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Are Bananas Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

On the ketogenic diet the goal is to keep your carbohydrate intake low enough. What about bananas, are they keto-friendly?

Bananas are the well-known elongated yellow fruit. They are grown in warm and tropical climates but eaten all around the world.

The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in raw banana is around 20.2 grams per 100 grams.

While it depends on the rest of your diet, for most people banana is not keto-friendly. This fruit is not completely off-limits but you will have to exercise some serious portion control.

In any case, there are many substitutes for bananas that are better for staying in ketosis.

When is a food keto-friendly

The goal of the ketogenic diet is to put your body into ketosis, a state where it starts mainly burning fat as a fuel (1). This comes down to more or less getting 55%-60% of your macronutrients from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates.

For most people this comes down to eating around 20g – 50g of carbohydrates a day.

In reality, this number is different depending on a lot of factors. For example, people who exercise a lot may be able to consume more carbohydrates before getting kicked out of ketosis.

That being said that daily amount can be a good general guideline.

It is also common to exclude fiber from this amount since it doesn’t get absorbed into your body the same way as regular carbohydrates.

Carbs in banana

100 grams of banana contains the following amounts of carbs (2):

  • Total carbs: 22.8 grams
  • Of which fiber: 2.6 grams
  • Net carbs: 20.2 grams

Combined with the other foods in your diet the 20.2 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of banana is likely enough to kick you out of ketosis.

One ounce of banana is about 28 grams and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 6.4 grams
  • Of which fiber: 0.7 grams
  • Net carbs: 5.7 grams

The number of net carbs in 1 ounce of banana, 5.7 grams, is slightly easier to fit into a keto diet but this is still a relatively high amount. Whether or not bananas are keto for you ultimately depends on your individual situation and the rest of your diet.

Are green bananas keto-friendly?

Not all bananas are equal. Green bananas turn into yellow ones if you let them ripen. Important for how keto-friendly bananas are, is that their nutrient content actually changes in the ripening process.

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 the same way as regular carbohydrates. During the ripening process, a part of this amount of fiber turns into glucose, sugar. Glucose does contain easily absorbable calories.

It is hard to put into exact numbers what the difference will be. Green bananas will be more keto-friendly than yellow bananas but likely still not very keto-friendly.

Other nutrients in bananas

Other nutrients like fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals also still matter on the ketogenic diet.

100 grams of raw banana contains the following nutrients (2):

  • Calories: 89
  • Protein: 1.1 grams
  • Carbs: 22.8 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 2.6 grams
  • Fat: 0.3 grams
  • 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 some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

Even though they are slightly higher in net carbs, bananas do contain a few valuable nutrients per 100 grams compared to many other foods.

How to avoid eating too much banana

By now it is clear that to be able to fit banana in your keto diet, you will have to exercise some portion control. Having a big bowl of bananas near you and hoping that you don’t eat too much is not the ideal way to do this.

You can avoid eating too much banana with some of the following tips:

  • Plan ahead, how much banana will you eat?
  • Put the planned amount in a bowl or on a plate and leave the rest of the banana out of sight
  • Don’t eat during other activities like watching TV
  • Consider not buying bananas if you can’t control yourself

If you notice you get out of ketosis you may need to reduce the quantity of banana you eat.

Substitutes for bananas on keto

Bananas are not the only option when you want to eat fruit on the ketogenic diet. There are many fruits that are more keto-friendly.

Some of the following substitutes may be better on the keto diet. These are the net carb values per 100 grams (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9):

  • Blackberries: 4.9 grams of net carbs
  • Raspberries: 5.4 grams of net carbs
  • Strawberries: 5.7 grams of net carbs
  • Watermelon: 7.1 grams of net carbs
  • Cranberries: 7.6 grams of net carbs
  • Cantaloupe: 7.9 grams of net carbs

If you have trouble staying in ketosis but still have cravings for fruit it may be smart to choose some of these substitutes over bananas. However, even with these examples you will have to exercise portion control to stay in ketosis.

What is your goal with keto?

Even a small portion of banana added to certain daily diets can potentially put you just over the net carbs border, out of ketosis. Depending on the goal you have with keto this may or may not be a problem.

If your goal is to stay strictly in ketosis 24/7 you want to be careful about your carbohydrate intake.

If your goal is to lose weight and become healthier, bananas can be a good food option even if they potentially put you at a carbohydrate level slightly above your ketosis level.