Are you as confused as I was? All my life I heard how good bananas are for you because of the potassium in them. My Dad use to eat them all the time because he said they were good for his high blood pressure. I always heard if you had an upset stomach, eat a banana-it will settle it down. Now in the last few years every time I look for a recipe or have a health question a popup appears saying to never eat bananas because they are bad for you. Really–why? Well, I decided to do some research on that subject. I often use bananas as a sugar substitute in baking and in hot oatmeal.
I am not a doctor or a dietitian, but here is the conclusion I reached. Do your own research and let me know if you agree with me or not. I am actually very glad I did the research because it clarified a lot of questions I had. Hope I can help you with making this all this a much simpler process to understand.
Let’s first look at the nutrients in a banana:
Potassium 12%, 422 mg
Carbs 9%, 27 g
Vit C 17%
Vit B6 20%
So as you can see, there are some important nutrients in a banana. The questionable culprit is the carbohydrate content. The carbs are made up of fiber (12%) and sugar (14 grams).
Eating a banana by itself is not the way to lose weight, get energy, or reduce cravings. With that amount of sugar your blood sugar peaks to high and then you come crashing down.
What we first need to understand if how to regulate our blood sugar so we aren’t always in a crash and burn cycle. You know you have a problem with keeping your blood sugar balanced when you find it difficult to focus, feel weak and have no energy and are constantly craving sugary foods. As soon as you ingest any type of carb (good or bad), it immediately turns into sugar in your blood stream. This triggers your pancreas to secrete fat-storing hormones which are called insulin. Doesn’t sound too good–right!
So, hang in there with me for one more very important fact and all of this will make sense to you. There are 3 macronutrients–carbohydrates, fat, and protein. When you eat all three of these macronutrients together (at the same time). It regulates your blood sugar level. The protein and fat helps to slow down the absorption of the sugar into the blood. This evens out the peaks and valleys.
So, my conclusion is–yes, you can eat that banana as long as you eat some healthy fat and protein with it. This will help regulate the sugar as soon as it hits your system. As with everything in life–it is all a matter of balance. So the next time you eat a banana–eat it with some peanut butter (contains fat and protein). This concept also applies to other fruits and vegetables. There is a difference in the amount of carbs in fruits and veggies. Some are much higher than others. If you are going to eat them as a snack and not in a meal, make sure you balance them out with a protein and healthy fat. An apple has high sugar content, so it is best to eat with some cheese.
Here is my favorite recipe for hot oatmeal that has bananas and peanut butter–so yummy!
So if you want to have stable moods, lose weight, have a high energy level and end those endless sugar cravings, keep in mind that the secret to this is to maintain your blood sugar level. And that is easy to regulate as long as you balance out your carbs with healthy fats and protein.