Are bananas bad for losing weight?
Bananas are a controversial fruit for some dieters. On one hand, they are a fruit – so obviously, eating a banana is going to be a better choice than eating a donut or a candy bar.
But for the very health-conscious, the questions remains of whether or not bananas are really worth the time. There are fruits that seem to offer better benefits than bananas for the calories, and let’s also not forget that bananas are inherently high in carbohydrates.
But does this make them a bad choice for weight loss? Will eating bananas possibly hinder your efforts to shrink your waistline, or should they be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet?
Here’s what you need to know.
Bananas are extremely good for you
The average banana only packs in a little over 100 calories. It also contains 27 grams of carbs, 14 grams of naturally occurring sugar, and 3 grams of satiating fiber.
Yes, bananas are a bit high in calories and carbs – but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make use of them. They contain a wealth of essential nutrients, and make an excellent fuel-food for workouts – both pre and post.
Plus, let’s be honest – they are extremely easy to carry around with you, taste great, and make an excellent addition to a fruit-based meal or smoothie.
They’re also full of potassium, which does a great job of warding off post-workout muscle cramps, and they can help to replenish electrolytes lost through sweat.
But they also help to boost metabolism! As it turns out, green bananas contain quite a bit of what health-experts call ‘resistant starch’. This is an excellent addition to your diet because it’s good for the bacteria in the gut. It also promotes better fat oxidation, and suppresses your appetite.
But that’s not all. Bananas are also a well-known bloat buster. If you feel bloated, eating a banana can help to clean out your system – and may also help to reduce water retention.
The secret to this effect is the fact that bananas are an excellent source of prebiotic fiber and potassium. Prebiotic fiber helps to improve digestion, and potassium helps with water retention.
But bananas are also beneficial for another reason… they tend to carry fewer pesticides than other fruits. Studies have shown that their thick peel does an excellent job of shielding the fruit within from dangerous pesticides. This means that bananas are actually a very low-toxic fruit… and unless you get all of your fruit from a source that guarantees it to be pesticide free, this isn’t a benefit to scoff at!
Fruits like peaches and apples always tend to rank highly in toxic pesticide levels… whereas bananas are much safer in this respect.
Tips for using bananas to lose weight
Information! Bananas aren’t necessarily a fruit that you want to consume in large amounts if you’re trying to lose weight, as they are calorie and carb heavy – but consuming them will actually help your weight loss efforts in the right amounts, not hinder it.
Many experts agree that sticking to one medium-sized banana per day (or about a 5-inch-portion of the fruit) will give you all of the benefits without working against your weight loss efforts.
Obviously, choosing a banana over a donut, a cookie, or something similar is a good idea – but if you’re really cracking down on your diet and want to maximize results, then limiting your banana intake and choosing different fruits and vegetables to consume during other parts of the day isn’t a bad idea.
If you wish to consume green bananas, you can help to mask the bitter taste by blending them into a smoothie. They taste great with yogurt and other fruits. Raspberries and strawberries can make excellent additions to any banana smoothie, as can blueberries, cinnamon, and honey.
And if you’re hoping to use bananas as a re-fueling food after workouts, try pairing it with a hard-boiled egg or a tablespoon of almond butter!