How Many Calories Are in a Banana: Nutrients, Carbs + Benefits

Banana Calories
Banana Calories

One of the world’s most beloved fruits is the humble yet delicious banana. Its thick peel makes it the perfect, portable snack, chock full of nutrition. Originating from Southeast Asia, bananas are technically a berry and can be found in a variety of colors and sizes.

Bananas have a firm and creamy flesh that is protected by a thick peel. In the United States, more bananas are eaten than apples and oranges combined. The most popular banana is the Cavendish, but plantains are eaten throughout the globe, as well as red and burro varietals. While many popular varieties of banana can be eaten raw, plantains have a higher starch content and therefore often cooked.

Bananas also can be eaten at various stages of ripeness. They are often harvested while very green and unripe to survive transport and shipping. How ripe the banana is often impacted by some of the nutrient content.

Bananas contain little to no pesticides, as their peels are thick and protective. Readily available and easily digestible, bananas are often used with other bland foods like rice and plain toast to recover from morning sickness, nausea, stomach viruses, or other gastrointestinal distress.

Banana Nutrition Facts:

BANANACALORIESCARBS FIBERSUGAR
Extra small (6 inches or less)7219 g2.1g9.9g
Small (6-7 inches long)9023 g2.6g12.4g
Medium10527g3.1g14.4g
Large 12131g3.5g16.63g
Extra Large15235g4g18.59g
Sliced (1 cup, 150 grams)134 34g3.9g9.17g
Mashed20051g5.8g27.53g

There are 105 calories in a medium banana, which measures about 7 inches long. While bananas have little protein (1 g) and fat (0 g), they do contain 27 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of which are fiber (1).

A medium banana also contains 422 mg potassium, 26 mg of phosphorus, 10 mg of vitamin C, and 24 mcg of folate (1).

It also contains 20% daily values of vitamin B6.

Bananas also provide a modest amount of magnesium, riboflavin, niacin, copper, and manganese. It also provides trace amounts of vitamins E, vitamin K, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, zinc, selenium, as well as omega-3 and omega -6 fatty acids. (1)

Based on the sizing, you can estimate an average-sized banana contains about 100 calories.

And as we mentioned earlier, over 90% of that is coming from carbs. They also contain some fiber, about 2 to 4 grams.

Fiber is undigestable by the human body, so you can subtract the amount of fiber it contains to get the net carbs.

Is It Ok to Eat a Banana Every Day?

Many people enjoy eating a banana on a daily basis. It can complete a breakfast, be thrown into a smoothie, or tucked away for a snack. Bananas do not contain many calories, and virtually no fat, but are rich in vitamins and minerals.

Most people can safely enjoy a banana every day as part of a healthy lifestyle. A portion or serving size of banana is considered one medium banana, which usually measures about 7 inches long.

While many people consume bananas on a regular basis without any ill health impacts, there are some populations that should consider avoiding or limiting bananas in their regular diet. People suffering from diabetes or chronic kidney disease would do well to monitor their banana consumption.

Bananas and Diabetes

As bananas are rich in carbohydrates, diabetics must balance their carbohydrate intake with their medication and physical activity to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. That said, bananas also contain 3 grams of fiber, which has been shown to improve blood sugar control by reducing spikes in blood sugar (2).

Additionally, studies have found that resistant starch, which can be found in green bananas, has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, and improve insulin sensitivity (3, 4).

Resistant starch is not broken down as efficiently as other starches. Studies have found that resistant starches may be beneficial for diabetes.

Foods with a lower glycemic index have been shown to improve blood glucose levels by preventing spikes in blood sugar. Bananas have a Glycemic Index score of 42-62, depending on the ripeness of the fruit, which is considered low to medium (5).

The more green a banana is, it is richer in resistant starch. As a banana ripens, those starches convert into sugars, raising their glycemic index.

Patients with diabetes should talk with their doctor or a registered dietitian about their meal pattern, and determine if and how a banana could safely fit into their lifestyle on a daily basis.

Kidney Disease and Bananas

Bananas also boast a lot of potassium, about 12% of our daily needs. People diagnosed with chronic kidney disease may find that they have a hard time processing potassium, and may need a low potassium diet. In this case, eating bananas every day may cause too much potassium to build up in their body.

Patients with chronic kidney disease should talk with their doctor or a registered dietitian about their meal pattern, and determine if and how a banana could safely fit into their lifestyle on a daily basis.

Is a Banana Bad for Weight Loss?

There are no studies linking banana consumption to weight gain, or impeding weight loss efforts.

How many calories in an banana? There are only 105 calories in banana.

Bananas are relatively low in calories, yet are filling. This is due to their fiber content. A medium banana contains 3 grams of fiber, which is 12% of the recommended daily intake for women.

Fiber-rich diets have been linked to many positive health outcomes, including healthy body weight and weight loss (6). A diet rich in fruits and vegetables may help one lose weight.

Can Banana Make You Fat?

There are 105 calories in 1 banana, and they are a good source of fiber. There is no reason to believe that bananas will make a person fat, or negatively impact weight loss efforts. Bananas are a good source of many nutrients, like potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C, and can be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Banana Health Benefits

Bananas are a good source of many vitamins, minerals, and fiber while being low in calories and fat. Bananas are also rich in antioxidants and other plant compounds that have been linked to health benefits.

In fact, bananas have been linked to heart health, digestive health, celiac disease, and stomach ulcers. They are also a good source of energy.

