You know what they say? A banana a day keeps the weight at bay. Never heard of the saying? That’s because it’s a new mantra. Bananas are effective for weight loss and being healthy.
It’s up to you how you have your bananas. Everyone’s goals are different. Some of us look at bananas as fuel before or after a workout. Some see bananas as a nighttime snack. But will bananas help you gain a few pounds? Maybe, if you eat them to gain weight.
Confused yet? Bananas are an enigma to many when it comes to losing or gaining weight. However, we’re here to clear up the confusion and set you on the path, whichever one you may choose.
Let’s learn together how we might use bananas for weight gain or for weight loss. Also, learn how bananas can help you fight diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Myths and facts about bananas causing weight gain and loss
You may have heard a few rumors about bananas in your lifetime. You may have been warned that bananas cause weight gain because of their carbohydrate content, specifically sugar.
Because bananas are high in sugar, that often means that the body makes it into fat quite quickly. It doesn’t help that bananas have a high-calorie count when you compare them to other fruits.
A serving of a banana can contain as much as 200 calories (yikes!), while a serving of strawberries is only 35 calories. But, did you know you’re also getting four times the amount of potassium from bananas than from strawberries? That’s more beneficial to you than you may be aware of because of their healing properties and their ability to de-bloat you.
As bananas are low to medium on the glycemic index, they do not cause big spikes in blood sugar levels like high-carb snacks.
Do know that the amount of sugar in a banana isn’t nearly as much as a sugary cookie or a chocolate bar. You are actually getting something out of a banana when you eat one – you’re not eating empty calories. Bananas are full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
Bananas mean business!
Of course, if you are following a “calories in, calories out” method of dieting, you will want to be sure you’re limiting your servings to get your allotment. That still means you can have a banana on your diet!
Bananas for weight loss
Bananas can help you burn fat as long as you are keeping your portions in control and eating at the right time.
For instance, having a banana a day on your diet will be beneficial, especially if you choose to eat one in the morning before you get moving. Try incorporating your banana in with oatmeal or cereal in the morning.
Bananas are also great fuel for pre or post-workout as a snack. Bananas help for extra stamina and when your muscles need to recover. Try frozen banana bites with plain or flavored yogurt for extra protein.
Because bananas are moderate in calories, it can often be confusing as to whether or not they’re good for weight loss.
First, make sure you have a daily calorie intake goal, and keep track of everything you eat in a calorie and nutrient tracking app.
Do be sensible, and plan to drop one or two pounds each week. You don’t want to be extreme and lose any more weight per week.
Keep it smart and get everything you need in a day. And since there are 121 calories per 8 inches of banana, it is the high-carb snack or breakfast item perfect substitute.
Bananas keep you fuller longer
Bananas are filling. With an increase in dietary fiber from bananas, you’re more likely to feel fuller longer.
This could also help stave off consuming too many calories or overeating. That means when you’re dieting you will want to have a banana between meals, to stave off extra calories as a replacement to that chocolate shake with mystery chemicals.
If you’re looking to gain weight, then up your intake per day due to their calorie content. Instead of the normal one serving of banana, you could then up it to a few servings of bananas a day.
Other benefits than weight loss (or gain)
If you’re looking to improve your blood sugar and lipid profiles in addition to weight, you’re in luck. Bananas are helpful if you consume them daily, especially if you have type 2 diabetes.
How does it work?
Well, first, you need to know the glycemic index (GI). It measures how much foods raise blood sugar levels. When foods score lower than 55, they have a low GI. Anywhere between 56-59 is considered medium. And anything above 70 is deemed to be high.
Simple sugars result in high GI value. In turn, they result in higher blood sugar levels.
So, when you eat high GI foods, you are more likely to gain weight. This can lead to type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and stroke.
You’ll be surprised to find out that the GI level of a banana depends solely on its ripeness. They can be anywhere from 42-62, making them in the low-medium levels.
Do know that ripe bananas (more on the yellow or browning side) are considered a higher GI. This is because the sugar amounts increase as the banana ripens, so a good way to keep on the lower side of the GI is to eat greener, less ripe, bananas.
Some people may think that since bananas are a high-sugar fruit, they must be fattening. This is the opposite, actually. With the feeling of being full and keeping blood sugar levels stable, you could be losing more over time.
Want to work in bananas in your diet better? Try dusting your banana with cinnamon or freezing your banana slices, so it’s like a frozen treat. You might even forget about ice cream altogether.
The fiber in bananas help with weight loss
You will most likely read about how not to include fruits in your diet for weight loss. Many so-called, “diet experts” will say that fruit contains too much sugar to sustain a good weight loss plan.
