The banana is a highly versatile, delicious fruit that's easy to digest and touted for its many health benefits, such as protection against oxidative stress and chronic disease due to its high fiber and antioxidant contents. Bananas' soft texture and sweet taste make them a healthy option for most people—including babies and older adults, who may struggle with chewing and swallowing tougher foods, as well as athletes and active individuals who need a quick energy source while on the go.
But are bananas safe to eat for those living with diabetes? Keep reading to find out. Plus, we'll cover how bananas affect blood sugar and the benefits of consuming bananas if you have diabetes.
Related: Is It Safe to Eat Brown Bananas?
an illustration of a person with bananas
Credit: Michela Buttignol and Getty Images
One medium banana has:
- 105 calories
- 1g protein
- 0g fat
- 27g carbohydrates
- 3 grams fiber (11% daily value (DV))
- 422 milligrams potassium (9% DV)
- 10 milligrams vitamin C (11% DV)
- 0.4 milligrams vitamin B6 (24% DV)
Bananas are most known for this potassium content, but they are also high in fiber, vitamin C and vitamin B6. Potassium plays a role in maintaining fluid balance within the body and regulating blood pressure. Fiber and vitamin C are highly regarded for their impacts on digestive, heart and immune health. Vitamin B6 assists in hundreds of enzyme reactions and protein metabolism.
How Bananas Affect Your Blood Sugar
People with diabetes must be careful when eating carbohydrate-rich foods. That's because carbs raise your blood sugar more than any other nutrient, meaning the type of carbs you eat can significantly impact blood sugar management. In addition, high-carb foods tend to have a higher ranking on the glycemic index—a 100-point scale that measures how fast a certain food increases blood sugar levels. In people without diabetes, their pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream when they experience a blood sugar spike. Insulin then moves the sugar out of the blood and into the cells, where it's used for energy or stored for later use. However, people with diabetes either don't produce enough insulin to transport sugar out of the blood, or their bodies can't use insulin as they should, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Since bananas contain sugar, they can cause blood sugar to rise more than other foods do. According to the Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central, one medium banana contains approximately 27 grams of carbs and 14 grams of sugar. However, like most other whole-food sources of sugar, bananas contain fiber (about 3 grams per medium banana). Fiber is a powerhouse nutrient that has many health benefits. In terms of diabetes, fiber blunts blood sugar spikes. It enhances your body's ability to regulate blood sugar by slowing down the digestion and absorption of carbs, per a 2018 review published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine.
According to Kelsey Lorencz, RD, a registered dietitian and nutrition advisor at Zenmaster Wellness, bananas are fine to eat if you have diabetes. "The carbs found in bananas are broken down into glucose, which enters the bloodstream before heading to cells for energy. Eating a banana will cause blood sugar to increase, but depending on how much you eat, what you pair it with and the ripeness, that's not necessarily a bad thing," says Lorencz. "A riper banana will have more sugar, and a banana on the green side will have less sugar and more resistant starch, which doesn't impact blood sugar."
Related: Do Bananas Lose Fiber When They Ripen?
Benefits of Eating Bananas
While people with diabetes need to moderate their carb intake, they still need to consume healthy carbs for energy. "Eating healthy carbs is especially important for people with diabetes if they're taking any blood sugar-lowering medications," explains Lorencz. "Bananas are good sources of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6 and manganese."
Bananas are a great source of quick energy, and eating them may provide several health benefits for those with diabetes.
Can Improve Insulin Sensitivity
Green (or unripe) bananas contain less sugar and more resistant starch than riper bananas. According to a 2019 review published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, resistant starch is a carbohydrate that can't be digested in your small intestine and has many health benefits, such as improved digestion, reduced cholesterol and improved gut health. Resistant starch improves insulin sensitivity in people with metabolic syndrome, including diabetes.
Can Help Regulate Blood Sugar
The resistant starch found in green bananas functions similarly to fiber in that it slows the digestion of carbs and prevents blood sugar spiking, according to a 2019 review published in Nutrients. In addition, resistant starch may help your gut bacteria, which can improve insulin function and help people with diabetes better manage their blood sugar, per a 2022 publication in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. In addition, bananas rank low on the GI scale. Ripe bananas score 51, while greener, less ripe bananas can score as low as 42, per the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Boost Your Heart Health
When it comes to diabetes, taking good care of your heart is vital. According to the National Institutes of Health, people with diabetes are more likely to develop heart disease and have risk factors for heart attack and stroke, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Fortunately, the vitamins and minerals found in bananas have heart-protective properties. For example, bananas are an excellent source of potassium, a nutrient essential for proper heart function. Increasing potassium intake can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. In addition, bananas are a good source of magnesium, which is correlated with lower blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. One medium banana contains 422 milligrams of potassium (9% of the Daily Value) and 32 mg of magnesium (8% DV).
