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People who want to improve their health are often advised to eat more fruits and vegetables. And that is excellent advice. But the devil is in the details. One area of confusion is about fruits, especially the banana.
Bananas are widely available, affordable and tasty.
But are bananas helpful for weight loss?
When it comes to its role in weight loss, there can be confusion on many points such as:
In this article we will explain everything you need to know about bananas and how to include them in your weight loss diet plan.
It depends !
If you’ve visited any Indian grocery shop, you will know that there is no such thing as a generic banana. There are so many varieties available in India that you need to be a lot more specific than just saying a banana. It could be a large Morris or Nendran banana or the tiny Poovan variety.
They all are a little different in terms of calories as well as their nutrition profile.
Healthy varieties of Indian banana for weight loss. Source:Agrifarming
So there can be no single answer to the question of how many calories in one banana.
Let us look at this in terms of weight to understand how many calories in one banana. One small-to-medium sized banana (100g) contains the following:
Each banana variety might differ slightly from the above per 100 gms, but the differences are usually not very significant, and not worth tracking for a standard diet.
You may also wonder if a banana is higher in calories compared to other Indian fruits. We have listed below some common Indian fruits and their calories (per 100g):
You can end up thinking that bananas are a high-calorie food at 89 calories. This is a mistake.
It is important to recognize that every food contains a lot more than just calories. And the same is true for bananas also. Bananas are rich in a number of nutrients:
There is very little protein in banana.
A single medium-size banana (100g) gives you 10% of required potassium, 13% of manganese, 18% of vitamin B6, 15% of vitamin C, 10% of fiber and other nutrients too.
Looking at it this way, you realize that for a mere 89 calories you are meeting a big portion of your daily nutrition needs.
This will give you the right conclusion, which is that the banana is among the healthiest fruits you could possibly eat. Even if you eat 2 bananas a day, that’s only 178 calories and gives a big portion of the other nutrients you need. That is the same number of calories in 3 cream biscuits but those will give you zero nutrition!
It is worth noting that the nutrition profile of a banana changes based on how ripe it is.
When to eat a banana for managing your weight
Based on the nutrition profile, we can make the following important observations about bananas:
Observation 1:Bananasarea good source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates.
Observation 2:Bananas arenota good source of protein and contain almost zero fat.
Another takeaway from the above is that it is generally better to eat a banana before it becomes overripe.
An additional point we should consider is the glycemic index of a banana as that matters if you are worried about your blood sugar.
GI is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 1 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar (glucose) levels after eating.
Foods with a high GI (≥ 70) are those which are rapidly digested, absorbed and metabolized and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar (glucose) levels. Low GI (≤ 55) carbohydrates are ones that produce smaller fluctuations in your blood glucose.
Foods high in refined carbs and sugar (like biscuits) are digested more quickly and often have a high GI. Foods high in protein, fat, or fiber (like most vegetables) typically have a low GI.
Bananas do have sugars but they are a blend of different natural sugars.
Dietary natural sugar content in a Banana
Bananas have a GI of 42–62, depending on ripeness. This is understandable as ripe bananas have higher sugar (and therefore higher GI) than not-so-ripe bananas. The sugar content increases as the banana ripens, which in turn affects the GI and your blood sugar levels.
Therefore, based on their GI, bananas are low to medium on the glycemic index. They are not high-GI.
Bananas are helpful for weight loss and a healthy food to include as part of your weight loss diet.
There are 2 important reasons for this.
High-fiber foods take longer to digest and therefore help you feel fuller for longer. This means you feel hungry less often and therefore end up eating less food overall. All of this is helpful with weight loss.
You can boost this effect if you pair the banana with a protein-rich food like Greek yogurt or have it as part of a breakfast that includes eggs.
Dealing with sugar cravings is an important part of any weight loss diet. The banana plays an important role here as it is sweet and helps to satisfy sugar cravings.
Eating a banana will give you that sweet taste plus healthy nutrition and you can avoid eating unhealthy foods.
There is no conclusive research on any specific variety of banana being better for weight loss.
