Are bananas good for you, or bad? Banana nutrition facts

In this post I am going to answer the question are bananas good for you, or bad, and explain some of the banana nutrition facts and how they affect our health.

Most people enjoy bananas. They are a fruit, so according to conventional wisdom they should be healthy. They taste sweet, and they are super-quick to eat and easy to bring with you on the road.

However, some people do believe that they are bad for us because of the sugar content.
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Banana Nutrition Facts

Bananas have a glycemic index of about 55. Compare that to apples, which have a glycemic index of about 38, and to pineapples who have a GI of 66.

The glycemic index measures how quickly the carbohydrates in the food get digested and turned in to blood sugar. This means that bananas get turned in to sugar pretty fast, but a medium banana contains less than 30 grams of carbs so I don’t see a big problem.

If you’re on a low-carb diet, though, this could be a problem and it might be a better idea to stick to fruits like blueberries.

Macro- and micronutrients

Here I’m going to refer to which is a great resource for nutrition facts.

Macronutrients (a medium sized banana):

  • Carbohydrate: 27 grams (3g are fiber)
  • Protein: 1g
  • Fat: none
  • Calories: About 100

Decent amounts of the following micronutrients:

  • Vitamin C: 10.3mg (17% of the RDA)
  • Vitamin B6: 0.4mg (22% of the RDA)
  • Potassium: 422mg (12% of the RDA)
  • Manganese: 0.3mg (16% of the RDA)
  • Magnesium: 31.9mg (8% of RDA)

Bananas are particularly high in potassium and fairly high in magnesium.

They also contain small amounts of other micronutrients, so you could say that they are pretty nutritious.

Are bananas good for you, or bad?

I would say that if you are a healthy non-diabetic person, who doesn’t need to lose a lot of weight, then bananas are good for you. I wouldn’t base my diet around fruit like some extreme vegan folks do, but they should be a part of a healthy diet.

If you’re following a low-carb diet then you may want to limit the amount you eat. If you’re trying to overcome insulin resistance or type II diabetes via diet then you may want to eliminate them completely.


If you want to take the evolutionary perspective, then yes.. hunter-gatherers did eat fruit. However, they only did when fruit was in season, not year round. Also, the fruit we get at the supermarket is often very different from what we might find in the wild.

That being said, I do eat a banana every now and then myself. They taste good, I can eat them quickly and I can take one with me when I get out of the house. I do eat an apple almost every day though, I find that they are more satiating.

Although a banana may not be the most optimal food in the world (because of the sugar content), it is certainly a much healthier choice than the junk food many people tend to have as snacks and according to the banana nutrition facts, they are pretty nutritious.

P.S. If you liked this article, then you’re going to LOVE my free online weight loss course.


  1. The Underwear Body says:

    Quite timely I found this. I have long had a love affair with bananas, but tbh I’ve been overdoing it. I have a diabetic family member and it’s made me think more about dropping foods with a high GI. Time to cut back I think.


    • I use to eat banana every day, and had hives every day. Now I quit eating banana, as I read they may be bad for me. Well I get no more hives since I took them out of my diet.

  2. You actually look pretty damn lean, doesn’t seem as if you’re anywhere close to becoming diabetic :)

    • You don’t have to look like a walrus to be diabetic.. Check out the American Diabetes Association or the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation for some education..thanks

    • I’m a diabetic so I only eat those tiny bananas or half of a medium sized one. I will always eat it with a protein like peanut butter since they go so well together.

  3. Hey Neighbour!

    Nice post!
    I would like to add that a lot of athletes are told to eat bananas habitually, it’s nearly something like a tradition.

    The reason for that is probably the potassium content and the cramp preventing properties this can have.

    So for example a lot of football players have a banana before a game or during half-time, sometimes they’re even provided by the club in the dressing room.

    There’s only one problem with that:
    As you pointed out correctly, bananas have a pretty high G.I., the riper the higher usually, and a bunch of sugar is NOT what you what to eat right before/during strenuous physical activity, as you can imagine!

