I’ve wanted to write this post for a while because it is the most common question I get during counseling sessions with clients who are managing their diabetes or want to lose weight: can I eat a banana? I am not sure why out of all fruits the banana was chosen, but it seems that this fruit has had a bad rep even though it is one of the most beneficial fruits out there! I hear things like “I heard the banana has the most sugar out of all fruits” or “Eating a banana makes you gain weight” or I should avoid the banana because I have diabetes”. So in today’s post I want to set the record straight for all the banana deprived people and encourage you to let go and enjoy your banana!

Bananas and Sugars
The banana (and all fruit) has natural sugars called fructose. Fructose is a simple sugar that our body uses for energy. It is a type of simple carbohydrate, which means that our body doesn’t need to digest it very much before it is absorbed. Therefore, the banana is great for providing us with a quick burst of energy. Our body needs sugar from carbohydrates to function and this is especially true for our brain and red blood cells.

Now as I mentioned all fruit has natural sugar. The point I’d like to say is that all fruit has the SAME amount of sugar if you are eating the SAME quantities of each one. So yes eating a whole banana has more carbohydrate (sugar) than a small sized apple but that’s because you’re eating more banana, not because the banana has more sugar! And that’s the case for grapes, melons, berries and all fruits. It depends on how much you’re eating of it at one time. So ½ a banana has the same amount of carbohydrate as a small apple which has the same amount of sugar as one medium tangerine! So if you have diabetes and are following your diabetes meal plan, ½ a banana has 15 g of carbohydrate so yes you can eat your banana! Depending on your specific meal plan you could eat the whole banana (which would be 30 g of carbs) or just ½ the banana and finish the rest for a snack.  I truly hope this straightens things out.

{If you have diabetes and don’t have a specific meal plan then I recommend you book an appointment with a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator (me for a nutrition consult to make sure you are managing your blood sugars and health!]

So what about the other fruits? How do you know how much ‘natural sugar’ is in them and how much to eat?
If you have diabetes you may have heard of the term ‘carbohydrate exchanges’ which is basically a term that tells you how much of a carbohydrate equals 15 g. Each ‘unit’ or serving equals 15 g. Below I have included a small list of carbohydrate exchanges for fruits. For a quick general rule, if the fruit is the size of a medium fist then it has around 15 g of carbohydrate. Note the serving for fruit juice: ½ cup! Whole fruit is obviously a better deal- more filling and more fiber!

Each serving below equals to 15 g carbohydrate:


​So back to the bananas. What are the benefits of a banana?

Besides giving us energy, bananas are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber. The banana is mostly known for its high potassium content, which helps in controlling blood pressure and allows nerves and muscles to work together. Bananas also contains high levels of vitamin C, B6 and manganese. A medium banana has 3 g of fiber. How about the calories? One medium banana (7”) has 100 calories! That’s it! 100 calories of goodness, sweetness, energy, fiber and vitamins! It is truly the perfect option for breakfast or as a snack. Note: if you have kidney disease or any other condition that limits you from eating high potassium foods then please talk to your doctor first.

So now what?
I don’t know about you but I’m craving a banana now. How about you? I love an open faced banana toast with drizzled almond butter. Or enjoy in a warm homemade banana bread. Or simply just as is!
So will you be eating a banana with me?

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