Bananas for Diabetes: Good or Bad? (2023)

Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
  • Bananas: a popular common fruit
  • Banana Nutrition Facts
  • Watch Out for Fructose
  • Are Green Bananas Healthier Than Ripe Ones?
  • Glycemic Index (GI)
  • Comparing Bananas to Other Potassium Sources
  • Conclusion: Are Bananas a Smart Choice for Diabetics/ Prediabetics?

Bananas for diabetes. Are you curious to know whether they are a good or bad fruit to include in your diet?

Glad you asked.

Because while eating bananas are commonly thought of as being a “healthy,” when you have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, there’s a bit more to the story.

Let’s explore bananas together now.

Bananas for Diabetes: Good or Bad? (1)

Bananas: a popular common fruit

As we all know, bananas are a popular fruit, well known for their bright yellow peel and unique boomerang shape.

People from all across the world consume bananas. And as suggested above, bananas are often considered a health food because they are relatively low in calories and rich in minerals like potassium, plus they’re an easy snack to grab on the go.

Still, while they may provide various health benefits for the general population, the question still remains: are they really a healthy choice for people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes?

To find out, let’s start by taking a peek at the nutrition facts.

Banana Nutrition Facts

For one medium-sized ripe banana:

  • Calories: 105
  • Total carbohydrates: 26.9g
  • Protein: 1.20g
  • Fat: 0.39g
  • Fiber: 3.1g

With only about 1 gram of protein and less than a gram of fat, it’s pretty easy to see that the dominant macronutrient in a banana is… carbohydrates.

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The carbohydrate content of one medium banana is a whopping 26.9 grams (beware of the oncoming blood sugar spikes)!

Foods with a higher carb count can sometimes be “balanced out” if they also contain a high amount of dietary fiber, which reduces the overall net carbs of a food (the available carbs for digestion). But unfortunately, bananas aren’t rich in fiber.

Just 3.1 grams of fiber is not going to make up for nearly 17 grams of carbs (all coming from simple sugars).

So, the short of it is: unfortunately, bananas won’t be making the list of diabetes friendly foods anytime soon.

As a person with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, your main interest in any food should be whether or not it’s loaded with quick sugars and carbohydrates, as these things promote higher fluctuations in your blood sugar and A1c levels.

Right after a high carb meal you might feel sluggish, moody, and have a hard time concentrating, but that’s not the worst of it.

In the long run, a history of higher-than-normal blood sugar (indicated by an elevated A1C level or daily high blood sugar readings) can result in a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and other diabetic complications like neuropathy and vision loss – sorry for the doom and gloom but being aware of the consequences of prolonged high blood glucose is very important.

The good news is that brand new research supports a low carb diet as a great management tool for type 2 diabetes. Not to mention all the other research that supports it too – which is why we encourage a low carb diet here at DMP.

Watch Out for Fructose

Another drawback of bananas is the amount of fructose in them.

What is fructose, you ask?

Well, fructose is the simple sugar that gives fruit its sweet taste and is one of the reasons that ripe fruit is so darn appealing!

In small quantities, fructose isn’t a big problem. But snacking on fruits with medium-to-high levels of fructose throughout the day can really throw your metabolism for a loop.

(Video) Bananas: Do They Hurt Or Help Blood Sugar Balance?

A medium-sized banana contains about 7.1 grams of fructose. Compared to the major sugar-bombs like mangoes (1/2 a mango 16.2 grams) and raisins (1/4 cup 12.3 grams), bananas might seem like a pretty safe bet, but consider these facts about fructose before you make that call.

To start off, fructose has been known to disrupt the gut microbiome – gut bacteria responsible for helping to stabilize your metabolism, immune system, hormones, and overall health.

Not to mention, fructose is linked with an increased risk for metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Eating a high fructose diet can also leave you feeling constantly hungry and unsatisfied, because fructose can scramble the “hunger hormones” in your body.

When the hormones ghrelin, leptin, and insulin aren’t communicating properly with the rest of your body and brain, you will feel hungry all the time and you’re more likely to reach for high carb junk food… and that’s a recipe for blood sugar disaster!

