A diabetic's dietary restrictions frequently limit their intake of sugars, carbs, and starches. The foods that are advised for diabetics contain very little sugar, and the majority of them require portion control. The idea that all fruits are unhealthy for diabetics is untrue. Fruits can be consumed in moderation despite the fact that they do contain natural sugars. Is a banana beneficial for diabetes? is the most frequently asked question about this fruit.

Bananas have a terrible reputation for causing diabetics' blood glucose levels to rise. But it's not entirely accurate. There are many more nutrients in a fresh banana than would make up for the 22 grams of carbohydrates and sweet flavor that a medium-sized banana has.

Are Bananas Good for People With Diabetes?

Because of their sweet flavor and the amount of carbs a banana carries (the same amount of carbs in two slices of bread), bananas frequently receive poor press. Should diabetics eat bananas? Bananas are safe for diabetics but in the right proportions, and the following are a few reasons why:

Better digestion


Unripe bananas additionally contain resistant starch, a prebiotic, in addition to their fiber content. This indicates that it enters your big intestine, where it feeds the good bacteria in your digestive system. Additionally, it aids in digestion. Additionally, the fiber makes you feel fuller for longer, which might aid in portion management. This is much great when bananas and protein are combined. Eat bananas along with other sources of protein or healthy fats.

Satiety factor

A banana's fiber-resistant starch composition can help you feel fuller and possibly eat less by promoting satiety.

Resistant starch

Unripe or slightly green bananas have more resistant starch, which is starch that is "resistant" to digestion and less sugar. This makes the starch more similar to fiber, which can help lower blood sugar levels after meals.

What Are the Different Types of Bananas?

Bananas vary and come in more than 1,000 different varieties, some of which you may have already seen in your neighborhood supermarket.

Cavendish or Williams banana

The most popular variety of bananas is those that start off green, turn yellow, and then get progressively sweeter as they ripen. These bananas are ideal for smoothies or banana bread because their peel turns dark at that point.

Red banana

In comparison to the Cavendish banana, this one is shorter and fatter. It has a brick-red peel and a sweet flavor when fully ripe.

Lady Finger Banana

The skin of this banana, which is a bright yellow color and grows dark spots when completely mature, is shorter and thinner than Cavendish bananas. Compared to Cavendish bananas, Lady Finger bananas have a creamier and sweeter flavor. They are the ideal size for both children and adults.

Plantain (Green banana)

This "banana" resembles a potato more closely since it is bigger and starchier than sweet bananas. Green skin indicates that the fruit is immature and should be cooked. A plantain's yellow peel and mildly sweet flavor develop as it ripens.

How Many Bananas Can You Eat Per Day?

Given that diabetics can eat bananas, the next thing to think about is how many bananas a diabetic can ingest each day. The answer to this depends on a few factors.

  • The weight of a banana varies from 18.5 to 35 grams. Bananas come in more than 6 different types. Each banana has a different weight and set of nutritional values. Therefore, it is only logical to wonder whether a banana is a healthy treat for diabetes and, if so, which variety is best.
  • The glycemic load of one banana can range from 11 to 22 if it is fully ripe.
  • A 7 to 8-inch banana typically has 26 grams of carbohydrates. It can give you 2 grams of fiber, 12% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, and 8% of your recommended daily intake of potassium in your diabetic diet. Additionally, potassium is a vital aid in controlling blood pressure.

What Are the Health Benefits of Bananas for People With Diabetes?

They might increase sensitivity to insulin

Despite the fact that this is a contentious topic, studies have revealed that consuming 15–30 grams of less resistant starch every day can increase insulin sensitivity by as much as 50% in just four weeks! In addition to these, oats, rice, barley, beans, and legumes are sources of resistant starch.

The most resistant starch is found in unripe bananas, which are sweeter and more mature bananas have less of. Consume greener bananas for more of this healthy starch for the finest results.

They facilitate digestion

With an average of 3 grams per serving, bananas are a good source of fiber. That may help you maintain regularity and aid digestion.

Even the prevention of colon cancer has been linked in certain studies to the pectin in bananas!

They support heart wellness

Bananas are a rich source of vitamins and minerals that also protect the heart. Bananas are the ideal food to help manage high blood pressure because they contain roughly 120 grams of potassium per banana serving (9% of a person's daily needs).

