Health

Are bananas good for you?

America’s most popular fruit is the banana, which is consumed by each person on average 27 pounds annually.
However, due of their high sugar and calorie content in comparison to some other fruits, some customers who are concerned about their intake of carbohydrates and calories have put bananas on the “do not eat” list.

Jessica D. Bihuniak, Ph.D., R.D., an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, claims that this reasoning is flawed. According to Bihuniak, eating too much bananas—or any fruit, for that matter—never causes weight gain or diabetes. Bananas are also packed with nutrients, many of which support gastrointestinal, heart, and weight health, just like any other fruit.

Are bananas good for you?

The Carbohydrate Concern

Bananas are on the sweeter side compared with other fruit. One large banana has about 120 calories and 17 grams of sugars—that’s more than double what you’d get in 1 cup of strawberry slices, which has 53 calories and about 8 grams of sugars.
But, Bihuniak says, when nutritionists say to limit sugars in your diet, they’re talking about added sugars—the kind that’s in regular soft drinks, mixed into baked goods, and sprinkled into coffee. “If you’re eating just a banana,” Bihuniak says, “there’s no added sugar.”
Plus some of the carbohydrates in bananas come in the form of dietary fiber—3.5 grams per large banana, or about 15 percent of your daily need.
Green bananas contain a type of carb called resistant starch. (As bananas ripen, the starch turns into sugars, making the banana sweeter.) Because resistant starch isn’t easily digested, it reduces the amount of sugar released into the bloodstream, helping control blood sugar. Research also suggests that resistant starch helps maintain the balance of healthy gut microbes.

A Note for Parents
Be mindful about your kids eating a banana before bedtime, Bihuniak says, because the fruit is particularly sticky and the sugars can adhere to the teeth, increasing the risk of cavities. As always, make sure young children brush their teeth before bedtime.
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