Go Bananas! - Edge of Wellness

Go Bananas!

  Thanks to my fav girl power icon Gwen Stefani, I know how to spell “B-A-N-A-N-A-S”!

Post spin class my boyfriend asked me if I wanted a banana in my protein shake and I scoffed, “No! Bananas make you FAT“!  He gave me one of those, “What?!?” looks and immediately pulled out his iPhone and asked, “Siri, do bananas make you fat”?

As a trainer and serial dieter myself, I was sure I had read somewhere that, due to their fat and calorie content, avoiding bananas was the recommendation.  And, opposed to the apple, bananas were not on the low-glycemic index list?  Had all this time I been missing out?

From a fitness perspective, it seems that the apple and the blue berry are always on the top of the list for must-eats.  So, let’s do a general comparison of the three:

Banana                   Apple                     Blue Berry

kCal      105 (1 med)         95 (1 med)              85 (half cup)

Fat          0.4                         0.3                            0.5

Protein  1.3g                        0.5g                          1.1g

Carbs     27g                         25g                            21g

Sugar     14g                         19g                            15g

Fiber     3.1g                        4.4g                           3.6g


Looking at the basic nutrition facts, even though the banana is highest in calories, it really is only a nominal 10 kcals.  Is that really enough difference to scare me away?  Remembering what I have heard, the big issue of the banana is the fat and sugar content.  From the above data, the fat content is relatively the same.  And, surprisingly, the banana has the lowest sugar contents– lower that the apple– which is the classic low glycemic fruit of choice!  As for fiber, the banana is the lowest but not far off from the others.  The big winner here for me is the protein content.  1.3 grams of protein in a medium banana compared to the apple at 0.5?  Blue berries are right up there too.  From now on, I am putting both a banana and blueberries in my smoothies!

Moreover, from a vitamin and mineral standpoint, bananas are an amazing source of potassium and magnesium.  The potassium and magnesium in bananas may help protect you from muscle cramps at night and during workouts. Bananas are rich in pectin, a soluble dietary fiber and natural detoxifying agent, great for digestion. Banana fiber contains prebiotics that encourages the growth of healthy bacteria in the bowel. In addition, they are a good source of vitamin C– 17% of your recommended daily intake, which equals an immunity boost! 

The misconception that bananas are not conducive for weight loss or healthy eating is just that– a misconception!  Bananas are NOT going to make you fat.  And the health benefits of the vitamins and minerals far outweigh any negative.