Bananas for Weight Loss: Benefits, Drawbacks, and More

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Bananas have been staple fruit for ages, and they’re surprisingly versatile. You can toss them in smoothies, pair them with peanut butter, and simply eat them as-is. But if you’re interested in losing weight, it only makes sense to take a second look at foods you’ve been eating all along. Some diets, like keto, recommend that you steer clear of bananas. So, are bananas good for weight loss or is it best to avoid them when you want to see the number on the scale go down?

Like nearly everything with weight loss, it depends. But nutritionists say you don’t need to avoid bananas—or even necessarily limit how much of them you eat, outside of what people would normally have. “Eating a banana every day is not harmful,” says Deborah Cohen, D.C.N., R.D.N., an associate professor in the department of clinical and preventive nutrition sciences at Rutgers University School of Health Professions.

So what’s the deal with bananas and weight loss? Nutritionists break it down.

Meet the experts: Deborah Cohen, D.C.N., R.D.N., an associate professor in the department of clinical and preventive nutrition sciences at Rutgers University School of Health Professions; Christy Brissette, M.S., R.D., owner of 80 Twenty Nutrition in Laguna Beach, CA; Tara Gidus Collingwood, M.S., R.D.N., owner of Tara Gidus Nutrition Consulting in Orlando, Fl.

Health benefits of bananas

There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re interested in eating bananas for weight loss. These are the biggest perks nutritionists say you’ll get when you eat a banana.

They’re packed with vitamins.

“Bananas are a great source of vitamins B6 and C, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber,” says Tara Gidus Collingwood, M.S., R.D.N., owner of Tara Gidus Nutrition Consulting in Orlando, Fl. That potassium is a big perk—it’s an electrolyte that’s needed for nerve and muscle function, says Christy Brissette, M.S., R.D., owner of 80 Twenty Nutrition in Laguna Beach, CA. “Potassium is essential for carbohydrate metabolism and to make protein,” she continues. “You lose potassium when you sweat, so bananas are a great way to replace those losses after intense exercise.”

They digest slowly.

In addition to fiber, which can help you to feel fuller, longer, bananas have something called “resistant starch,” which is a carbohydrate that resists being digested and isn’t broken down into sugar in your gut, Collingwood says. That helps to keep your blood sugar from spiking, she says.

They’re easy on your stomach.

Bananas “are easy to digest,” Brissette says. They’re also gentle on your stomach and a good option if you’re dealing with a gastrointestinal issue.

They’re helpful for workouts.

Bananas are highly portable, making them a great carbohydrate choice for people who are busy and active, Brissette says. “They’re ideal for quick, easy energy pre-workout or as part of your post-workout recovery,” she adds.

Are there any drawbacks to eating bananas regularly?

Cohen says there are “not really” any issues with eating bananas regularly—provided you do it within reason. “One medium banana has about 100 calories and no fat or cholesterol,” she says.

But bananas have a lot of carbs—around 26 grams, to be specific—along with about 18 grams of natural sugars, according to the USDA. “It’s best to pair them with protein and healthy fats to stabilize blood sugar levels,” Brissette says. “This will help prevent hunger.”

One serving of carbohydrates is half a banana, which is inconvenient if you’re counting carbs for weight loss, Brissette says. (Her advice: If you only want half a banana and don’t want to waste the other half, you can put it in the freezer for smoothies.)

Eating too many bananas in one sitting or eating them without fat and protein to slow them down could derail your weight loss. For a more balanced snack, smear on a tablespoon of unsweetened peanut butter or almond butter, or grab a small handful of nuts.

Are bananas good for weight loss?

It depends. “Bananas can be part of a weight loss plan,” Collingwood says. “They contain about 100 calories each—depending on their size—and provide fiber and some fullness.”

But Cohen says that merely adding a banana to your day will not magically lead to weight loss, unless you cut back on other foods in your diet. And, if you ate a lot of bananas, it could actually cause you to gain weight, since bananas contain about 100 calories each, she says.

Still, Cohen says that “certainly, one or two bananas a day can be healthy.”

Headshot of Korin Miller

Korin Miller is a freelance writer specializing in general wellness, sexual health and relationships, and lifestyle trends, with work appearing in Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Self, Glamour, and more. She has a master’s degree from American University, lives by the beach, and hopes to own a teacup pig and taco truck one day.

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