    The end result can often be hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels):
    cold sweat, dizziness, cloudy vision, aggression, weakness.

    Not what you want at the best of times, especially not during a sports competition.

    The long and short of it:

    Bananas are great … POST workout/game, so after training/competition.

    I have to strongly recommend against having them before any kind of physical exercise.

    Apples, Oranges, Blueberries and pretty much any kind of other berries are fine pre-comp.

    Dang, this comment is fast becoming a book … might turn this into a post sometime! ;-)

    Great Job Kris, please keep up the good work!


    • Brigitta Nethery says:

      A whole hass avocado has 760 mg of potassium in it vs the ~420 mg in a banana. The avocado has 5 g of digestible carbs, and the banana has 24 g of digestible carbs. I love avocados.

      • but the sad part in avocadoes is that they contain cholesterol :(

        • Brigitta Nethery says:

          Cholesterol in the diet does not cause coronary artery disease. The latest theory in heart disease is inflammation. You don’t have to worry about avocados giving you a heart attack.

        • Avocados do not contain cholesterol. The only things that can ever have cholesterol are animal products—animals are the only organisms on earth capable of producing cholesterol. So if cholesterol is the only thing you’re worried about, eat away! :)

          • Umm… there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol and I’m pretty sure nuts contain good cholesterol… probably like avocados.

    • i found it very interesting reading your comments about bananas because i THINK i MIGHT be eating too many.i’m 41 yrs old ,cycle 20-30 miles a day 5 days a week to and from work and train with weights 3 -4 times a week for about 1hr ish.i find it quite hard not to scoff anything & everything when i’m hungry so tend to grab for a banana,i regularly eat 4-5 a day .do you think it’s too much sugar content considering i’m trying desperately to trade my belly fat.

    • Cristina Rivera says:

      I was going to start eating bananas right before working out. I’m glad I read your post before I started! Thanks!

  4. Hey Mark, thanks for commenting.

    I completely agree, personally I find that apples are best before a workout. They give me a bit more sustainable energy than the high-GI bananas.

    • hi kris
      is bannana good for dieting or not good …can u tel me ..becoz i m doing dieting and i want to lose weight and in the same time i love banana s .so can u plz tel me and give valuale answer to me

      thank u

      • Brigitta Nethery says:

        @Sri, high-carbohydrate foods get broken down into simple sugars in the stomach (glucose, fructose), and glucose gets absorbed into the bloodstream. Fructose gets metabolized by the liver, which only the liver can deal with. It’s toxic to have too much sugar in your blood… a safe level for your bloodstream is 1 tsp of sugar in the form of glucose.

        So what does this mean? All of the sugar from that banana (glucose) goes into the bloodstream. The pancreas secretes insulin into the blood to push glucose into your muscle tissue to be stored as glycogen, and into fat tissue to be stored as fat. If there’s plenty of glycogen in your muscle tissue, the insulin takes glucose to the fat cells to be stored there. Another possibility is that the insulin receptors on muscle tissue have been dulled down due to overconsumption of sugar (pop, chips, other carby junk). The insulin receptors on fat tissue are typically HIGHLY sensitive to insulin. So for people who fall into this category, you know what this means. They eat a high-carb diet, they get/stay fat.

        Lastly, there’s another very important role of insulin. If you have high levels of insulin in your blood, it will also INHIBIT the release of fat from the fat cells. So while you’re working out, your body will use glycogen stores for fuel, but little or no fat will be released from the fat cells. This is why most people get hungry, or “work up an appetite” after a workout.

