Bananas: Are They Fattening or Will They Help You Lose Weight?
People who want to improve their health are often advised to eat more fruits and vegetables. However, some people worry that high-sugar fruits like bananas can be fattening.
Nutrition Facts of Bananas
Bananas are high in many nutrients and provide many health benefits.
They contain lots of fiber, carbs and some essential vitamins and minerals.
A medium-sized banana contains (1):
- Potassium: 12 percent of the RDI.
- Vitamin B6: 20 percent of the RDI.
- Vitamin C: 17 percent of the RDI.
- Magnesium: 8 percent of the RDI.
- Copper: 5 percent of the RDI.
- Manganese: 15 percent of the RDI.
- Fiber: 3.1 grams.
This is coming with around 105 calories, 90 percent of which come from carbs. Most of the carbs in ripe bananas are sugars—sucrose, glucose and fructose.
On the other hand, bananas are low in both fat and protein.
More details here: Bananas 101 — Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.
Bottom Line: Bananas contain carbs, fiber, some essential nutrients and antioxidants. A medium-sized banana provides 105 calories.
Bananas are High in Fiber, But Low in Calories
Calorie for calorie, bananas contain a lot of fiber.
One medium banana provides around 12 percent of your recommended daily intake, with just 105 calories.
Fiber is important for maintaining regular bowel habits and plays a vital role in digestive health (5).
One study measured the food intake of 252 women for 20 months. It found that for every extra gram of fiber the women ate per day, their body weight was around 0.55 lbs (0.25 kg) lower (15).
This effect is thought to occur because fiber makes you feel full for longer, which may help you eat fewer calories over the long term.
However, other studies have found that extra fiber in the diet does not affect people's fullness or calorie intake (16).
Bottom Line: Bananas are a good source of fiber. A high fiber intake has been linked to reduced body weight and a number of health benefits.
The Greener the Banana, the Higher the Resistant Starch
The type of carbs in a banana depends on how ripe it is.
Unripe, green bananas are high in starch and resistant starch, while ripe, yellow bananas contain mostly sugars.
Resistant starches are long chains of glucose (starch) that are resistant to digestion.
Here is a detailed article about resistant starch and its health effects.
Bottom Line: Green (unripe) bananas contain resistant starch, which has been linked to weight loss and reduced blood sugar levels.
Bananas Have a Low Glycemic Index, But it Depends on Ripeness
The glycemic index (GI) measures how much foods raise blood sugar levels. If a food scores lower than 55, it's considered to have a low GI. 56–69 is medium, while a score above 70 is high.
Foods that contain a lot of simple sugars are quickly absorbed and have a high GI value since they cause a greater rise in blood sugar levels.
Foods with more slowly absorbed carbs have a lower GI and keep your blood sugar levels stable. Since bananas are 90 percent carbs, they're sometimes considered to be a high-sugar fruit that could spike your blood sugar.
However, the GI score of bananas is 42–62, depending on ripeness. This makes them low to medium on the glycemic index (42).
Ripe bananas have a higher GI than greener bananas. The sugar content increases as the banana matures, which in turn affects your blood sugar levels.
That said, overall bananas seem to release their sugars slowly.
One recent study followed type 2 diabetics with high cholesterol. They added 9 oz (250 grams) of banana to their breakfast for 4 weeks, which significantly reduced fasting blood sugar and cholesterol levels (43).
Low-GI foods like bananas may also help you feel full and keep blood sugar levels stable. This may lead to weight loss over time (27).
Bananas Are Filling, But Not as Much as Some Other Fruits
Filling up on high-fiber, low-calorie snacks can help with weight loss and weight maintenance.
These foods help prevent feelings of hunger and subsequent overeating, without adding lots of unnecessary calories to your diet.
In fact, bananas could help fill you up a lot better than other higher-calorie snacks.
Bottom Line: Bananas are filling foods. However, they aren't quite as filling as apples and oranges.
Fattening or Weight Loss Friendly?
Bananas are healthy and nutritious, there is no doubt about that. They are also high in fiber, but low in calories.