Potassium for Heart Health

Potassium is a mineral that helps the body maintain a regular heartbeat. It is also an electrolyte that helps the body regulate water and fluid levels. In this way, potassium helps to lower the risk of hypertension, or high blood pressure.

Bananas are a good source of potassium. One medium banana contains 422 mg of potassium. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends consuming 3510 mg of potassium daily in order to keep blood pressure in a healthy range and decrease the risk of heart disease (8).

Bottom Line: Bananas may help regulate blood pressure and prevent heart disease.

Keeping Bowels Healthy

Half of the fiber found in bananas is insoluble fiber.

Insoluble fiber aids in trapping waste products in the body, and shuttling them out through waste. It also helps to keep stools soft and bowel habits regular. Additionally, bananas are a good source of resistant starch.

Resistant starch is not broken down in the same way as other starches.

Studies have found that resistant starch may be beneficial for bowel health. Fiber and resistant starches act like as probiotics, which have been linked to healthy digestive tracts.

Studies have found that when given cooked green banana, children recovered from diarrhea faster than those who were not given the banana. (9,10)

Bottom Line: Due to their fiber and resistant starch content, bananas can be part of a healthy diet that keeps bowels healthy.

Bananas for Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is marked by a total intolerance to gluten that causes a severe reaction, including gastrointestinal distress, as part of the immune-mediated response. Patients must follow a strict gluten-free diet.

One study found that pasta made of green banana flour was beneficial as it did not illicit a reaction, but was rich in nutrients that may be lost during periods of acute reaction. (11)

Bottom Line: As alternative flours are explored for those with Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance, bananas are a rich source of nutrients that can be used to make pastas and more.

Bananas and Stomach Ulcers

Bananas may help prevent stomach ulcers by aiding in the production of a certain protective lining in the stomach, This layer helps protect against stomach acid. This layer also contains compounds called protease inhibitors that may kill bacteria in the stomach, including the bacteria that causes ulcers.

In one study, it was found that an extract from plantains may be beneficial to treat ulcers, but more research is needed. (12)

Easy Energy Source

Bananas are a good source of energy-rich carbohydrates, as well as vitamins and minerals. Bananas contain both complex and simple carbohydrates, which helps to provide a quick burst of energy, as well as sustained energy for several hours.

A 2012 study compared bananas to a beverage containing carbohydrates and tested their ability to refuel athletes. The group given bananas had better antioxidant capacity, as well as lower oxidative stress. (13)

Bottom Line: Bananas are a great source of energy, providing simple and complex carbohydrates.

Final Word

Bananas are a rich source of many vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber. They are low in calories, portable, and available year-round at reasonable prices.

There are many health benefits that come with consuming bananas regularly. Bananas are a good source of potassium, which is linked to heart health. Eating bananas may be part of a healthy lifestyle that is rich in fruits and vegetables may help one lose weight. They have shown some benefits for those who suffer with Celiac disease when used as an alternative flour to wheat flour.

Bananas may also help those who suffer chronic stomach ulcers. Additionally, bananas are a healthy source of both rapid and sustained energy, making them a great addition to meals and snacks.

There are some individuals, like those with diabetes or kidney disease, who may need to limit or avoid bananas. Patients with diabetes or chronic kidney disease should discuss the consumption of bananas in relation to their medication, meal pattern, physical activity, and overall health with a doctor or dietitian nutritionist. Most people can enjoy bananas on a regular basis as part of a healthy diet.

References 

  1. FoodData Central Search Results. FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/786652/nutrients 
  2. Weickert M, Pfeiffer A. Metabolic effects of dietary fiber consumption and prevention of diabetes. Journal of Nutrition. 2008 Mar;138(3):439-42. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18287346
  3. Falconer A, et al. Health Benefits of Green Banana Consumption: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2019; 11 (6): 1222. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6627159/.
  4. Costa E, et al. Beneficial effects of green banana biomass consumption in patients with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial. The British journal of nutrition. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30887937. Published June 2019.
  5. Glycemic Index database. The University of Sydney. https://www.glycemicindex.com/foodSearch.php. Accessed April 30, 2020.
  6. Slavin J. Position of the American Dietetic Association: health implications of dietary fiber. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18953766
  7. Slavin J. Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23609775. Published Apr 2013.
  8. World Health Organization. Increasing potassium intake to reduce blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular diseases in adults. https://www.who.int/elena/titles/potassium_cvd_adults/en/. Published on February 11, 2019.
  9. Rabbani GH, Larson CP, Islam R, Saha UR, Kabir A. Green banana-supplemented diet in the home management of acute and prolonged diarrhea in children: a community-based trial in rural Bangladesh. Tropical medicine & international health : TM & IH. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20831671. Published October 2010.
  10. Giannattasio A, Guarino A, Lo Vecchio A. Management of children with prolonged diarrhea. F1000Research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4765715/. Published on February 23, 2016.
  11. Zandonadi RP, Botelho RBA, Gandolfi L, Ginani JS, Montenegro FM, Pratesi R. Green banana pasta: an alternative for gluten-free diets. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22889636. Published July 2012
  12. Prabha P, Karpagam T, Varalakshmi B, Packiavathy ASC. Indigenous anti-ulcer activity of Musa sapientum on peptic ulcer. Pharmacognosy research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249781/. Published October 2011.
  13. Nieman DC, Gillitt ND, Henson DA, et al. Bananas as an energy source during exercise: a metabolomics approach. PloS one. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3355124/. Published in 2012.
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