Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Are Bananas a Healthy, Low-Calorie Snack?

Popular

By Adda Bjarnadottir

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits in the world.

They are extremely healthy and contain several important nutrients.

People generally know that bananas are very nutritious, but many wonder how many calories and carbs they actually contain.

This article answers those questions.

How Many Calories Are in Various Sizes of Bananas?

A medium-sized banana contains 105 calories, on average.

However, different sizes of bananas contain varying amounts of calories.

Below are the calorie contents of standard banana sizes (1):

  • Extra small (less than 6 inches, 81 grams): 72 calories.
  • Small (6–7 inches, 101 grams): 90 calories.
  • Medium (7–8 inches, 118 grams): 105 calories.
  • Large (8–9 inches, 136 grams): 121 calories.
  • Extra large (9 inches or longer, 152 grams): 135 calories.
  • Sliced (1 cup, 150 grams): 134 calories.
  • Mashed (1 cup, 225 grams): 200 calories.

If you're unsure about the size of your banana, you can estimate that an average-sized banana contains about 100 calories.

Ninety-three percent of a banana's calories come from carbs, 4 percent from protein and 3 percent from fat.

Bottom Line: The calorie contents of bananas range from 72–135 calories. An average-sized banana contains about 100 calories.

How Many Carbs Are in a Banana?

Bananas are almost exclusively composed of water and carbs.

Those who watch their carb intake are interested in knowing the carb content of their food.

Here is the carb content of standard banana sizes and amounts (1):

  • Extra small (less than 6 inches, 81 grams): 19 grams.
  • Small (6–7 inches, 101 grams): 23 grams.
  • Medium (7–8 inches, 118 grams): 27 grams.
  • Large (8–9 inches, 136 grams): 31 grams.
  • Extra large (9 inches or longer, 152 grams): 35 grams.
  • Sliced (1 cup, 150 grams): 34 grams.
  • Mashed (1 cup, 225 grams): 51 grams.

Bananas also contain 2-4 grams of fiber, depending on the size. You can subtract 2-4 grams if you are looking for the "net" carb content (net carbs = total carbs – fiber).

Additionally, a banana's ripeness may affect its carb content.

Generally speaking, green or unripe bananas contain fewer digestible carbs than ripe bananas.

Bottom Line: An average-sized banana contains about 25 grams of carbs, perhaps even less if the banana is unripe (green).

Unripe (Green) Bananas Contain More Resistant Starch

The main nutrient in bananas is carbs, but the carb composition changes drastically during ripening.

Unripe bananas contain high amounts of starch and some of that starch is resistant starch (2).

Because the starch in a banana is converted to sugar during ripening, yellow bananas contain much less resistant starch than green ones. In fact, the resistant starch content of a fully ripe banana is less than 1 percent (2).

Resistant starch is a type of indigestible carbohydrate that escapes digestion and functions like fiber in the body.

It reaches the colon undigested, where it feeds friendly gut bacteria (3, 4).

When the bacteria digest resistant starches, they form gases and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), which are important for digestive health (5, 6).

About 95 percent of these SCFA is then rapidly absorbed by the cells in the colon and used by the body for energy (5, 7, 8, 9, 10).

So although resistant starches will not yield as many calories as regular carbs during digestion, they may be transformed into SCFA's that provide calories later.

Therefore, green and yellow bananas may provide similar amounts of calories in the end.

Bottom Line: Unripe bananas contain high amounts of resistant starch. Resistant starch escapes digestion and feeds the friendly bacteria in the gut, which use it to produce short-chain fatty acids.

Bananas Contain Many Other Beneficial Nutrients

Bananas contain good amounts of several vitamins and minerals.

One medium-sized banana contains:

  • Fiber: 3.1 grams.
  • Vitamin B6: 22 percent of the RDI.
  • Vitamin C: 17 percent of the RDI.
  • Manganese: 16 percent of the RDI.
  • Potassium: 12 percent of the RDI.
  • Magnesium: 8 percent of the RDI.
  • Folate: 6 percent of the RDI.
  • Copper: 5 percent of the RDI.
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 5 percent of the RDI.

Bananas are tasty and nutritious. They make an excellent, healthy and low-calorie snack.

Bottom Line: Bananas contain good amounts of fiber, vitamin B6, manganese, vitamin C, copper and potassium.

Take Home Message

Bananas generally contain between 72–135 calories and 19-35 grams of carbs, depending on their size.

An average-sized banana contains about 100 calories and 25 grams of carbs.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Authority Nutrition.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

General view of the empty Alma bridge, in front of the Eiffel tower, while the city imposes emergency measures to combat the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, on March 17, 2020 in Paris, France. Edward Berthelot / Getty Images

Half the world is on lockdown. So, the constant hum of cars, trucks, trains and heavy machinery has stopped, drastically reducing the intensity of the vibrations rippling through the Earth's crust. Seismologists, who use highly sensitive equipment, have noticed a difference in the hum caused by human activity, according to Fast Company.

Read More Show Less
The current rate of CO2 emissions is a major event in the recorded history of Earth. EPA

By Andrew Glikson

At several points in the history of our planet, increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have caused extreme global warming, prompting the majority of species on Earth to die out.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The "Earthrise" photograph that inspired the first Earth Day. NASA / Bill Anders

For EcoWatchers, April usually means one thing: Earth Day. But how do you celebrate the environment while staying home to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus?

Read More Show Less
Animal rights activists try to save dogs at a free market ahead of the Yulin Dog Eating Festival in Yulin city, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on June 21, 2014. Jie Zhao / Corbis via Getty Images

The Chinese city of Shenzhen announced Thursday that it would ban the eating of dogs and cats in the wake of the coronavirus, which is believed to have stemmed from the wildlife trade, according to Reuters.

Read More Show Less
The Great Barrier Reef, where record-high sea temperatures in February caused its most widespread coral bleaching event. JAYNE JENKINS / CORAL REEF IMAGE BANK

Tropical coral reefs are at a critical tipping point, and we've pushed them there, scientists say. Climate change may now cause previously rare, devastating coral bleaching events to occur in tropical coral reefs around the globe on a 'near-annual' basis, reported The Guardian.

Read More Show Less