        I hope my extremely long explanation helps :-)

  5. Ok this is not the most educated thread
    1. 55 is not a high G.I. food. Its the bottom of medium and many index’s have bananas listed as a low G.I. food. They are almost identical to oats, a favorite pre workout food, on the index.
    2. Apples are not a substantial pre workout food. Just because they have a low G.I. does not make them long sustaining. Your body is going to use almost as much energy digesting an apple as its worth. Don’t know what your workouts are like, but if an apple sustains them you may consider a new workout.
    3. G.I. is a good indicator of a food’s health benefits, but its not a tell all. The affect of bananas on your endocrine system is well worth the blood sugar that comes with them, which is by no means a spike. Not to mention that before or after a workout a reasonable amount of insulin serves your anabolic purposes quite well.

    • I completely agree with you about everything you said. Bananas, especially from an athletes standpoint, are EXTREMELY healthy. As a person who runs five to six miles a day, a banana is the perfect post workout snack. I always throw one into my protein shake :) and an apple before an hour or longer workout is BAD, trust me. I tried to run 5 miles on an apple last weekend, and I literally had to lay down on the ground afterwards because I felt so sick. Apples are not sustainable food. I love them, don’t get me wrong, but I always pair them with another food, such as a protein. However, I am an advocate of low-carb eating eating. I still limit my carbs (I try not to go over 200 a day, and that’s as a runner). I ONLY eat whole grains and carbohydrates from vegetable and fruit. but back to the bananas! If I didn’t run so much, I would limit my banana consumption. But let’s face it, there are A LOT worse things you could be eating lol. My rule: stick to whole foods and lean meats, and you should stay pretty healthy.

  6. I think,bananas are good for you and they contain potassuim and tryptophan. I eat them almost,everyday and they prevent strokes,constipation and other illnesses people can get. Bananas are particularly high in potassium and fairly high in magnesium. Bananas have other nutrients,too.I make fruit smoothies and they are delicious and healthy.
    It’s amazing how good they are to eat.

    Macronutrients (a medium sized banana):
    Carbohydrate: 27 grams (3g are fiber)
    Protein: 1g
    Fat: none
    Calories: About 100
    Decent amounts of the following micronutrients:

    Vitamin C: 10.3mg (17% of the RDA)
    Vitamin B6: 0.4mg (22% of the RDA)
    Potassium: 422mg (12% of the RDA)
    Manganese: 0.3mg (16% of the RDA)
    Magnesium: 31.9mg (8% of RDA)

    Here’s a link on natural occurring sugars in all fruit:

  7. Dynami is correct. Bananas are low to very bottom of medium GI foods. Glad to see you agree they are actually good for you in general. Only the seriously diabetic would have any problem with eating a banana!

  8. Let me also point out that there are no credible case studies out there that can show that the glycemic index is related to bodyweight, or glycemic load for that matter. The only reason it is ever perceived that way is because the population that is eating lots of sugars are eating cake and ice cream, not bananas and whole wheat.

  9. Dynami,

    you are right about the fact that bananas are medium on the GI scale, I was mistaken and I stand corrected.

    It is difficult to prove that eating foods that are high GI/GL contributes to obesity. It is however a fact that when these foods are reduced, and when carb intake is reduced in general, people lose body fat, and that is without regard to whether the carbs come from bananas and whole wheat or cake and ice cream.

    And regarding the apple before a workout thing, of course a single apple isn’t enough to sustain a workout. There are body fat and glycogen stores, which the body tends to dip into when it needs energy. I find apples to be satiating and prevent me from feeling hungry during a workout.

    • I agree with you, Chris. Bananas are “ok” not great! I am 50 years of age and weigh 118lbs. I am also Hypoglycemic and if I eat a banana with nothing else, I will become a she-devil in 20 minutes! I guess you could say it is the “better bad choice”. I have always been told by my docs and trainers to stay away from them…and I do. I do not understand why people think just because they are not diabetics now…..that all sure is ok! But then again, most people have no clue the amount of suger that is hidden in foods or the foods that convert to suger!

