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Are Bananas Good For Weight Loss Or Fattening?

This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT

There are all these different foods you can add to your diet. Bananas are one of those foods, are they good for weight loss?

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits around the world. They are grown in warm and tropical climates. However, their popularity does not necessarily mean bananas are also healthy.

The opinions on this fruit vary. Some people say bananas are awesome for weight loss, others claim that they are fattening.

Micronutrients in bananas

The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in bananas.

Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.

100 grams of banana provides you with approximately (1):

  • Vitamin B6: 18% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Vitamin C: 15% of the DV
  • Manganese: 13% of the DV
  • Potassium: 10% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 7% of the DV

And a few others in smaller amounts. These are not the greatest micronutrient amounts per 100 grams. Bananas can be a nice addition to a well-rounded diet but you can’t rely on this fruit alone to provide you with all the vitamins and minerals you need.

Bananas also contain anti-oxidants. These are substances that help your body deal with oxidative stress, damage that occurs from day to day.

Micronutrients in bananas for weight loss

Fiber in bananas for weight loss

Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.

Bananas contain around 2.6 grams of fiber per 100 grams. That’s a nice amount of fiber for a whole food.

Fiber has multiple benefits for weight loss. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.

Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.

With the amount of fiber in bananas you can reduce the time you spend craving for food.

Are bananas good for losing weight?

To know whether or not you can eat bananas while trying to lose weight you still need a final piece of the puzzle. The amount of calories in bananas.

89 calories per 100 grams. 82.6 of these calories come from the carbohydrates (22.8 g per 100 grams of which 2.6 g fiber). So one medium banana is about 105 calories.

The amount of carbohydrates makes bananas a bit harder to implement in a low-carb diet and it will most likely not fit into a ketogenic diet.

The amount of calories per 100 grams is a bit on the high side compared to other fruits and whole foods in general. The micronutrients in bananas are also not that great compared to a lot of vegetables.

However, if you compare it to most processed snacks the amount of calories is not that much and the amount of micronutrients is a lot better. This means that how good bananas are depends on what the alternative is.

Are bananas good for losing weight

Taste matters

If you love the taste of other fruits and, even better, vegetables just as much you should choose those if you’re looking to lose weight. If you have to choose between a processed snack and bananas you should go for the second one.

Bananas can be a great weight loss snack. It can satisfy those sweet cravings without adding too many calories to your diet. Even so, they shouldn’t play too big of a role in your weight loss diet. You should stay away altogether from certain ways bananas get prepared.

How many bananas can you eat a day to lose weight?

How much weight you will lose while eating a certain amount of bananas will probably depend more on the rest of your lifestyle than the bananas alone. There is no single answer to the question, the answer is different for different situations.

You need to learn how many calories you can eat a day from what kinds of food sources. Then you can see if bananas can fit into your daily plan.  

When should you eat bananas to lose weight?

Most of the calories in bananas come from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates raise your insulin more than other food when you eat it.

Higher insulin levels can disrupt the production of certain sleep hormones. Sleep in turn is important for your weight loss and health.

That’s why you want to eat your carbohydrate sources mainly in the morning or in the middle of the day.

Difference between green and yellow bananas

Not all bananas are equal in benefits for weight loss. Green bananas turn into yellow ones if you let them ripen. Important for weight loss is that their nutrient content actually changes in the ripening process. They become different types of bananas in a way.

Green bananas contain more of a certain kind of healthy fiber. The energy from this kind of fiber does not get absorbed by your body. During the ripening process a part of this amount of fiber turns into glucose, sugar. Glucose does contain easily absorbable calories.

Eating the green type of bananas can be better for weight loss by reducing the amount of calories you consume, by spiking your blood sugar less and by making your microbiome healthier.

Are all bananas good for weight loss

Different ways to eat bananas

So eating regular bananas can have a place and time in a successful weight loss journey. On the other hand there are many different ways you can consume bananas. Some people think these are all equally good for weight loss but that’s not the case.

Find out which preparation methods you need to avoid.

Banana chips

One of the first banana based foods that may come to your mind are banana chips. These are made by drying, removing the water from, banana slices. In a lot of cases they also get fried or they receive a coating of honey or other sugary substances. If you want to lose weight you should avoid anything fried or coated in sugar.

Even regular banana chips are very high calories per 100 grams, about 519 calories (2).

Part of why fruits and vegetables are so healthy and low calorie per 100 grams is because they are high in water. Once you remove the water from those foods you are left with the most nutrient dense part. So banana chips are higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals per 100 grams but also a lot higher in calories.

Staying hydrated provides all kinds of health benefits and even helps you lose weight. Banana chips are not very healthy in general. For a lot of people they can even be fattening. Because most of those calories are from carbohydrates, banana chips are certainly not keto approved either.

Banana smoothie

Smoothies can be good for weight loss depending on what ingredients you use. That means that you can add things you would usually eat, including a banana if it fits your weight loss diet.

Smoothies are an excellent way to increase fruit and vegetable intake, which has been proven to positively impact weight loss results. Fruit and vegetables plus healthy fats and fiber-rich foods (i.e. avocado, walnuts, almonds, nuts butters, chia seeds, flaxseeds) in smoothies are a great way to promote weight loss, normalize blood sugar levels, increase satiety, and lower blood pressure with potassium-rich foods.

Bananas provide soluble fiber to aid in regularity, b-vitamins for metabolic function, and add creaminess to smoothies. Even with these benefits the commonly used banana is unfortunately still one of the more below average fruits for a weight loss smoothie.

If you buy your smoothie, make sure you don’t get one with added sugar and sweeteners.

Keep in mind that there is an important difference between banana milkshakes and smoothies. Smoothies are the ingredients mixed together with some liquid like water or milk. Milkshakes on the other hand use ice cream which is usually high in sugar. Milkshakes also rarely use vegetables which are often better for weight loss than fruit.

Banana smoothie for losing weight

Baked goods with banana

There are all kinds of baked goods with “banana” in the name. some examples include muffins, pancakes, cake, cookies, cupcakes, pie, and waffles.

A fruit in the name of a recipe does make it sound healthier but in reality they are about the same in terms of health as the regular baked good. So “banana cake” is just cake in disguise in terms of weight loss. Baked goods are not helpful when you’re trying to lose weight. They are high in unhealthy calories and other ingredients that negatively impact your health.

That doesn’t mean you can never have those foods, they are just not very good for losing weight.

Banana bread

Banana bread is about the same story as baked goods with banana in the name. It’s often higher in unhealthy calories, lower in vitamins and minerals, and lower in fiber (3). Basically everything you want to avoid if you’re looking to lose weight.

In general, banana bread is not healthy at all, even if it has the words “low fat” or “vegan”.

Fattening or weight loss champion?

Bananas are a better choice than processed snacks like cookies.

However, bananas are one of the higher calories per 100 grams fruits. If you like other fruits just as much you might want to choose those.

Fruits are also usually higher in calories and lower in nutrients than vegetables. So if you like your spinach just as much that would be a better option. Losing or gaining weight is not often because of a single food.

Keep in mind that people can be allergic to bananas.

That being said, bananas can satisfy your sweet cravings in a healthy way for example as an addition to dishes like oatmeal. Losing weight isn’t only about the most optimal food choices, being able to stick to your plan is just as important. If bananas help you stay on track you can plan them into your diet.