What we have learned from working with a large number of people is that the best banana is the one that is:
If it meets these conditions, you will end up eating it more often. And that is the most important factor when it comes to losing weight and maintaining that lower weight long-term.
Here are some healthy banana snack ideas that work well as part of a healthy weight loss diet.
Oats with banana is an excellent breakfast to start your day. It will digest and release blood sugar slowly and keep you feeling full for many hours.
You can add a banana to cooked oat porridge or overnight oats.
The banana is enough to give you a sweet taste. You can mash up the banana so that the sweetness is evenly spread. You do not need to use honey or any other added sugar.
Sprinkle some chia seeds or add some cinnamon for added taste.
Banana and Oats Porridge with Chia Seeds.
You can also combine banana with your preferred liquid and blend it into a smoothie. You can use milk (either dairy or non-dairy milk such as almond milk) or curd depending on how thick you like it. Alternatively, you can skip milk and just blend banana and oats with water. To make it more filling, and for some crunch, you can even add a few nuts like almonds or pistachios.
Banana and Oat Shake with Almonds and Pistachios
This is a zero-sugar dessert you should certainly try. Simply follow the steps Coach Shivani describes in this video:
Bananas are a great way to add sweetness and texture to your vegetable smoothie. Using a banana instead of other options like sugar or honey gives you lower sugar, with more nutrition and fiber, making your smoothie much more healthy and filling. You can use any combination of vegetables that you get locally.
One way to do this is to make this smoothie the earlier night and keep it in the fridge. The next day you can sip it during the day based on when you feel like a snack.
Healthy Banana Vegetable Energy Smoothie
Bananas can be eaten at any time of the day. Bananas are especially good as a pre-workout food to give you the energy you need before your exercise. Bananas are also rich in potassium which can help prevent muscle cramps.
There is also some research that indicates that bananas can help with better sleep. This is relevant as sleep plays an important role in weight loss. There is a clear connection between poor sleep and weight gain. So having a good sleep habits is necessary if you want to see weight loss.
The connection between bananas and sleep is that they are rich in magnesium and potassium – both minerals that have been shown to
help with sleep.
Eating bananas also seems to help improve melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone made by the body and plays a critical role in sleep.
Melatonin levels are low during the earlier parts of the day and gradually increase as it gets closer to bedtime. As melatonin levels increase, this signals to the body that it’s time for bed. That is when you get that sleepy feeling. Researchers have found that melatonin levels were highest approximately 2 hours after eating pineapples, oranges and bananas.
This indicates that it might be worth eating a banana later in the day. But stay flexible and eat it whenever it suits you best. The most important thing is to have this nutritious fruit (assuming that you like it) as part of your diet.
We would suggest 1 medium-sized banana a day.
Overall, we would recommend 2 medium-sized fruits a day as part of a balanced diet for weight loss.
You can have the banana as 1 of those plus eat another fruit. This will help with a variety in taste and also give you different nutrients from the other fruit.
Bananas are among the world’s most commonly consumed fruits. And for good reason.
They contain a good amount of several vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Their high fiber content helps you feel full for longer and their sweet taste helps you deal with sugar cravings.
The key is to not overeat them.
An important part of any weight loss plan is to understand that no single food has the power to make you gain or lose weight.
The balance of what you eat throughout the day, along with how active you are and how you sleep, will have the greatest impact on your weight loss, especially in the long term.
We’ve worked with thousands of Indian men and women and understand the unique challenges they face when trying to lose weight or find a weight loss diet plan. You can see some of our success stories here. The Daily9 system is proven to work as an effective weight loss diet plan. The expert coaches at Daily9 have developed practical ideas and strategies that work in real life and improve the weight loss that you can achieve with Daily9. This helps with weight loss and also many health conditions that Indian men and women face like digestive issues, diabetes, PCOS, thyroid, fatty liver and joint problems from excess weight.
While there are many calorie counters out there, we believe that a focus on quality & nutrition (and not just calories) is critical for any weight loss diet plan. Instead of tracking calories, we believe in tracking healthy habits at Daily9.
Most importantly, the Daily9 approach to weight loss is practical and suits an Indian family environment. This will set you up for success with weight loss and also weight maintenance in the long run.
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