The banana split: Can bananas really fit into your weight-loss plan?
- 1 Minute Read
The internet has gone, well, "bananas" over bananas and weight loss. It appears that there are just as many voices touting the virtues of the beloved "prepackaged" yellow fruit as naysayers questioning the value of this tropical favorite.
According to the USDA, bananas are the most popular fresh fruit eaten by Americans. The average person consumes 10.3 pounds of bananas per year. But do bananas fit into a weight-loss plan?
Let's explore the pros and cons together.
Bananas are well known for their potassium content. With 537 mg of potassium in one cup of sliced bananas (higher than most fruit), a banana provides 15% of potassium's daily value (DV). High blood pressure can be prevented and lowered by following the DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), which emphasizes foods rich in potassium and low in sodium. One cup of bananas has only 1 mg of sodium!
Most fruits are poor sources of vitamin B6; however, bananas come packed with vitamin B6, with a single serving providing 28% of the DV. Vitamin B6 is a "behind the scenes" vitamin and helps with cardiovascular, digestive, immune, muscular, and nervous functions. Vitamin B6 also helps develop the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which affect mood.
A serving of bananas contains 3.9 grams of fiber, which can help you meet your daily fiber goal. Fiber helps you feel fuller longer, which can prevent overeating and help you lose weight.
The MyPlate food plan developed by the USDA recommends that women eat one and one-half cups of fruit per day and men eat two cups of fruit per day. Bananas and other colorful fruit help to meet this goal.
A sweet small, six-inch banana provides 90 calories compared to one cup of rich vanilla ice cream at 532 calories, saving you 3094 calories over a week. Swapping a banana for ice cream and adding a short walk each day could help you meet your one-pound per week weight loss goal.
If you have hunger pangs during your workday, pack a banana rather than head to the vending machine. At 90 calories, a small banana contains more vitamins and minerals than many pre-packaged 100-calorie snacks.
Bananas are higher in calories than other fruits. One cup of sliced bananas (a medium banana) contains 134 calories compared to one cup of sliced strawberries, (53 calories) or one cup of diced watermelon (46 calories).
Packed with potassium, vitamin B6, and fiber, bananas can be incorporated into a healthy weight-loss plan. By working on a healthy lifestyle, meaning being physically active each day and controlling calories, you too can lose the weight you want.
Quick and Easy Banana Ideas
Enjoy these delicious banana recipes from our Premium recipe collection to incorporate bananas into your eating plan!
Reviewed and updated by Brenda Braslow on February 17, 2022.
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