You should probably ditch those low carb diets that tell you to swear off fruits, especially bananas. Sure, their reputation does give them a bad rap when it comes to their sugar content. Especially if you’re on the popular keto diet, you’re not going to see bananas on there.
The truth is, eating fruit, and more importantly, bananas are perfectly great to sustain a healthy weight loss.
Don’t let a medium banana’s contents of 27 grams of carbs and 14 grams of sugar scare you. Bananas are a great nutritious addition to your diet because of their contents that help you lose weight.
Sure, it’s sugar, but its natural sugar. It’s not like I’m telling you to eat a Fruit by The Foot.
Bananas contain fiber, vitamin C, and B6. Those antioxidants are inflammation fighters. And the fiber that bananas contain help you lose weight.
Did you know? Increasing your fiber intake to 30 grams per day can help aid weight loss? Time to put those low carb diet “miracles” to rest.
Just one medium banana contains 3.1 grams of fiber to sustain you. That will also help curb the insulin spike you’d get from other high-sugar and processed foods. You won’t feel hyper then need something to eat later. And in turn, you’re going to be getting the nutrition your body needs when trying to lose weight.
Here’s a tip: Eat your banana with some almond butter or peanut butter. You’ll give yourself a protein pack by including the addition, along with some great flavor.
This is especially the case before or after a workout when your body needs more protein to build those strong muscles and retain energy. Plus, the higher dopamine (feel-good) chemical levels that bananas contain will help you stay motivated during your workout and, they’ll make you feel rewarded after your workout.
The Morning Banana Diet
Wondering if there is an actual banana-focused diet that will help you lose weight? There is. The Morning Banana Diet, also known as the Asa-Banana Diet, was invented by a husband and wife team in Japan, who are also medical experts.
The diet, unlike all those low carb diets, encourages you to eat fruit. It helps teach you how when to know if you’re full and the timing of your meals.
For instance, the diet encourages you to finish your dinner by 8 PM. And for lunch and dinner, you can have a regular (non-fruit) meal, stopping at 80% fullness, and skipping dessert after dinner.
The diet also encourages a good night’s sleep and keeping track of what you’re eating in a journal or in an app. It is very straight-forward as a calorie deficit diet. You’re going to want to watch what you’re eating and how many calories you’re taking in. The difference is that you’re going to eat bananas in the morning and as snacks.
For instance, you might eat a banana with a glass of water in the morning instead of cereal. The diet also advises avoiding dairy and ice cream, and snack on bananas or other fruit instead.
The diet will probably work because you are getting more nutrition than what you’d get from breakfast bars or cereals. And since it allows you to cut calories and increase fiber intake, you will most likely lose weight.
Also, it’s flexible. You can eat out for dinner or lunch if you should choose to. Stopping before you’re too full and not eating late will also prove to be beneficial for losing weight in addition to getting more fruit in your diet.
One last thing on this diet, you can work out, but it encourages you to sleep in to burn extra calories if that’s what it means. While the diet is not strict, you should notice a difference in feeling energized and your overall lifestyle after a while.
Eating bananas to gain weight
If you are needing to gain weight for health reasons, or simply trying to bulk, bananas can also be a source for weight gain.
Because they are high in carbohydrates, it may be a good idea to add bananas to your eating regimen instead of swapping them out like most people do when trying to lose weight.
An excellent way to get the extra calorie intake is to incorporate them with ice cream. You can try to add a banana milkshake as an extra snack or dessert for more calories. Adding peanut butter, more fruits, nuts, and protein powders could make a difference when looking to bulk as well.
Whether you are trying to gain weight or bulk, or if you want to lose weight by cutting calories, bananas still fit in with your diet, no matter which route you choose to go.
Either way, bananas contain enough fiber, vitamins, potassium, and magnesium to keep your body healthy or improve it with a balanced diet.
In addition to being at the weight you’d like to be, you’ll be preventing type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and obesity.
Now that you know the banana glycemic index, you can also choose from green banana, with a low GI, or a ripe banana, with a higher GI. You can get a little sugar or more sugar, depending on what you want or need.
Don’t forget about bananas water content, being 75 percent. You will benefit from getting more water in your diet by eating bananas at the same time.
Looking to lose weight? Eat a banana instead of a processed snack.
Looking to gain weight? Add a banana to your ice cream and daily meals as well as snacks like banana bread.
Either way, you cut it, you are either going to gain weight or lose weight depending on what you choose goes into your diet.