Tips for Including Bananas in a Healthy Diabetes Diet
If you have diabetes, the following tips can help you enjoy bananas while keeping your blood sugar in check:
- Combine bananas with foods that are high in protein and fats to slow down your body's digestion and absorption of sugar. For example, add a banana to a smoothie containing chia seeds or flaxseed, try our flavor-packed Lemon-Blueberry Nice Cream, make our Breakfast Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cakes or eat a handful of nuts along with a banana.
- Eat greener, less ripe bananas, as they are higher in resistant starch and lower in sugar.
- Consume smaller bananas to lower the amount of sugar entering your blood.
Lorencz adds, "Choose bananas that are a little on the green side. Then, pair them with a protein and fat source, like peanut butter or hard-boiled eggs, for a healthy and satisfying breakfast to keep your blood sugar stable."
The Bottom Line
Bananas are a delicious, nutritious and affordable food for everyone, including those with diabetes. Eating this healthy fruit can help stabilize blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity and improve heart health. Though bananas are higher in carbs and sugars than some foods, they also contain fiber and resistant starch that slows down the digestion and release of sugar into your bloodstream. These qualities make bananas a healthy, go-to snack for people with diabetes. However, if you have diabetes, consider choosing smaller, less ripe bananas and pairing them with other healthy foods high in protein and fats.
Related: Can People with Diabetes Eat Fruits?
Do bananas raise blood sugar? ›
A banana's effect on blood sugar depends on its ripeness
Green (unripe) bananas contain resistant starch, which doesn't raise blood sugar levels and may improve long-term blood sugar management. Yellow (ripe) bananas contain more sugar, so they may cause a bigger rise in blood sugar.
Bananas are a delicious, nutritious and affordable food for everyone, including those with diabetes. Eating this healthy fruit can help stabilize blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity and improve heart health.What fruits should avoid for 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.What is the best fruit for diabetics to eat? ›
- berries — Both citrus and berries are recommended as superfoods by the American Diabetes Association.
- apples — High fiber fruits like apples and pears help to slow a spike in blood sugar, Rose says.
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.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.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.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 vegetable 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 meat can diabetes eat? ›
- Poultry: Chicken or turkey (white meat, no skin), Cornish hen (no skin).
- Fish: Fresh or frozen cod, flounder, haddock, halibut, trout, lox, tuna fresh or canned in water.
- Shellfish: Clams, crab, lobster, scallops, shrimp.
- vegetables. nonstarchy: includes broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes. ...
- fruits—includes oranges, melon, berries, apples, bananas, and grapes.
- grains—at least half of your grains for the day should be whole grains. ...
- protein. ...
- dairy—nonfat or low fat.
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.Is lettuce good for diabetes? ›
Lettuce: the diabetic patient should eat plenty of lettuce. These have a low glycemic index and thus helps to lower your blood sugar level. Ac up of lettuce gives 5 to 10 calories of energy. Lettuce is also rich in vitamins especially vitamin A, K, and other minerals.Is Apple good for diabetes? ›
Apples are an excellent fruit to include in your diet if you have diabetes. Most dietary guidelines for people living with diabetes recommend a diet that includes fruits and vegetables (21). Fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.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 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.What time should diabetics stop eating at night? ›
Try to fast at night
Try to go 10 to 12 hours each night without eating, Sheth advises. For instance, if you eat breakfast at 8:30 a.m. every morning, that means capping your nighttime meals and snacks between 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. each night.
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.
Can diabetics eat chocolate? ›
There's a myth about chocolate and diabetes. But you can eat chocolate, just in moderation and not too often. Try not to eat a lot in one go as it affects your blood sugar levels. If you snack on chocolate regularly it may start to increase your cholesterol levels and make it more difficult to manage your weight.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.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 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 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.Is bacon OK for diabetics? ›
People with type 2 diabetes should limit or avoid high-fat cuts of meat, such as regular ground beef, bologna, hot dogs, sausage, bacon, and ribs, because like full-fat dairy, they're high in saturated fats, explains Kimberlain.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.Is chicken good for diabetes? ›
Chicken is rich in nutrients and protein and low in calories, making it ideal for people with diabetes trying to maintain a moderate weight and stay full for longer. Many people with diabetes aim to eat more healthily by eating protein-rich food. This makes chicken an ideal diet for diabetes as it is high in protein.Can diabetics eat pizza? ›
The short answer to this question is yes, people with diabetes can enjoy all types of pizza. However, it's a good idea for all people, not just those with diabetes, to limit their intake of pizza.What is the number 1 vegetable to avoid? ›
Vegetables that belong to the cabbage family such as cauliflower, Brussels, broccoli, and sprouts should never be consumed raw. These vegetables contain sugar that is difficult to digest.
What drinks can diabetics drink? ›
- Water. When it comes to hydration, water is the best option for people with diabetes. ...
- Seltzer water. ...
- Tea. ...
- Herbal tea. ...
- Unsweetened coffee. ...
- Vegetable juice. ...