Most bananas have a low to medium glycemic index and should not cause big spikes in blood sugar levels compared to other high-carb foods.
Although there are no studies that directly examine the effects of bananas on weight, they do have several properties that should make them a weight loss friendly food.
If you are trying to lose weight, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with eating bananas as a part of a balanced, real food based diet.
This article was reposted from our media associate Authority Nutrition.
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The Biden-Harris transition team identified COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change as its top priorities. Rivers are the through-line linking all of them. The fact is, healthy rivers can no longer be separated into the "nice-to-have" column of environmental progress. Rivers and streams provide more than 60 percent of our drinking water — and a clear path toward public health, a strong economy, a more just society and greater resilience to the impacts of the climate crisis.
Public Health<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUyNDY3MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MDkxMTkwNn0.pyP14Bg1WvcUvF_xUGgYVu8PS7Lu49Huzc3PXGvATi4/img.jpg?width=980" id="8e577" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1efb3445f5c445e47d5937a72343c012" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="3000" data-height="2302" />
Wild and Scenic Merced River, California. Bob Wick / BLM<p>Let's begin with COVID-19. More than <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html?name=styln-coronavirus&region=TOP_BANNER&block=storyline_menu_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection&impression_id=2f508610-2a87-11eb-8622-4f6c038cbd1d&variant=1_Show" target="_blank">16 million Americans</a> have contracted the coronavirus and, tragically,<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html?name=styln-coronavirus&region=TOP_BANNER&block=storyline_menu_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection&impression_id=2f508610-2a87-11eb-8622-4f6c038cbd1d&variant=1_Show" target="_blank"> more than</a> <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html?name=styln-coronavirus&region=TOP_BANNER&block=storyline_menu_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection&impression_id=2f508610-2a87-11eb-8622-4f6c038cbd1d&variant=1_Show" target="_blank">300,000 have died</a> due to the pandemic. While health officials encourage hand-washing to contain the pandemic, at least <a href="https://closethewatergap.org/" target="_blank">2 million Americans</a> are currently living without running water, indoor plumbing or wastewater treatment. Meanwhile, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/23/millions-of-americans-cant-afford-water-bills-rise" target="_blank">aging water infrastructure is growing increasingly costly for utilities to maintain</a>. That cost is passed along to consumers. The upshot? <a href="https://research.msu.edu/affordable-water-in-us-reaching-a-crisis/" target="_blank">More than 13 million</a> U.S. households regularly face unaffordable water bills — and, thus, the threat of water shutoffs. Without basic access to clean water, families and entire communities are at a higher risk of <a href="https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/news/2020/08/05/488705/bridging-water-access-gap-covid-19-relief/" target="_blank">contracting</a> and spreading COVID-19.</p><p>We have a moral duty to ensure that everyone has access to clean water to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Last spring, <a href="https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/coronavirus-stimulus-bill-explained-bailouts-unemployment-benefits.html" target="_blank">Congress appropriated more than $4 trillion</a> to jumpstart the economy and bring millions of unemployed Americans back to work. Additional federal assistance — desperately needed — will present a historic opportunity to improve our crumbling infrastructure, which has been <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/23/millions-of-americans-cant-afford-water-bills-rise" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">grossly underfunded for decades</a>.</p><p>A report by my organization, American Rivers, suggests that <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/american-rivers-website/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/09223525/ECONOMIC-ENGINES-Report-2020.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Congress must invest at least $50 billion</a> "to address the urgent water infrastructure needs associated with COVID-19," including the rising cost of water. This initial boost would allow for the replacement and maintenance of sewers, stormwater infrastructure and water supply facilities.</p>