According to studies, eating a diet high in potassium can cut a person's chance of developing heart disease by as much as 27%. The high magnesium content in bananas is also beneficial for heart health, as studies have linked a lack of magnesium to conditions like hypertension, high blood sugar, type 2 diabetes, and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol).

They are rich in important nutrients

There are numerous health advantages to fruit intake and eating bananas. These fiber-rich snacks, like dried banana chips, which typically include 3 grams of fiber per banana, also have a number of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, such as:

  • Potassium
  • B6 vitamin
  • Magnesium
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Vitamin C

Dopamine and catechins are two antioxidants included in bananas that help protect against osteoporosis and Alzheimer's disease and enhance heart health.

Approximately 100 calories, 24 grams of carbohydrates, and little more than 1 gram of protein are included in a regular banana. One gram of fat or less can be found in each banana.

They support kidney wellness

All that potassium may benefit kidney health as well. Women who ate between 2-3 bananas per week were shown to have a third lower risk of renal disease than the control group in a 13-year longitudinal trial in Sweden!

Additionally, eating bananas 4-6 times per week can reduce kidney disease risk by as much as 50%, according to additional studies!

How Do Bananas Affect Your Blood Sugar Levels?

We must comprehend the procedure that takes place after we eat bananas in order to provide the correct response.

  • The glycemic index of bananas ranges from low to medium, and they are abundant in carbohydrates.
  • When you eat a ripe banana, the sugars are readily absorbed and your blood sugar levels may rise right away. Bananas are reputed to provide rapid energy because of this.
  • The majority of bananas' nutrients are carbohydrates and fiber. While carbohydrates are converted into simple sugars and add to a diabetic patient's overall sugar consumption, fiber aids in biological processes.
  • You risk hazardous spikes in your blood sugars if you consume bananas on an empty stomach or along with other carbohydrates like toast or cereal. Small banana amounts are advised because of this.
  • Bananas come in a variety of sizes, and we hardly ever eat half of one and save the other half! This is the main justification for suggesting eating bananas twice or three times per week rather than every day.
  • Because they are so high in potassium, they are the ideal fruit to feed someone who has lost electrolytes from diarrhea or vomiting. They are also simple for the body to digest.

One of the best methods to manage or reverse diabetes is to create a food plan for yourself. For diabetic people, in particular, a balanced diet and exercise are crucial components of living a healthy lifestyle because failing to do so can result in serious health consequences. You might not get all the additional advantages of bananas if you don't include them in your diet.

How much sugar is in a banana?

There are 112 calories and 29 grams of carbs in one medium banana (about 126 grams). Sugar, starch, and fiber are the three main types of carbohydrates. The sugar content of an average medium banana is 15 grams.

The effect of bananas on people with type 2 diabetes

Bananas are first and foremost usually healthy. In addition to many other nutrients, bananas also include fiber, potassium, folate, and antioxidants. This promotes heart health, which is essential for diabetics. Also, high blood pressure and diabetes frequently coexist. Bananas are particularly high in potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure.

The American Diabetes Association advises diabetics to eat fruit, including bananas, in moderation. This doesn't imply that you should disregard those carbs, but you should think about how much each day. Simple substitutions for less wholesome sources of carbs like white bread include bananas. The state of ripeness of your bananas is an additional consideration.

The starch in bananas turns into free sugars as they ripen. While the total amount of carbohydrates remains the same, their form has changed. Because they have a lower glycemic index, under-ripe bananas release sugar into the bloodstream more gradually. Its increased concentration of resistant starch, a more complex carbohydrate that cannot be digested in the small intestine, is the reason behind this. In summary, under-ripe bananas are preferable to ripe or overripe ones. Additionally, under-ripe bananas prolong your feeling of fullness.

In order to prevent blood sugar spikes and swings, learn how to properly regulate your glucose levels. This will help you avoid diabetes consequences like neuropathy. Bananas are not the terrible blood sugar rise inducer you may have read about, but moderation is still a must in this situation.

The effect of bananas on people with type 1 diabetes

The carbohydrates in bananas raise blood sugar levels.

This facilitates the movement of sugar from the blood into the cells, where it can be consumed or stored. However, in persons with type 1 diabetes, this procedure doesn't function as it ought to. Instead, either the cells are resistant to the insulin that is created by the body, or there is insufficient insulin production by the body.

For those with type 1 diabetes, eating bananas in moderation as part of a healthy, customized diet plan is safe and beneficial. A diabetic should include items from the plant kingdom in their diets, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Bananas are a great source of nourishment without being calorie-dense.

