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.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Maryland will become the first state in the nation Thursday to implement a ban on foam takeout containers.
- New Jersey Legislature Passes 'Most Comprehensive' Plastics Ban ... ›
- Canada to Announce Ban on Single-Use Plastics - EcoWatch ›
- The Complex and Frustrating Reality of Recycling Plastic - EcoWatch ›
- Dunkin' Says Bye to Foam Cups (But Bring Your Own Thermos ... ›
- Maine and Vermont Pass Plastic Bag Bans on the Same Day ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Ajit Niranjan
Leaders from across the world have promised to turn environmental degradation around and put nature on the path to recovery within a decade.
- Destruction of Nature Is Triggering Pandemics, Say Leaders of WWF ... ›
- The UN Wants to Protect 30% of the Planet by 2030 - EcoWatch ›
- New WWF Report Calls for Protecting Nature to Prevent Future ... ›
Just days after a new report detailed the "unequivocal and pervasive role" climate change plays in the increased frequency and intensity of wildfires, new fires burned 10,000 acres on Sunday as a "dome" of hot, dry air over Northern California created ideal fire conditions over the weekend.
- California's Iconic Redwoods Threatened by Wildfires - EcoWatch ›
- California Wildfires Destroy Condor Sanctuary, at Least 4 Birds Still ... ›
- 7 Devastating Photos of Wildfires in California, Oregon and ... ›
- David Attenborough Calls For Ban on Deep-Sea Mining - EcoWatch ›
- Sir David Attenborough Set to Present BBC Documentary on ... ›
- David Attenborough Gives Stark Warning in New BBC Climate ... ›
Kevin T. Smiley
When hurricanes and other extreme storms unleash downpours like Tropical Storm Beta has been doing in the South, the floodwater doesn't always stay within the government's flood risk zones.
New research suggests that nearly twice as many properties are at risk from a 100-year flood today than the Federal Emergency Management Agency's flood maps indicate.
Flooding Outside the Zones<p>About <a href="https://furmancenter.org/files/Floodplain_PopulationBrief_12DEC2017.pdf" target="_blank">15 million</a> Americans live in FEMA's current 100-year flood zones. The designation warns them that their properties face a 1% risk of flooding in any given year. They must obtain flood insurance if they want a federally ensured loan – insurance that helps them recover from flooding.</p><p>In Greater Houston, however, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2012.01840.x" target="_blank">47% of claims</a> made to FEMA across three decades before Hurricane Harvey were outside of the 100-year flood zones. Harris County, recognizing that FEMA flood maps don't capture the full risk, now <a href="https://www.hcfcd.org/floodinsurance" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">recommends that every household</a> in Houston and the rest of the county have flood insurance.</p><p>New risk models point to a similar conclusion: Flood risk in these areas outstrips expectations in the current FEMA flood maps.</p><p>One of those models, from the <a href="https://firststreet.org/flood-lab/research/2020-national-flood-risk-assessment-highlights/" target="_blank">First Street Foundation</a>, estimates that the number of properties at risk in a 100-year storm is 1.7 times higher than the FEMA maps suggest. Other <a href="https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aaac65" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">researchers</a> find an even higher margin, with 2.6 to 3.1 times more people exposed to serious flooding in a 100-year storm than FEMA estimates.</p>
What FEMA’s Flood Maps Miss<p>Understanding why areas outside the 100-year flood zones are flooding more often than the FEMA maps suggest involves larger social and environmental issues. Three reasons stand out.</p><p>First, some places rely on relatively old FEMA maps that don't account for recent urbanization.</p><p>Urbanization matters because impervious surfaces – think pavement and buildings – are not effective sponges like natural landscapes can be. Moreover, the process for updating floodplain maps is locally variable and can take years to complete. Famously, New York City was updating its maps when Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012 but hadn't finished, meaning flood maps in effect <a href="https://projects.propublica.org/nyc-flood/" target="_blank">were from 1983</a>. FEMA is required to assess whether updates are needed every five years, but the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/cis/nation.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">majority of maps</a> <a href="https://www.oig.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/assets/2017/OIG-17-110-Sep17.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">are older</a>.