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Can You Eat Bananas If You Want to Lose Weight?

by 
author image Paula Martinac
Paula Martinac is a nutrition educator, writer and coach. She holds a Master's of Science in Health and Nutrition Education and is Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition. Her areas of research interest include stress and weight management and women's health.
Can You Eat Bananas If You Want to Lose Weight?
A large banana has 121 calories. Photo Credit: @alesha_macarosha via Twenty20

Yes, you absolutely can eat bananas if you're trying to lose weight. If you’re avoiding bananas because you think they’re too high in calories for your weight-loss plan, you might want to reconsider avoiding these delicious fruits. Here are the average calories for bananas:

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  • 121 calories for a large banana
  • 105 calories for a medium banana
  • 90 calories for a small banana

Bananas are nutrient-dense, giving you a lot of nutritional bang for your buck. In addition to energy, just one banana provides you with ample fiber, potassium and vitamin B6. So if you were thinking how nice it would be to bake some banana bread, go for it!

Nutritional and Calorie Facts of a Large Banana

Banana bread is just one way of eating delicious, nutritious bananas.
Banana bread is just one way of eating delicious, nutritious bananas. Photo Credit: Gilnature/iStock/GettyImages

At 121 calories, one large banana is a mere 6 percent of a 2,000-calorie diet, but it also provides 3.5 grams of dietary fiber, which can help you achieve your weight-loss goals by keeping you feeling full longer. If you’re still concerned about calories, choose a smaller banana with about 90 calories and 3.5 grams of fiber. ChooseMyPlate.gov recommends 2 cups of fruits per day for women ages 19-30 and men ages 19-50 (after the age of 30, women should reduce fruit servings to 1.5 cups.). Sliced up, one large banana is equal to one cup (i.e. one serving).

Nutritional and Calorie Facts of a Medium Banana

A medium banana has 105 calories.
A medium banana has 105 calories. Photo Credit: NataliaBulatova/iStock/GettyImages

At 105 calories, a medium banana has 0 cholesterol and just .4 grams of fat. It contains 27 grams of carbohydrates, which is about 9 percent of the daily recommendation, and 14 grams of sugar, so if you are on a low-carb diet, there are other fruits like raspberries and watermelon that have lower amounts of sugar that you may want to opt for instead.

It is recommended that women ages 19-50 get at least 25 grams of fiber a day, and men ages 14-50 get 38 grams — so one medium banana meets 12 percent of your daily needs. Not bad!

Nutritional and Calorie Facts of a Small Banana

One small banana contains:

  • 90 calories
  • 23 grams of carbohydrates, 
  • 1 gram of protein, 
  • 2.6 grams of fiber 
  • Less than 1 gram of fat. 

Additionally, it contains 362 milligrams of potassium which helps maintain the fluid balance in your body. A small banana is equal to a half cup (or a half serving) of fruit, and it will give you approximately 20 mcg of folate and 65 IU of Vitamin A.

Other Health Benefits of Bananas

Bananas are chock-full of potassium.
Bananas are chock-full of potassium. Photo Credit: chengyuzheng/iStock/GettyImages

Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, an electrolyte mineral that helps balance fluids in your body, making bananas a great post-workout snack. One large banana provides 487 milligrams of potassium — over 10 percent of an adult’s daily needs.

According to the American Heart Association, a high-potassium diet helps control blood pressure, especially when combined with a reduced sodium intake, because it reduces sodium's effect on the body. A large banana also provides almost 0.5 milligrams of vitamin B6, or 38 percent of an adult’s daily requirement.

Getting enough B6, according to the National Library of Medicine, is key for a healthy immune system, brain function and the formation of red blood cells.

So, go get some bananas and feel reassured they can absolutely be incorporated into a healthy diet!

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