Finally, high fructose intake has been associated with greater levels of inflammation, increased oxidative stress, and even increased weight gain.

Researchers are even beginning to consider that a low fructose diet may be a potential tool for reversing insulin resistance and improving insulin sensitivity – bring on those non-starchy vegetables!

As a diabetic, what all this means is that indulging in lower carb fruit options and avoiding high fructose options (like bananas) can set you on the path toward lower inflammation, improved hormone function, more regulated blood sugar and A1c, and overall better health.

Now that we’ve set that record straight on the fructose front, let’s tackle another common question about bananas in different stages of ripening.

Please pin, tweet or share this info; then keep on reading.

Bananas for Diabetes: Good or Bad? (2)

Are Green Bananas Healthier Than Ripe Ones?

Green bananas often come up in conversations about fruit intake and blood sugar because green bananas contain resistant starch.

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Unlike regular starchy foods (like white rice and most potatoes), resistant starch moves through the gastrointestinal track undigested.

Because resistant starch remains mostly undigested, it has a lower impact on blood sugar than other starches do.

But does that mean that diabetics can eat endless amounts of green bananas without any negative side effects?

Unfortunately, no.

Green bananas don’t automatically get a free pass just because they don’t raise your blood sugar as much as a ripe banana would.

You still have to take the total number of carbohydrates into account when deciding which foods to snack on and which ones to toss. And overall, green bananas still contain the high levels of carbs that a ripe banana does (around 26.9 grams per medium banana).

A few studies have found that banana starch may decrease glucose and insulin level after a meal. But, keep in mind that these studies often use isolated starch that is separated from the actual fruit, and therefore, does not contain any of the carbohydrates and sugars.

The key point: green or ripe, whole bananas are packed with carbohydrates and will result in an increase in blood glucose levels compared to other lower carb options.

Glycemic Index (GI)

Here’s the details on the GI of bananas:

  • Unripe bananas – 35
  • Ripe yellow bananas – 55
  • Plantain raw – 45
  • Plantain cooked – 70

Anything 55 and below is considered low glycemic index, though the lower the better. For instance, strawberries come in at just 25 on the GI scale.

However, even though bananas have a reasonable glycemic index, just be aware that there are some critical drawbacks to focusing on glycemic index alone.

Comparing Bananas to Other Potassium Sources

Another common misconception about bananas is that they are one of the top sources of vital micronutrients like magnesium, vitamin C, and especially potassium.

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Being that they are a potassium-rich food, they are often recommended for blood pressure because increasing potassium intake has been shown to help reduce blood pressure levels and decrease risk of heart disease.

The truth is though, that you won’t fall short on any vitamins and minerals by skipping out on bananas.

In fact, there are plenty of other fruits and vegetables that are just as rich in potassium, vitamin C, and magnesium as bananas are. And the best part is that these alternatives are way lower in carbs!

Check out this chart that compares the nutrients of bananas versus other fresh produce.

Bananas for Diabetes: Good or Bad? (3)

Avocados are rich in healthy, monounsaturated fats as well as magnesium. And to top it off, they contain an amazing 690 mg of potassium! That’s more than 1.5 times the amount of potassium found in a single banana.

Best of all, avocados are a perfectly safe low carb food that will help, not harm blood sugar levels – unlike bananas.

Blueberries, Brussels sprouts, and spinach are also great sources of vitamins and minerals, and they contain far less sugar/carbs than bananas do.

Conclusion: Are Bananas a Smart Choice for Diabetics/ Prediabetics?

At the end of the day, bananas (whether they’re green or ripe) simply contain too many carbohydrates to make them part of a healthy diet for diabetes. Simply because your goal is to regulate blood sugar and A1c, so adding higher carb foods makes it more difficult to do.

Of course, you could reduce your portion sizes and eat just one-third of the banana. But as we explored above, bananas are also pretty high in fructose, the simple sugar than can shake up your metabolism in all the wrong ways.

So, if you’re craving a sweet snack, you might want to pass on the banana and reach for a low carb, high fiber fruit like raspberries.

You can also snack on a delicious protein bar or choose from one of these 40 low carb snack recipes!

