Bananas are a delicious and widely enjoyed fruit, but due to their high content of free sugars, they are often restricted in the diets of individuals with diabetes. However, recent research suggests that moderate daily consumption of bananas is not harmful. In this article, we will explore the possibility of consuming bananas as part of a diabetic diet and the potential benefits they can offer for the diabetes patients.
Is it possible to consume bananas with diabetes?
Individuals with diabetes can indeed consume bananas, but it’s important to do so with caution. According to Food Data Central and UFDA, a medium-sized banana (roughly 126 grams) contains approximately 15 grams of sugar, 29 grams of carbohydrates, and 112 calories. It’s essential to monitor the impact of bananas on your blood sugar levels, and the best way to do so is by using a blood glucose meter.
To determine how bananas affect your blood sugar levels, try experimenting with bananas of different sizes, ripeness levels, and types, and check your blood sugar levels about two hours after consuming one. Ideally, your reading should show a blood sugar increase of no more than 40 points and a level of less than 180 after two hours to ensure a healthy blood glucose response. By monitoring your blood sugar levels and consuming bananas in moderation, you can enjoy this delicious fruit as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Why should a diabetic person choose bananas?
A diabetic person should choose bananas on the following basis-
The Glycemic Index (GI) categorizes foods based on their ability to raise blood sugar levels and the speed at which they do so. Diets consisting of low GI foods are believed to be beneficial for individuals with type 2 diabetes since such foods are absorbed more gradually, causing a slower increase in blood sugar levels, instead of a sudden spike.
The GI has three classifications:
- Low GI: 55 or less
- Medium GI: 56–69
- High GI: 70–100
Ripe bananas have a GI of 51, which is classified as low (indicating that they will not cause a significant rise in blood sugar). Additionally, slightly unripe bananas have an even lower GI of 42. However, overripe bananas, with a GI of approximately 62, should be consumed in moderation.
- Resistant starch
Slightly green or unripe bananas contain less sugar and have more resistant starch, which means that the starch is ‘resistant’ to digestion. In this way, the starch functions more like fiber, which can help smooth out blood sugars after eating.
- Satiety factor
Because of its fiber-resistant starch content, a banana can promote satiety, making you feel fuller and possibly helping you eat less.
What are the healthy ways to eat bananas?
If you like eating bananas, here are some ways to fit them into your eating plan without seeing a surge in blood sugar two hours later:
- If you find ripe bananas too sweet, consider opting for slightly green ones. These bananas contain the same amount of carbs as ripe ones, but the carbs are a mainly resistant starch, which is less likely to cause blood sugar spikes.
- To slow the rise in blood sugar from any carb food, include a source of fat or protein in your meal.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that individuals with diabetes should consume fruit in moderation, such as eating a small piece of whole fruit or half a serving of large fruit with each meal as a dessert. Depending on your carb intake goal, you can easily include a banana in your meal plan by balancing it with other carb-rich foods.
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