Nutrition
Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Banana and Diabetes - Everything You Need To Know

The dietary requirements of a diabetic person often restrict the consumption of sugars, carbohydrates, and starch. The food items that are recommended for people with diabetes have very less sugar and most food items need to be portion-controlled. It is a misconception that all fruits are bad for diabetic people. It is true that fruits contain natural sugars, however, they can be consumed in moderate quantities. One such fruit that has fallen prey to rumors is the banana. The most common question asked pertaining to this fruit is, is banana good for diabetes?

Can Diabetic Patient Eat Banana?

Just like all fruits, bananas contain sugar and carbohydrates that are considered harmful for diabetics. However, unlike processed goods (candy, cakes, sweets), they come with a package of fibre, potassium, vitamins, and other nutritive perks. So, if you are asking, can diabetic patient eat banana, the answer is yes. However, there are some conditions that need to be followed. Let us take a look at the factors that should be considered.

  • Ripeness of the banana – The number of carbs and sugar content in a banana varies with its ripeness. There are various recipes that make use of unripe bananas as well. Fully ripened bananas contain less resistant starch, which acts like fibre. They also have a higher glycemic index that causes blood sugar to rise. Green bananas contain more resistant starch that can help you manage your blood sugar levels. They are also helpful for improving the health of your gut and improving the metabolic health of the body. So, the next time someone asks you, is raw banana good for diabetes? You can say it is. 
  • Portion control – It is quite obvious that the larger the banana, the higher is the sugar consumption. This means you need to account for the sugar intake as well as the carbohydrate intake throughout the day. 
  • Eat them at intervals – Try not to consume all your portion of banana in one go. This may spike your sugar levels. The wise thing to do is spread it over the duration of the day to enjoy the benefits of bananas while keeping your blood sugar under control. 
  • Pair them with other foods – When you eat only a banana, the body immediately absorbs all the nutrients from it. If you want to slow down the absorption of sugar, you can pair it with other food items that do not have a high GI and are devoid of carbs. You can put them in a bowl of oats, have it with yogurt, put them in a chia pudding, and so on. When you eat other food items with it, the body absorbs the sugar slowly giving it enough time to process sugar slowly. 
  • Be wary of the preparation – Many companies have advertised processed bananas as a healthy snack. The catch is, they are often deep-fried, and avoiding saturated fats is one of the must-dos of diabetes. If not friends and just bakes, they can still contain added sugars and other ingredients that may compromise the integrity of the fruit. Canned bananas are a big no-no as they contain sugar as the primary preservative. If you are a fan of milkshakes and smoothies, avoid going out and eating these as you cannot control the amount of sugar that is added. 
  • Sensitivity of the body – Although bananas are recommended in controlled proportions, it is essential to know your own body’s sensitivity to insulin as well as sugar. That is why the answer to most people’s question, can banana be eaten in diabetes, is different. The sugar in bananas can react differently with different body types, depending on a lot of complex factors. Understanding the response your body has to bananas is important before you consume them when you have diabetes. 

When you are looking to have bananas, whether ripe or otherwise, follow the policy. Fresh is best. If you are still unsure and wondering can diabetics eat bananas?, continue reading to know more.

How Many Bananas can a person with Diabetes eat in a day?

Now that we know that bananas can be consumed by diabetics, the next question to consider is how many bananas can a diabetic eat a day? The answer to this depends on a few factors. Let us take a look. 

  • Bananas range from 18.5 grams to 35 grams. There are more than 6 varieties of bananas found in India alone. The nutritional facts along with the weight of each banana vary. So, it is quite natural to ask, is banana good for diabetes, and if so, which one is the better option?
  • If a banana is completely ripe, then the glycemic load of one banana can be between 11 to 22. 
  • A 7 to 8 inches long banana generally contains 26g of carbs.  It can provide you with 2 grams of fibre and 12% of the daily value of vitamin C, along with 8% of the daily value of potassium. Potassium is a key helper in regulating blood pressure as well. 

The correct answer to the question, “Are bananas good for people with diabetes?” is that it is beneficial but the quantity has to be moderated and the size of bananas have to be taken into account. 

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How do Bananas affect Blood Sugar Levels?

A lot of people wonder, can a banana be eaten in diabetes? The reason for this hesitation is the basis that bananas affect blood sugar levels. To have the right answer, we must understand the process that occurs after we consume bananas. 

  • Bananas are high in carbohydrates and have a low to the medium glycemic index. 
  • When you consume a ripe banana, the sugars get absorbed quickly and your sugar levels can rise instantly. That is why bananas are said to be a source of instant energy. 
  • Majority of the components of bananas are carbs and fibre. The fibre helps with bodily functions while carbs are broken down into simple sugars and contribute to the total sugar intake of a diabetic patient. 
  • If you have it on an empty stomach or combined with other carbohydrates like toast or cereal, you can face dangerous surges in your blood sugar level. This is why small portions of bananas are recommended. 
  • The sizes of bananas vary and rarely do we eat half a banana and store the rest! This is the main reason why it is recommended to have bananas twice or thrice a week instead of including them in your diet daily. 
  • They are full of potassium and are the perfect fruit to be given if the person has lost electrolytes due to diarrhea or vomiting. They are easy for the body to digest as well.  

Forming a diet plan for yourself is one of the most successful ways to reverse or deal with diabetes. Diet and physical activity play an important role in leading a healthy lifestyle, especially for diabetic patients as failing to do so can lead to grim health complications. If you do not include bananas in your diet, you may miss out on all the other benefits that come with them.

Bottomline

Find out the do’s, don’ts, and the things to look out for when including a banana in your diet for getting the best out of this popular fruit. Banana is easily available, has plenty of nutrients, loads of benefits, and can be consumed by diabetic patients! Every time you hear someone say bananas are good for health but bad for diabetics, you wonder about the reason. Let us bust this myth and find out the truth behind this common misconception!

Read more about diabetes and infertility, treatment of leg pain during diabetes &whole grains for diabetes.

FAQs

Can bananas raise blood sugar?

It is a common myth that fruits are not good for diabetes but correct fruits when eaten in the right quantity cause no harm. Though bananas contain a bit of sugar and carbohydrates, it also comes with loads of fiber, potassium, vitamins, and nutrients. Yes, diabetics can have bananas but given the banana should be raw and not ripped. Having raw bananas does not raise your blood sugar level but if you have them fully ripped then you might have a problem. So, raw banana is good for diabetes and do not raise sugar level.

Why can’t diabetics eat bananas?

It is a widespread rumor that diabetics can’t have bananas. Though there is a condition that diabetics must follow while having bananas. A diabetic should have raw bananas as the glycemic index for raw bananas is low which is great for diabetes but if the diabetic haves ripped bananas then his blood sugar levels will rise due to the high glycemic index. Going for green bananas that too in the right quantities works fine for diabetics.

Can sugar patient eat banana every day?

It is wrongly said that diabetes and banana do not go together. It is good for a diabetic to eat raw bananas as they are full of fibers. However, ripped bananas are a complete no. The quantity of bananas that diabetes can take depends on the calories that you are allowed to take in a day. It's not recommended to daily take bananas as too much of a single fruit can lead to deficiencies of nutrients as not all nutrients are present in a single fruit. Having a varied diet with the right quantities of different fruit is desirable for diabetics.

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