(Video) Banana good for Diabetes Patient ?

Bananas for Diabetes: Good or Bad? (4)

FAQs

How many bananas can a diabetic eat a day? ›

In general, most people with diabetes can eat one or two medium-sized bananas a day, keeping in mind what other fruit you are consuming.

Can a diabetic eat bananas daily? ›

Fruits like bananas are healthy foods that contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals. You can include bananas in your diet even if you have diabetes.

Do bananas raise your blood sugar? ›

But compared with other fruits, they tend to be higher in carbs and sugar, especially if they're very ripe. Green, or unripe, bananas contain less sugar and more resistant starch, Smith explains, which can help blunt a blood sugar spike.

What is the best fruit for diabetics to eat? ›

The Best Fruits for People With Diabetes
  • berries — Both citrus and berries are recommended as superfoods by the American Diabetes Association.
  • cherries.
  • plums.
  • grapefruit.
  • peaches.
  • apples — High fiber fruits like apples and pears help to slow a spike in blood sugar, Rose says.
  • pears.
  • kiwi.
Nov 3, 2021

Is peanut butter good for diabetics? ›

Peanut butter can definitely be part of a healthy diabetes diet plan. Always look for peanut butter that contains only peanuts and maybe some salt. Avoid peanut butter that includes added sugars and hydrogenated oils.

Are grapes OK for diabetics? ›

Grapes are a beloved fruit that is healthy and safe for people with diabetes. They are safe to eat, and you can include them in a diabetic diet because they don't cause a rise in blood sugar. Consuming grapes can lower the risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

Are eggs OK for diabetics? ›

Protein-rich foods like eggs can play an important role in regulating blood sugar levels for people with diabetes. Plus, eggs contain many essential vitamins and minerals, and have just 80 calories each.

Is banana better than apple for diabetes? ›

This is reflected in both fruits' glycemic index scores; apples have a low glycemic score of 39, meaning they have a small impact on blood sugar, whereas bananas have a score of 62, which makes blood sugar rise more quickly.

Is 2 bananas a day too much sugar? ›

In theory, you could eat as many bananas as you want, as long as you're not over-consuming calories, displacing other foods and nutrients that your body needs, or harming your health in other ways. That said, one to two bananas per day would likely be considered a moderate intake for most healthy people.

How can I lower my A1C overnight? ›

While you may want to lower your A1C levels overnight, that can't happen. It took months for your A1C to get where it is. It will take months to lower. Instead of looking for a quick fix, eat healthily and exercise regularly.

What drink lowers blood sugar? ›

Barley or jau water is high in insoluble fibre, which makes it good for diabetics. It is recommended for diabetics as it helps stabilise blood glucose levels. Make sure you drink unsweetened barley water to get effective results. The antioxidant properties of barley water also helps keep many diseases at bay.

What 7 fruits should diabetics avoid? ›

High GI fruits to be avoided by diabetics
  • Bananas.
  • Oranges.
  • Mango.
  • Grapes.
  • Raisins.
  • Dates.
  • Pears.
Sep 1, 2022

What fruits should diabetics ignore? ›

However, fruit can also be high in sugar. People with diabetes must keep a watchful eye on their sugar intake to avoid blood sugar spikes.
...
These include:
  • apples.
  • apricots.
  • avocados.
  • bananas.
  • blackberries.
  • blueberries.
  • cantaloupes.
  • cherries.
Mar 29, 2021

Which fruit Cannot be eaten in diabetes? ›

Diabetics should avoid fruits with a high GI or eat them in moderation so that their blood sugar levels do not spike abruptly. Pineapple, watermelon, mango, lychee, and banana have a high GI, so these are the worst fruits if you are diabetic.

Is Coffee good for a diabetic? ›

Some studies suggest that drinking coffee — whether caffeinated and decaffeinated — may actually reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you already have diabetes, however, the impact of caffeine on insulin action may be associated with higher or lower blood sugar levels.

Is popcorn good for diabetics? ›

Popcorn is a very popular and healthy whole-grain snack food. It has been deemed a suitable snack food for people with diabetes, partly because of its low calorie density. One cup (8 grams) of air-popped popcorn contains just 31 calories.

