Can Diabetics Eat Bananas?

Despite being a healthy fruit bananas are pretty high in carbohydrates. They contain simple sugar glucose, fructose, and disaccharide sucrose. These are the main nutrients that are what's responsible for raising our blood sugars. As diabetics, it is our number one goal to keep blood sugars as level and as stable as possible. For this reason, minimizing foods that cause huge blood sugar spikes is essential.

93 percent of the calories in bananas come from carbohydrates. These carbs that like I have mentioned are in the form of simple sugars, glucose, and fructose. A medium-sized banana contains about 30 grams of carbohydrates, the same as in two slices of bread. The types of carbs in your banana is highly dependent on the ripeness.

Green or unripe bananas contain less simple sugars, those are the ones already broken down and are easily and quickly absorbed. As the banana ages, the yellower gets, the sweeter it gets, the more the starch gets converted into simple sugars inside that banana.

So green bananas contain about 80 percent starch measured in dry weight. During that ripening process, the starch then ends up being less than 1% when that banana is fully ripe. This means that a fully ripe banana will cause your blood sugars to rise faster than a green or unripe banana.

Starches are a longer chain version of carbohydrates that the body can not break them down as fast and quickly as the simple sugars, so this leads to a slower more controlled blood sugar levels with unripe bananas.

But ripeness is not the only factor when it comes to the amount of sugar in your banana. The second component we must factor in is the size of that banana. Diabetes is about knowing two things, the nutrient profile of the food, and just as importantly the amounts to be consumed or the portions.

The bigger the banana the more carbs you are going to be getting. So a small banana around six to seven inches, is around 90 calories, around 23 grams of carbs. An extra-large banana, about nine inches, is around 135 calories, and it jumps to about 35 grams of carbs.

This means a larger banana will have a greater effect on your blood sugars. So when we test we must factor in both variables size and ripeness. Each will have a significant difference in blood sugar readings. You could be eating a small green banana one day and it will hardly move your blood sugars.

Now you know why!! So let's talk about potassium.

Potassium is a vital mineral and electrolyte for our bodies. One medium-sized banana contains around 400 milligrams of potassium. This important mineral can help decrease a lot of the complications from diabetes thus managing all the health-related issues. And what are they?

It helps in maintaining normal blood pressure. It is actually part of transporting nutrients into the cells. It supports healthy nerve and muscle function. This mineral helps maintain fluid levels in the body and regulates the movements of nutrients and waste products in and out of our body cells.

It is the key to the prevention of cramps. And if you have experienced these diabetic cramps and you know how incredibly painful they can be. And why do they occur? Well, there's an imbalance between sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium in the body.

Potassium also keeps the heart beating regularly and can reduce the effects of sodium on blood pressure. So bananas are that very convenient way of getting that required potassium.

But after testing there are many of us whose blood sugars rise beyond that safe point. So what are our options here?

One consumed the smallest greenest banana you can find. Two, if you're a type 2. Try to consume a banana with some fats and protein, some low-fat cottage cheese or some Greek yogurt or with some almond butter or nuts preferably macadamia or almonds.

Third, consume that banana before exercise, if your blood sugars are in the low or medium range before weight training. These bananas help keep your glucose levels constant and stable during that workout and you get all potassium needed to train at extremely high intensive levels. What if glucose levels are higher than normal before you train, you actually have to skip that banana.

Can Diabetics Eat Bananas?

Can Diabetic Eat Bananas?

Although, the research is limited. It is thought that eating bananas may have significant benefits to people with diabetes. Several studies have shown that unripe bananas (but not overripe) might improve blood sugar levels as well as insulin response because the nutrients that a banana contains actually regulates metabolism which plays a crucial role in diabetic management.

In general, bananas can help maintain digestion due to the relatively high fiber. Bananas also contain potassium which helps to keep blood to the pressure in check. potassium contributes to the overall health of the cardiovascular system.

Counting of Carbohydrate

But at the same time, a small banana contains almost 19gram carbohydrates. When a diabetic patient can consume 45-60 gm carbohydrate altogether in each meal, and this is where the question becomes more relevant – Is it safe to eat a banana for a diabetic patient?

We need to see the carbohydrate counts in bananas. So, we can finally decide on banana intake depending on these factors. Here’s the approximate amount of carbohydrate in the different sizes of bananas:

  • Extra small banana (6 inches or less): 18.5 grams.
  • Small banana (about 6–6.9 inches long): 23 grams.
  • Medium banana (7–7.9 inches long): 27 grams.
  • Large banana (8–8.9 inches long): 31 grams.
  • Extra-large banana (9 inches or longer): 35 grams.

Glycemic Index

Another important measure we have is the “Glycemic index” which tells us the impact a certain food has on your blood sugar levels due to its own sugar content. Values of 55 and higher are considered medium GI. Foods at these levels should be consumed in moderation. Foods with a GI of 50 and below are considered acceptable.

Although the GI numbers shouldn’t be an absolute deterrent to what you should or shouldn’t eat, it’s a useful tool to understand how food impacts blood sugar. Based on the nature of their ripeness. Let us see the GI of Bananas

  • Unripe bananas have a GI of about 42.
  • Ripe bananas with brown specks have a GI of around 48 to 51.
As a rule, the riper the fruit, the higher the GI value or sugar content.

Banana Benefits For Diabetic People

High Fiber Content

Green bananas are full of fiber. We all know that fiber is important for the proper functioning of the digestive tract and bowel movement. One cup of boiled green bananas contains 3.6 grams of fiber. Consumption of adequate amounts of fiber also means that you are less susceptible to diabetes.

Resistant Starch

Resistant starch is the starch that is not absorbed into the small intestine, rather it is passed on to the larger intestine. Research, conducted by Jannie Haggins of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center suggests that, resistance start intake is associated with several changes in metabolism which may offer positive health benefits.

High Potassium

Green bananas are high in potassium. A cup of boiled green bananas contain 531 milligrams of potassium. Our body needs potassium for muscle movement, proper functioning of the nerve, and purification of blood by the kidneys

Probiotic Bacteria

Green bananas serve as the perfect food for the ‘good and friendly’ bacteria. These bacteria would live in your intestines, consume green bananas and help to achieve a healthy stomach and digestive tract

Source of Vitamins

Green bananas are a rich source of various vitamins like vitamin b6 vitamin C and more. These recommendations are extremely important to maintain a healthy body.

Diabetic Diet

People who suffer from type 2 diabetes can use green banana in their diet as green banana contains a low amount of sugar. We all know how sensitive the diet of a diabetic patient is. You can include green bananas in the boiled form for best results 

How to include bananas in your diet?

Unripe or green bananas contain resistant starch and less sugar when compared to yellow or ripe bananas. Resistant starch does not break down as easily as less complex sugars. This may even improve long-term blood sugar control.

The size of the banana you eat can influence the amount of sugar you consume in a banana. The bigger the banana, the more carbs you will be getting and the greater rise in your blood sugar will be.

Just remember that when adding the banana to your diabetes diet plan, it's important to control the portion size of the banana you eat to prevent the rise of blood sugar levels.
You may have it together with nuts or low-fat yogurt, which slows down the process of metabolism and sugar accumulation.

Sprinkle cinnamon on a fried banana if you want to have a dessert. Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants and enables to control glucose reaction and thus maintain a consistent blood sugar level.

                                      Final Notes                                     

If you have diabetes, there are no strict rules for banana consumption, but caution is necessary.

While bananas are regarded as a sweet fruit, they benefit the overall health with a nutritional profile.

Among diabetics, the recommendable portion size is one extra-small banana, which is a 6-inch long banana.

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