorie intake.


      on Reply

      It’s not as easy as saying no bananas don’t make you fat. It depends how your body reacts to them and how they are processed. I’ve tracked my weight and blood sugar eating bananas and not eating bananas and I can tell you with confidence they spike my blood sugar and they cause me to gain weight, when I cut them out I lose it again.


      on Reply

      banana, unsw almond milk, blend, too good to be true


      on Reply

      So bananas won't make you gain weight right?


        on Reply

        Right! If you add 10 bananas a day to your diet, you might, but no one is going to do that, and it doesn't have anything to do with the banana, just the amount!


      on Reply

      Thanks for that interesting article. I have a mind of my own. The bananas stay!


      on Reply

      Thx for the truth about a fruit I love!


      on Reply

      Banana good 4 ya


      on Reply

      I like nanners!


      on Reply

      The isolated fibers you mentioned are straight up Sugar. Don't disguise them as fiber like the money grubbing industries do.



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