On The Chopping Block: Bananas

June 17, 2015

Hey guys, Dr. Axe here, and welcome again to the Chopping Block.

Are Bananas bad for you?

Today on the Chopping Block our special guest is the banana. I will tell you, surprisingly one of the most common questions I get from people is: Are bananas good for me? Now we have heard of some of the great health benefits of bananas, but on the other end I think a lot of people worry about the sugar content that’s found in certain fruits like bananas today. I will tell you here, bananas are teetering on the edge here of the Chopping Block. Let us talk about the negatives of bananas, and then let us talk about the positives.

The negatives, without a doubt, is that it does contain a large amount of sugar, and it doesn’t really have much protein or any healthy fat whatsoever along with it. One medium sized banana has 27 grams of carbohydrates. Fourteen of those grams are sugar. Then it contains about one gram of protein and zero grams of fat. So if you’re eating a banana by itself, there is no doubt it could affect your blood sugar levels in a small amount. That is really the negative side of bananas is right there because if you’re a person who is trying to lose weight, if you have sensitive blood sugar, bananas, in terms of fruit, are higher on the glycemic index, which means it will typically affect your insulin more or affect your sugar more compared to most other fruits.

Now let us talk about the positives with the banana. Bananas are one of the most potassium rich foods in the entire world. One single banana has 500 mg of potassium. So it is packed with potassium. It has 32 mg of magnesium, so it’s really loaded with electrolytes. So if you’re an athlete, if you are a person that works out, this is an amazing food for you because again it can really help fuel your cells.

Now another thing in defending the banana is that if you’re comparing this banana even to a bowl of oatmeal, this is still lower on the glycemic index and has a lower amount of carbohydrates than even healthier grains out there like rice and quinoa. So again, this really is a better option compared to any other grains out there in my book. But when you’re comparing it to other fruits, like berries for instance; berries have more antioxidants. They’re higher in fiber. Berries definitely have more benefits as well as a lot of other fruits compared to a banana, but bananas are still better than grains.

So what do I say about the banana in closing? Well, here’s what I would say. If you’re a person who is trying to lose weight or has some digestive issues, I really think if you’re trying to lose weight or have sensitive blood sugar, I would remove bananas from your diet, but I would still eat them before any other grains. If you’re an athlete or somebody who is already pretty lean and healthy and just trying to stay healthy, I think bananas are still a great option for you.

So when it comes to bananas getting chopped, we’re going to spare the banana here, and we’re actually going to peel it here instead of chopping it. I’m actually about to go on a run, so I’m going to eat a little bit of this banana here, because again it’s still packed with potassium, has a good amount of fiber, has magnesium, and number one thing that saved that banana, it is a real food, unprocessed, unhybridized, completely real. Again, the banana is staying here on the Chopping Block.

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Josh Axe

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