The recommended foods for people with diabetes contain very little sugar, and most require portion control.

Bananas have a terrible reputation for raising diabetics' blood glucose levels. But that's not entirely accurate, especially if you eat them correctly. A fresh, medium-sized banana contains more nutrients than 29 grams of carbohydrates and a sweet flavor.

While bananas contain more carbohydrates and sugars than some foods, they also contain fiber and resistant starch, which help slow down sugar release into the bloodstream. This makes bananas a good snack choice for people with diabetes as long as they stick to smaller, almost ripe bananas and eat them with protein and fat-rich foods.

Key Facts

  • Bananas can be part of a healthy diet for a person with diabetes if eaten half-ripe and in the right proportion.
  • One medium-sized banana contains about 29 grams of carbohydrates and 112 calories. The carbohydrates in bananas are in the form of sugar, starch, and fiber. The 15 grams of sugar in a medium banana may affect blood sugar. However, a medium banana contains about 3 grams of fiber, which can reduce its blood sugar impact.
  • Bananas score between 42 and 62, which is within the low to medium glycemic index. The glycemic index of bananas primarily depends on their ripeness. So, eating a less ripened type can reduce the risk of blood sugar spikes.

Are Bananas Good for People With Diabetes?

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

Better digestion

Unripe bananas also contain resistant starch, a prebiotic, and fiber. This indicates that it enters your big intestine, feeding the good bacteria in your digestive system. It also aids digestion, and the fiber makes you feel fuller for longer, which might help manage portions. This is especially 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 eat less by promoting satiety.

Resistant starch

Unripe or slightly green bananas have more resistant starch, which is "resistant" to digestion and has 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 varieties, some of which you may have already seen in your local supermarket.

Cavendish or Williams banana

The most popular banana variety starts off green, turns yellow, and gets progressively sweeter as it ripens. These bananas are ideal for smoothies or banana bread because their peel turns dark as they ripen.

Red banana

This banana is shorter and fatter than the Cavendish banana. It has a brick-red peel and a sweet flavor when fully ripe.

Lady Finger 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.

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 consider is how many bananas they can ingest each day. The answer depends on a few factors.

  • Bananas vary in weight from 18.5 to 35 grams and come in more than six different types. Each 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. In your diabetic diet, it can provide 2 grams of fiber, 12% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, and 8% of your recommended daily intake of potassium. Additionally, potassium is a vital aid in controlling blood pressure.

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

Benefits Of Bananas

They might increase sensitivity to insulin

Even though this is a contentious topic, studies have revealed that consuming 15–30 grams of less resistant starch daily can increase insulin sensitivity by as much as 50% in four weeks! Oats, rice, barley, beans, and legumes are also sources of resistant starch.

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

They facilitate digestion

Bananas are a good source of fiber, with an average of 3 grams per serving. This may help you maintain regularity and aid digestion.

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

They support heart wellness

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

Studies have shown that eating a diet high in potassium can cut a person's chance of developing heart disease by as much as 27%. Bananas' high magnesium content 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 several 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.

A regular banana contains approximately 100 calories, 24 grams of carbohydrates, and little more than 1 gram of protein. One banana also contains a gram of fat or less.

They support kidney wellness

The potassium in bananas 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.

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.

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

How Do Bananas Affect Your Blood Sugar Levels?

We must comprehend the procedure that takes place after we eat bananas 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 immediately. Because of this, bananas are reputed to provide rapid energy.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.

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.

How much sugar is in a banana?

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

Conclusion

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

It is healthy, but the portion size must be controlled.

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.

Sources

At Diabetic Me, we are committed to delivering information that is precise, accurate, and pertinent. Our articles are supported by verified data from research papers, prestigious organizations, academic institutions, and medical associations to guarantee the integrity and relevance of the information we provide. You can learn more about our process and team on the about us page.

  1. American Diabetes Association Recipes and Nutrition for Diabetics
  2. PubMed Insulin-sensitizing effects of dietary resistant starch and effects on skeletal muscle and adipose tissue metabolism
  3. PubMed Association of Dietary Potassium Intake with the Development of Chronic Kidney Disease

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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 currently use a Medtronic Guardian 4 CGM and a MiniMed 780G insulin pump with Humalog insulin.

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