Is cheese good for a diabetic? ›

Cheese can be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet if you have diabetes. However, people with diabetes should opt for cheeses that are low in saturated fat and sodium while high in protein. If you have diabetes, combine higher-GI foods with cheese to help regulate blood sugar and prevent spiking.

Is watermelon good for diabetes? ›

Watermelon is safe for people with diabetes to eat in moderation. However, it is best to consume watermelon and other high GI fruits alongside foods that contain plenty of nutritious fats, fiber, and protein.

Are tomatoes good for diabetics? ›

Tomatoes are not high in sugar, and neither are carrots. Tomatoes, similar to carrots, are considered a non-starchy vegetable in meal planning for diabetes. This means that the amount of naturally occurring sugar is minimal in a serving.

Are cucumbers good for diabetics? ›

Early trials suggest that cucumber is one of the most effective plants for not only reducing blood sugar levels but also lowering the risk of hypoglycemia during a blood sugar drop. For people with diabetes, cucumber may be a helpful addition to their diet to moderate blood sugar levels more effectively.

Is Potato good for diabetes? ›

Eating too many potatoes can present problems for blood sugar control in people with diabetes. However, potatoes are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and people with diabetes can enjoy them as part of a healthful diet.

Can diabetics eat potatoes? ›

Can people with diabetes eat potatoes? According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), starchy vegetables such as potatoes can be included in the diet of a person with diabetes. The total amount of carbohydrate consumed at any given meal or snack is what is most important.

Is oatmeal good for a diabetic? ›

Not only are oats nutritious and satiating, they can also offer specific benefits for people with type 2 diabetes. According to MedlinePlus, adults with type 2 diabetes may benefit from eating whole grains like oats, due to their potential glucose and cholesterol-lowering effects.

Which fruit increase blood sugar? ›

Some commonly eaten fresh fruits may raise your blood sugar more quickly than others. These include figs, grapes, mangos, cherries and bananas. Eat them in moderation and in the suggested serving size of one small fruit or 1/2 cup.

Is avocado good for diabetics? ›

It won't cause spikes in blood sugar

They discovered that avocados do not significantly impact blood sugar levels. Part of what makes avocados a good choice for people with diabetes is that, although they are low in carbs, they are high in fiber. Many other high-fiber foods may still spike blood sugar levels.

Does blueberries help with diabetes? ›

Bottom line: Are blueberries good for diabetes? Yes, the fiber and antioxidants in blueberries promote a more stable blood sugar response. Whether you have diabetes or not, blueberries make for a sweet, fiber-filled, blood-sugar-friendly addition to any diet.

How many bananas raise blood sugar? ›

Foods with a glycemic index under 55 are low-glycemic index foods and unlikely to cause large increases in your blood sugar levels. Bananas fall into this group with a glycemic index of 52.

What are the 3 foods to avoid? ›

Top Foods to Avoid
  • Processed Meats. Foods such as bacon, sausages and some deli meats are not only high in calories and sodium, but also in saturated fat as well as some nitrates and nitrites. ...
  • Sugary Coffee Drinks. Gottfried recommends omitting sugary coffee drinks from your diet. ...
  • Sugary Cereals.
Mar 19, 2022

What are the side effects of eating banana? ›

Side effects to banana are rare but may include bloating, gas, cramping, softer stools, nausea, and vomiting. In very high doses, bananas might cause high blood levels of potassium. Some people are allergic to banana.

Which oil is best for diabetes? ›

Best Oils for a diabetic diet
  • Macadamia oil – has good ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Olive oil – Good for heart health.
  • Flaxseed oil – for salads.
  • Almond oil.
  • Canola oil.
  • Sesame oil.
  • Walnut oil.
  • Cold-pressed rapeseed oil.
Sep 11, 2018

Is Honey good for diabetes? ›

Generally, there's no advantage to substituting honey for sugar in a diabetes eating plan. Both honey and sugar will affect your blood sugar level. Honey is sweeter than granulated sugar, so you might use a smaller amount of honey for sugar in some recipes.