- Low fat milk. ...
- Milk alternatives.
Can diabetics drink Coke Zero? Yes, diabetics can drink Coke Zero. Coke Zero is a sugar-free, low-calorie carbonated beverage that does not contain any sugar or carbohydrates. This makes it a suitable option for people with diabetes who need to carefully manage their intake of sugar and carbohydrates.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.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 is the main enemy of diabetes? ›
When most people think of a diet that leads to poor diabetes control, they may think of a diet high in carbs and sugar. While those types of food do impact your blood sugars, consuming too many saturated fats can be an enemy against diabetes control,too.What kind of soup is good for diabetics? ›
Look for soups that feature non-starchy vegetables such as green beans, carrots, and mushrooms, or diabetes-friendly starches such as beans, barley, and quinoa. Soups that contain fewer than 30 grams of carbohydrates per serving are the best choices.Is corn OK for diabetics? ›
Can you eat corn if you have diabetes? Yes, you can eat corn if you have diabetes. Corn is a source of energy, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It's also low in sodium and fat.Can a diabetic eat hamburger? ›
Burger: You can have a burger, but consider forgoing the bun. Top with lettuce, tomato and onion, and skip the condiments to avoid unnecessary sugars. Bean salad: Beans are a good option. While baked beans tend to be higher in sugar, a light bean salad is a great choice.Can diabetics eat sandwiches? ›
Sandwiches can be a quick, diabetes-friendly lunch option as long as you're smart about your choice of bread. Choose a bread that's flat. “Bagels and rolls have too many calories and carbs,” Arévalo explains. Also, check that it's 100 percent whole grain with roughly 30 g of carbs per serving, says Swift.Can diabetics eat hamburger meat? ›
Healthful meat options
Share on Pinterest Lean meats, including some cuts of beef, pork, and chicken, can be suitable food options for people with diabetes. People with diabetes should choose lean meats to limit their intake of unhealthful fats.
Is tuna with mayo good for diabetics? ›
Can people with diabetes eat mayonnaise? Yes, a person with diabetes can eat mayonnaise. Mayonnaise has less than a single gram of carbohydrates per tablespoon. But with 10 grams of total fat (1.6 grams of that coming from saturated fat) it can be considered high fat.What can a diabetic eat when not hungry? ›
If you can't keep food down, try snacks or drinks with carbohydrates in to give you energy. Try to sip sug- ary drinks (such as fruit juice or non-diet cola or lem- onade) or suck on glucose tablets or sweets like jelly beans. Letting fizzy drinks go flat may help keep them down.Can diabetics eat ice cream? ›
In case you didn't get the memo: Yes, those of us with diabetes CAN eat ice cream. Even though some outside the diabetes community don't think so, and they try to convince us we can't or shouldn't, the fact remains that an ice cream sundae or vanilla waffle cone every once in a while isn't going to kill us.What kind of milk can diabetics drink? ›
People with diabetes may need to limit the amount of flavored sweetened milk they drink. People with diabetes may choose to use milk products that are full fat or whole, reduced fat or fat free depending on their preference or their calorie and nutrition goals.Can diabetics have chips? ›
Contrary to common belief, you can enjoy chips as a snack, even if you have diabetes. While you'll still need to keep an eye on sodium and be carb-conscious, you don't have to ban the foods you love from your diet.Is a banana a day too much sugar? ›
A banana a day is not too much sugar. There are two types of sugar: natural and refined, and since bananas have fructose (a naturally occurring sugar), it's a good source of carbohydrates.Can bananas lower blood sugar quickly? ›
Green, or unripe, bananas contain less sugar and more resistant starch, Smith explains, which can help blunt a blood sugar spike. Start with half a banana or a very small one to see how your blood sugar responds (remember, everyone is different).What should my blood sugar be after eating a banana? ›
Bananas have a GL of 12.4, which is considered a medium impact, according to UCSF. Therefore, one large banana will affect your blood sugar levels more than foods that are considered to have a low effect (such as grapefruit).Is apple good for diabetes? ›
Apples are an excellent fruit to include in your diet if you have diabetes. Most dietary guidelines for people living with diabetes recommend a diet that includes fruits and vegetables (21). Fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.Is Orange good for diabetes? ›
If you have diabetes, eating a variety of fruits — including oranges — is good for your health. Whole oranges may keep your blood sugar levels steady due to their low GI, fiber content, and other nutrients.
What is the number one food that causes diabetes? ›
Red meat and processed red meat are both linked to type 2 diabetes. Processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, and deli meats are particularly bad because of their high levels of sodium and nitrites.What raises your A1C? ›
Several factors can falsely increase or decrease your A1C result, including: Kidney failure, liver disease, or severe anemia. A less common type of hemoglobin that people of African, Mediterranean, or Southeast Asian descent and people with certain blood disorders (such as sickle cell anemia or thalassemia) may have.Do bananas raise A1C? ›
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.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.