The Positive Effect Bananas Have on Your Blood Sugar Level

GI (Glycemic Index) 

The glycemic index (GI) measures the increase in blood sugar that occurs after consuming a carbohydrate-containing diet. The likelihood that food will raise blood sugar levels increases with food's GI.

  • Bananas that are ripe have a GI of 51, which is regarded as low GI foods (a GI of 55 or lower means that the food will not significantly raise blood sugars).
  • A banana that is just a little under-ripe has a GI of 42, which is even lower.
  • Overripe bananas should be avoided, though, as they have a higher GI of about 62.

Low, medium, and high 

Foods are given a glycemic index (GI) score based on how quickly or slowly they raise blood sugar levels.

There are three different kinds of GI: 

  • Low GI: 55 or less
  •  Medium GI: 56 to 69 
  • High-GI: 70 to 100

Lower GI foods take longer to digest and result in a gradual decrease in blood sugar levels.

GI ranges from 42 to 62 for bananas, depending on how ripe they are. Because they have a low Glycemic Index than overripe bananas, slightly green bananas are always preferable for diabetics to consume.

Can Eating Bananas Affect You Negatively?

Controlling blood sugar is crucial for managing diabetes. Banana consumption in moderation is generally safe for those with diabetes.

The glycemic index (GI) can be used by diabetics to determine how a certain food type will affect their blood sugar levels. This rating system provides a general notion of how quickly certain carbs raise blood sugar. They have a low GI. Ripe bananas have a GI value of 51, according to the global GI database. Foods that are low GI have a score of 55 or less. As long as the serving quantity is carefully considered, diabetics can enjoy them.

Portion sizing 

The size of your banana also affects the quantity of sugar in it, in addition to ripeness. The more bananas you eat, the more carbohydrates you will consume. This implies that a larger ripe banana will raise your blood sugar levels more. The glycemic load is referred to be this consequence of portion size. Spread out your fruit consumption to lessen the glycemic load and keep blood sugar levels stable.

The GI of a food is multiplied by the number of carbohydrates in a serving, and the result is divided by 100 to determine the glycemic load. Less than 10, 11–19, and 20 or more are regarded as a low, medium, and high, respectively. The weight of a banana can range between 18.5 to 35 grams. A banana's glycemic load can vary from 11 for a very small banana to 22 for a very large banana if it is fully ripe (with a GI of 62).

Be mindful of the size of the banana you're eating to prevent a significant increase in blood sugar. Consume a smaller banana to consume less sugar.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are bananas safe for kids with diabetes?

Contrary to confections and cakes made with refined sugar, fruits like bananas include fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in addition to their carbohydrates.

Bananas also contain fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. They also contain several plant components that are healthy and antioxidants. Fruits, especially bananas, are generally a good choice for people with diabetes.

To stay under their daily carbohydrate limit, some persons on low-carb diets must monitor their total calorie consumption. Bananas and other high-carb foods must therefore be restricted to low-carb diets.

If your doctor has cleared you to eat bananas, you should be aware of the size and amount of ripeness to lessen the impact on your blood sugar.

How to make bananas part of your daily diet?

A source of unsaturated fat like almond or peanut butter, pistachios, sunflower seeds, or walnuts, together with a banana can improve blood sugar control and enhance flavor.

Combining a banana with a protein source, such as Greek yogurt, is another healthy choice for diabetics.

A person will feel fuller for longer and have less of an impulse to snack during the day as a result, which will help them regulate blood sugar levels.

Conclusion

The right response to the query, "Is banana a healthy fruit for persons with diabetes?"

Is that it is healthy, but the dosage needs to be controlled and banana size must be considered.

As an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, bananas can be a tasty treat. They are affordable and widely accessible.

This nutritious food has been demonstrated to boost insulin sensitivity, normalize blood sugar levels, and support kidney health.

However, consuming an excessive amount of bananas might be problematic for diabetics due to their greater carbohydrate content, which can result in blood sugar oscillations.

About the Author

Ely Fornoville

Hi, I'm Ely Fornoville and I am the founder of Diabetic & Me. Being a type 1 diabetic since 1996 I developed a passion to help people learn more about diabetes. I write about diabetes and share stories from other diabetics around the world. I am currently using a Medtronic Guardian 4 and a Minimed 780G insulin pump with Humalog.

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