What vegetables should diabetics avoid? ›

People living with diabetes should look to avoid vegetables with a high GI rating, as the body absorbs blood sugar from those foods much quicker compared with low-GI foods. This includes artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, celery, cauliflower, eggplant/aubergine, green beans, lettuce, peppers, snow peas and spinach.”

What drops A1C fast? ›

7 Ways to Improve Your A1C
  • Exercise. Physical activity helps your body use insulin more efficiently, so it can better process the glucose in your blood. ...
  • Eat Right. ...
  • Take Medications as Prescribed. ...
  • Manage Your Stress. ...
  • Stick to a Schedule. ...
  • Drink in Moderation. ...
  • Monitor Your Numbers.

What vitamin is good for A1C? ›

Vitamin D

After two months of taking a 4,500-IU supplement of vitamin D daily, both fasting blood sugar and A1C improved. In fact, 48% of participants had an A1C that showed good blood sugar control, compared to only 32% before the study ( 20 ).

How can I flush sugar out of my system fast? ›

Studies show that drinking plenty of water helps glucose flush out of the blood. The average person should aim for eight glasses per day. Drinking plenty of water while you are indulging your sweet tooth — and throughout the day after — will help your body get back to normal.

What three drinks should diabetics avoid? ›

The 3 worst drinks
  • Regular soda. Soda takes the top spot on the list of drinks to avoid. ...
  • Energy drinks. Energy drinks can be high in both caffeine and carbohydrates. ...
  • Sweetened or unsweetened fruit juices.
Aug 30, 2021

Can drinking a lot of water lower your blood sugar? ›

Drinking water regularly may rehydrate the blood, lower blood sugar levels, and reduce diabetes risk ( 20 , 21 ). Keep in mind that water and other zero-calorie drinks are best. Avoid sugar-sweetened options, as these can raise blood glucose, drive weight gain, and increase diabetes risk ( 22 , 23 ).

What foods should diabetics stay? ›

What superstar foods are good for diabetes?
  • Beans. Kidney, pinto, navy or black beans are packed with vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and potassium. ...
  • Dark green leafy vegetables. ...
  • Citrus fruit. ...
  • Berries. ...
  • Tomatoes. ...
  • Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids. ...
  • Nuts. ...
  • Whole grains.

Is Yogurt good for a diabetic? ›

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommend yogurt as part of a healthful diet for people with diabetes. There are many different types of yogurt available. The examples below are also available with added probiotics: Greek yogurt contains double the protein of conventional yogurt.

Is Cranberry juice good for diabetes? ›

Yes! It is a superfood for a diabetic diet. Cranberry is a low GI food with polyphenol plant micronutrient that improves insulin sensitivity therefore it is a good choice for people with diabetes. It does not spike blood sugar levels.

What is a serving size of a banana for a diabetic? ›

The recommended serving size for bananas for diabetics is one extra-small banana, which is a banana that is no more than 6 inches long. A banana of this size contains 19 grams of carbohydrates, which is about a third of the 45 grams to 60 grams of carbohydrates most diabetics can consume in each meal.

Can a Type 2 diabetic eat bananas? ›

A person with diabetes should include a variety of fresh, whole foods in their diet, such as nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables. Bananas are a safe and nutritious fruit for people with diabetes to eat in moderation as part of a balanced, individualized eating plan.

Is Oatmeal good for a diabetic? ›

Not only are oats nutritious and satiating, they can also offer specific benefits for people with type 2 diabetes. According to MedlinePlus, adults with type 2 diabetes may benefit from eating whole grains like oats, due to their potential glucose and cholesterol-lowering effects.

Is Sweet Potato good for diabetics? ›

Sweet potatoes have a sterling nutritional profile, making them a great food for people with diabetes. Here's how to start incorporating them into your diet. Sweet potatoes are one of the most popular foods for diabetes at Everyday Health, and with good reason.

What fruits for type 2 diabetes? ›

Berries – Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries – Full of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins plus low on the glycemic index. Apples – Full of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C. Citrus – Oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit – Contain folate, potassium, and vitamin C plus low on the glycemic index.

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