by Amy Margulies, lead registered dietitian for Retrofit
You’ve probably heard people talking, or read articles online, about why eating bananas is bad for you nutritionally and can impede weight loss. While some people insist that bananas are just fine, others are convinced this is a fruit you should stay away from if you’re trying to lose weight – and many do, just in case the rumors are true. But what’s the real deal with bananas? It’s time to peel open this myth.
What the critics are saying
The controversy started with Dr. Susanna Holt, an Australian researcher who developed the Satiety Index, a way to evaluate how full different foods make you feel. “We found that bananas are much less satisfying than oranges or apples,” Holt stated at the conclusion of the satiety study.
Bananas are generally higher in calories from carbs than most fruits. So for those who are counting calories, this may seem like a poor choice for a snack. People have also observed that bananas cause a “binding” effect, or put more simply, they cause constipation. That’s something you don’t want when you look to the scale for signs of progress.
Another side to the story
While the above claims may be true, there are more positive attributes to eating bananas. It turns out that they also contain resistant starch, a dietary fiber that the body can’t actually absorb. As a result, you feel full without absorbing additional weight in the long term. What’s more, according to Dr. Janine Higgins at the Colorado Clinical and Transitional Sciences Institute, research indicates that resistant starch can increase the rate of fat burning your body does after a meal.
Combined with potassium and other vitamins and minerals that occur naturally in bananas, there are some serious benefits that the banana-mashers tend to ignore. It’s no surprise we see stories from people like Loni Jane, who lost weight and improved her health significantly when she made bananas a major part of her diet.
What’s your take?
Some people will always believe the hype, despite the facts. But the truth is that the science is in favor of bananas being part of a healthy, weight-loss friendly diet. To get the most benefit, eat bananas that are still a little bit green – that’s when there’s more resistant starch. As a banana ripens, the starch breaks down and becomes less resistant to absorption.
We’re not recommending that you eat 10 bananas a day like Loni Jane, but eating them in moderation as part of a weight loss diet and active lifestyle will bring you nothing but positive benefits – so peel away!