</p><p>Second, binary thinking can lead people to an underaccounting of risk, and that can mean communities fail to take steps that could protect a neighborhood from flooding. The logic goes: if I'm not in the 100-year floodplain, then I'm not at risk. Risk perception <a href="https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab195a" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">research</a> backs this up. FEMA-delineated flood zones are the major factor shaping flood mitigation behaviors.</p><p>Third, the era of climate change scuttles conventional assumptions.</p><p>As the planet warms, extreme storms are becoming <a href="https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/" target="_blank">more common and severe</a>. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at a high rate, computer models suggest that the chances of a severe storm dropping 20 inches of rain on Texas in any given year will increase from about 1% at the end of the last century to 18% at the end of this one, a chance of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1716222114" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">once every 5.5 years</a>. So far, <a href="https://www.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/195.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">FEMA hasn't taken into account the impact climate change is having</a> on extreme weather and sea level rise.</p>
Racial Disparities in Flooding Outside the Zones<p>So, who is at risk?</p><p>Years of research and evidence from storms have highlighted social inequalities in areas with a high risk of flooding. But most local governments have less understanding of the social and demographic composition of communities that experience flood impacts outside of flood zones.</p><p>In analyzing the damage from Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area, I found that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aba0fe" target="_blank">Black and Hispanic residents disproportionately experienced flooding</a> in areas beyond FEMA's 100-year flood zones.</p><p>With the majority of flooding from Hurricane Harvey occurring outside of 100-year flood zones, this meant that the overall impact of Harvey was racially unequal too.</p><p>Research into where flooding occurs in Baltimore, Chicago and Phoenix points to some of the potential causes. <a href="https://www.nap.edu/read/25381/chapter/4#16" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">In Baltimore and Chicago</a>, for example, aging storm and sewer infrastructure, poor construction and insufficient efforts to mitigate flooding are part of the flooding problem in some predominantly Black neighborhoods.</p>
What Can Be Done About It<p>Better accounting for those three reasons could substantively improve risk assessments and help cities prioritize infrastructure improvements and flood mitigation projects in these at-risk neighborhoods.</p><p>For example, First Street Foundation's risk maps account for <a href="https://firststreet.org/flood-lab/research/flood-model-methodology_overview/" target="_blank">climate change</a> and present <a href="https://floodfactor.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ratings</a> on a scale from 1 to 10. FEMA, which works with communities to update flood maps, is <a href="https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1521054297905-ca85d066dddb84c975b165db653c9049/TMAC_2017_Annual_Report_Final508(v8)_03-12-2018.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">exploring rating systems</a>. And the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recently <a href="https://www.nationalacademies.org/news/2019/03/new-report-calls-for-different-approaches-to-predict-and-understand-urban-flooding" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">called for a new generation of flood maps</a> that takes climate change into account.</p><p>Including recent urbanization in those assessments will matter too, especially in fast-growing cities like Houston, where <a href="https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1boBRyDvMFW6W" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">386 new square miles</a> of impervious surfaces were created in the last 20 years. That's greater than the land area of New York City. New construction in one area can also <a href="https://scalawagmagazine.org/2018/01/city-in-a-swamp-as-houston-booms-its-flood-problems-are-only-getting-worse/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">impact older neighborhoods downhill</a> during a flood, as some Houston communities discovered in Hurricane Harvey.</p><p>Improving risk assessments is needed not just to better prepare communities for major flood events, but also to prevent racial inequalities – in housing and beyond – from <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/03/05/688786177/how-federal-disaster-money-favors-the-rich" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">growing</a> after the unequal impacts of disasters.</p>
- Overlooked Flood Risk Endangers Homeowners - EcoWatch ›
- Florida Coastal Flooding Maps: Residents Deny Predicted Risks to ... ›
- Flooding Risk for U.S. Homes: Millions More Are Vulnerable Than ... ›