Are bananas good for weight loss? Do they make you fat? I have the answers for you.
As a dietitian, the first thing I want to get in your head is that size matters, meaning portion sizes. A five inch banana is not the same as 7, or 10 inches. Are you going to enjoy it for breakfast or a snack? You need to understand the size that is best for you. So here are key things to consider when you’re wondering if bananas make you fat, with ways to enjoy bananas that can even fit into your weight loss plan.
So, Do Bananas Make You Fat?
Let’s be real here…it isn’t the banana making you gain weight. And no, bananas don’t make you fat. In my 20+ years of being a dietitian, I’ve never had someone say they gained 100 pounds from eating too many bananas.
It’s what you do or don’t enjoy the banana with, and the rest of your decisions in the day that makes the biggest impact. Unless you’re eating several bananas a day…then that is a whole other situation.
I recommend eating no more than one banana a day. Focus on a range of fruits and vegetables instead. Diversity is best!
Nutrition Comparison of Different Sizes of Bananas
As I’m sure you know, not all bananas are the same. And paying attention to the size of them can make a difference in managing your weight goals. Here is a nutrition comparison between three different sizes.
- 19g of carbs
- 72 calories
- 2g of fiber
- 27g of carbs
- 105 calories
- 3g of fiber
- 35g of carbs
- 135 calories
- 4g of fiber
They all contain antioxidants and potassium, with minimal fat and protein.
Bananas and Weight Loss
How does this come into play with weight loss? Many people say sugar is why bananas are fattening or bad for weight loss. But the sugar in the banana is 100% naturally occurring from the fruit. Plus, it provides energy.
If you’re looking to lose weight, look for a 4-5 inch banana. If you can’t find them at your store, simply cut a larger banana in half.
What to Pair with a Banana
Your body needs carbohydrates, including sugar, for fuel. But you don’t want carbs to be single. Since they contain little fiber, protein, and fat, they need to date other foods.
The key is to make sure you pair banana with protein and/or fat. For example, you can also enjoy a banana with a protein bar for sustained energy. I have a post all about the best protein bars for weight loss. Here are a few more examples of foods to pair with bananas.
1. Breakfast or a 4pm Snack
Enjoy an 8″ banana, cottage cheese for protein, strawberries, and blueberries. You can add a few nuts to this as well.
2. 1 Hr at the Gym or Weight Lifting
Eat before exercise, and enjoy milk, protein powder, and a 4-5″ banana. It will give you enough energy for your workout.
3. Run or Cycling – Endurance Training
Use 2 types of carbohydrates – banana as the simple sugar for quick energy, oats that will burn throughout the hour or longer, and peanut butter.
With each of these food pairing examples, you’ll feel full and not want to go back for more just an hour later. It can also help prevent overeating later in the day.
Final Dietitian Thoughts on Bananas and Weight Loss
Next time you consider enjoying a banana, don’t second guess yourself. Bananas are fruit, and fruit is good for you! Just make sure to pair it with the right foods to make it a balanced option to stay on track with your weight goals.