Economic Recovery<p>Investing in water infrastructure and healthy rivers also creates jobs. Consider, for example, that <a href="https://tinyurl.com/y9p6sgnk" target="_blank">every $1 million spent on water infrastructure in the United States generates more than 15 jobs</a> throughout the economy, according to a report by the Value of Water Campaign. Similarly, <a href="https://tinyurl.com/yyvd2ksp" target="_blank">every "$1 million invested in forest and watershed restoration contracting will generate between 15.7 and 23.8 jobs,</a> depending on the work type," states a working paper released by the Ecosystem Workforce Program, University of Oregon. Healthy rivers also spur tourism and recreation, which many communities rely on for their livelihoods. According to the findings by the Outdoor Industry Association, which have been shared in our report, "Americans participating in watersports and fishing spend over <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/american-rivers-website/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/30222425/Exec-summary-ECONOMIC-ENGINES-Report-June-30-2020.pdf" target="_blank">$174 billion</a> on gear and trip related expenses. And, the outdoor watersports and fishing economy supports over <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/american-rivers-website/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/30222425/Exec-summary-ECONOMIC-ENGINES-Report-June-30-2020.pdf" target="_blank">1.5 million jobs nationwide</a>."</p><p>After the 2008 financial crisis, Congress invested in infrastructure to put Americans back to work. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act <a href="https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-a-budget/25941-clean-water-green-infrastructure-get-major-boost" target="_blank">of 2009 (ARRA) allocated $6 billion</a> for clean water and drinking water infrastructure to decrease unemployment and boost the economy. More specifically, <a href="https://www.conservationnw.org/news-updates/us-reps-push-for-millions-of-restoration-and-resilience-jobs/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">an analysis of ARRA</a> "showed conservation investments generated 15 to 33 jobs per million dollars," and more than doubled the rate of return, according to a letter written in May 2020 by 79 members of Congress, seeking greater funding for restoration and resilience jobs.</p><p>Today, when considering how to create work for the <a href="https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">10.7 million</a> people who are currently unemployed, Congress should review previous stimulus investments and build on their successes by embracing major investments in water infrastructure and watershed restoration.</p>
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Climate Resilience<p>Of course, the menacing shadow looming over it all? Climate change. <a href="https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/IFRC_wdr2020/IFRC_WDR_ExecutiveSummary_EN_Web.pdf" target="_blank">More than 100 climate-related catastrophes</a> have pummeled the Earth since the pandemic was declared last spring, including the blitzkrieg of megafires, superstorms and heat waves witnessed during the summer of 2020, directly impacting the lives of more than <a href="https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/IFRC_wdr2020/IFRC_WDR_ExecutiveSummary_EN_Web.pdf" target="_blank">50 million people globally</a>.</p><p>Water and climate scientist Brad Udall often says, "<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQhpj5G0dME" target="_blank">Climate change is water change</a>." In other words, the most obvious and dire impacts of climate change are evidenced in profound changes to our rivers and water resources. You've likely seen it where you live: Floods are more damaging and frequent. Droughts are deeper and longer. Uncertainty is destabilizing industry and lives.</p><p>By galvanizing action for healthy rivers and managing our water resources more effectively, we can insure future generations against the consequences of climate change. First, we must safeguard rivers that are still healthy and free-flowing. Second, we must protect land and property against the ravages of flooding. And finally, we must promote policies and practical solutions that take the science of climate disruption into account when planning for increased flooding, water shortage and habitat disruption.</p><p>Imagine all that rivers do for us. Most of our towns and cities have a river running through them or flowing nearby. Rivers provide clean drinking water, irrigate crops that provide our food, power our homes and businesses, provide wildlife habitat, and are the lifeblood of the places where we enjoy and explore nature, and where we play and nourish our spirits. Healthy watersheds help <a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/03/1059952" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mitigate</a> climate change, absorbing and reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Healthy rivers and floodplains help communities adapt and build resilience in the face of climate change by improving flood protection and providing water supply and quality benefits. Rivers are the cornerstones of healthy, strong communities.</p><p>The more than <a href="https://archive.epa.gov/water/archive/web/html/index-17.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">3 million miles</a> of rivers and streams running across our country are a source of great strength and opportunity. When we invest in healthy rivers and clean water, we can improve our lives. When we invest in rivers, we create jobs and strengthen our economy. When we invest in rivers, we invest in our shared future.</p>
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