An apple per day used to keep the doctor away, but it seems that bananas have become the most popular fruit for many. As with all fruits, it’s important to understand how many calories and carbohydrates bananas have before committing to eating more of them in your diet.
That isn’t to say anyone should avoid fruit — anything natural like a piece of fruit is miles ahead of anything processed on the market. But if you’re living a clean, healthy lifestyle and striving for even more improvement, you’ll want to better understand the nutritional composition of everything you eat; fruits included.
A medium banana contains 105 calories, on average. Extremely large bananas can get up to 135 calories, while a cup of mashed bananas contains around 200 calories. About 93% of a banana’s calories come from carbs, 4% from protein, and 3% from fat. This means that bananas contain primarily naturally-occurring sugar as their nutritional offering.
The average banana has only 100-150 calories and can help keep you in a caloric deficit if weight loss is your goal
Carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables are not the same as processed white carbs like breads, cereals, and pastas. But if your diet is carbohydrate-restrictive (and you understand the big picture implications of that type of diet), then you may want to avoid lots of fruits like bananas because of the sugar spike you’ll endure. Even subtracting the 2-4 grams of fiber from the carb count of a banana (for “net carbs“) still yields about 32 g of carbs for a single large banana. That’s fairly significant.
The upside to eating lots of fruit is the micro-nutritional profile. In addition to good fiber, bananas also pack vitamin B6, vitamin C, Manganese, Potassium, Folate, and vitamin B2 — all in bioavailable forms. The human body always prefers food sources to supplements for its micronutrients, so bananas are a great choice for naturally-occurring vitamins.
The bottom line is simple: bananas will affect your blood sugar (which may be a great thing if you’re needing a quick energy boost). But considering there are so few calories in a banana and so many nutrients, you’d be crazy to skip them for fear of gaining weight.
Fruit is naturally-sweet and delicious, and they make wonderful desserts for anyone looking to kick a sugar habit and get healthier. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more nutritious 100 calories than a delicious, ripe banana.