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GRMC NUTRITION MINUTE - THE BAD RAP FOR BANANAS

GRMC NUTRITION MINUTE – THE BAD RAP FOR BANANAS
Bananas have gotten a bit of a bad rap recently in the context of low-carbohydrate diets, but there are still good reasons to include this ubiquitous fruit in your diet. While it is true that bananas are a rich in carbohydrate, they are also an excellent source of a number of micronutrients, can be high in “resistant starch” (an especially good type of carbohydrate), and are inexpensive and in season year-round, unlike most other available fruits.

To start, a medium-large banana (about 7 – 8” long), has approximately 105 calories with 1 gram of protein and 27 grams of carbohydrate (about 2 carbohydrate “servings”) including 2 grams of dietary fiber and zero added sugars. Besides those macronutrients, bananas are also a good source of potassium, as many people know, with about 10% of the RDA (about 420 mg), and are also a good source of magnesium, copper, and vitamin C.

A relatively new discovery is the high resistant starch content of bananas. A slightly green banana has about 4.7 grams of resistant starch, which is not digested and absorbed in the small intestine, like regular carbohydrate. That lowers the effective carbohydrate load of the banana, reduces the effect on blood sugar levels, and also acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics, as you may remember, are foods that directly feed the intestinal microbes that can help keep us healthy.

So don’t avoid bananas in the misguided belief that they are high in sugar and not healthy – they’re actually a cheap, nutritious, and widely available source of good quality carbohydrate in our diet.

Bret Sarnquist RD LD
GRMC Dietitian

Categories: GRMC NUTRITION MINUTE

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