I often have people ask me if they should be eating bananas. They’ve heard bananas are high in sugar & since sugar is bad for you, bananas must also be bad for you. This nutrition thing can be a little confusing and sometimes contradictory at times!
First of all, let’s just address the whole idea of food being good or bad. There are too many extra layers of feelings when we think about food in these terms. Thinking about food this way leads to us feeling good about ourselves when we eat a salad and then feeling guilty about a piece of cake. This is not the way to build a healthy relationship with food. All food has value, even the food that we may consider to be less than ideal, nutritionally speaking.
Now, let’s take a closer look at bananas together.
One small banana contains 90 calories, 1mg of sodium, 23 grams of carbs with 3 grams of fiber. The sugars in a banana come in at 12 grams – that’s about 3 teaspoons.
A banana also contains vitamin A, C, folate, choline, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and a large amount of potassium. Potassium is important for your heart health. It also supports muscle movement, your nervous system as well as your kidneys as they filter blood.
But what about all that sugar?
The sugars in a banana are not added sugars. There’s a big difference between added sugars and sugars that naturally occur in fruit. A couple servings of fruit a day is good for us! Having said that, I do recommend limiting our intake of tropical fruits to one or two servings per day because they are higher in sugar than our locally grown fruits. Great fruits with less sugar include apples, pears & berries. While you are at it, add in several servings of veggies too.
Bottom line? Added sugars are what we need to be careful of. If you want a banana, EAT A BANANA and choose whole foods over a prepackaged snack whenever you can. If your health care provider has instructed you to reduce your overall sugar intake, start by removing processed foods first. You just might be amazed at the changes you experience simply by focusing on whole foods in your daily diet.