  10. The problem with viewing sugars in this manner is a problem with perspective. Most Americans are shoving down ice cream, candy bars, sodas, and other things packed with sugars. These sugars are different than the sugars in fruits. The problem is, a person with an unhealthy lifestyle, eating lots of fat and sugar gets high blood sugar, which can help cause diabetes. A person on a low fat diet, eating lots of natural fruit sugars doesn’t have blood sugar spikes. This is because fat acts as a blockade for insulin, it slows sugars down in the blood stream and causes them to linger. A person eating low fat has much less fat in the blood stream, allowing sugars to enter and exit the blood MUCH quicker and eliminate sugar spikes. Most Americans body’s are going to get messed up with high fruit sugar intake, but this is only because it is paired with other horrible food choices. The current food system is based on faulty standards, being tested on already unhealthy people. Fruits are one the most basic sources of natural human nutrition, of course complemented by vegetables and small amounts of animal products. A human living in a tropical area where food in scarce comes across a banana tree and eats 15 bananas. That’s natural. Then he comes across a coconut tree and eats 4 or 5 coconuts. That’s natural. Later he finds some berries and eats a whole bunch. That’s natural. In a few days he manages to kill a small animal and cook it. That’s natural. Humans didn’t have access to refrigerators or storage facilities, they would have eaten large amounts of single item foods when available. It’s all about perspective. People who eat 2 Big Mac’s at mcdonalds think someone who eats 10 bananas for lunch is a freak, yet they are consuming even more calories and hundreds of times the fat. Nobody flips out when someone eats a snickers bar, but it has the sugar of like 4 bananas. All refined and processed as well. So…Eat bananas. Change your perspective. Think things out logically.

    • I don’t believe in low-fat diets and think you should update your knowledge if you are going to be giving people dietary advice. Low-fat diets are out, even mainstream nutrition has realized that.

      • Does the sugar content of a banana depend on how old it is? From green to yellowish; bright yellow; and brown spots from light to full brown skin – is there a different sugar and carb level for each state. Personnally i enjoy either of the 1st 2 stages after that i think bananas become too sweet.

        • Ripe bananas have the spots on them, the yellow and green ones are ok, but not totally ripe. Bananas supposedly have Tumor suppressor genes which stop cancer in it’s tracks. The more ripe ones are said to have 8 times the amount of these genes.

          • Michael, genetic material that you consume will have no effect on your own body, so what you just said is false.

            Paula, I believe the carb content doesn’t change, but the amount of sugar will be higher for ripe bananas, as some of the starch will convert to sugar.

    • Benjamin Greenwood says:

      Amen Amen Amen, 100% agreement. This discussion is way out of bounds from the purists side of things, Bananas are good for you , bottom line. Eggs are good for you, (ALL OF THE EGG, END OF DISCUSSION). The things that have produced healthy people for 1000’s of years are STILL, producing healthy people. Exercise and eat close to nature, AND FOR GODS SAKE STOP WORRINING ABOUT IT! The stress involved in worrying about what to eat causes more health problems than what you eat!

  11. Green bananas are more basic (meaning yellow are more acidic.) Green also have a lower glycemic index. And for Michael: eating 15 bananas would be retarded for anybody. That’s roughly 1800 calories from straight fructose. Fruit are a natural part of a diet for a person who lives in a tropical climate and probably runs around and sweats a lot. For a more mild climate, nuts, meats, and grains would seem to be more natural now wouldn’t they? Fructose can only be stored in your liver as glycogen and that doesn’t take a whole lot of fruit to get full, after that fructose is converted to fat.
    Also to Janet: there is no such thing as another type of macronutrient that gets converted into carbs. Carbs and protein can be turned into fat, but the redox bridge where that occurs is an irreversible process. Carbs are carbs. Its overeating that causes diabetes etc. The fact that a can of soda contains as many carbs as a huge bowl of -say oats- is what makes sugary foods contribute to weight gain. Its easy to eat a lot more calories and a lot less vitamins with those foods.

    • “Its overeating that causes diabetes etc.”
      Please, get some education on this subject.thanks.

  12. Bananas are awesome when your workouts
    are very intense!!..pre or post does your muscles good

  13. I have been a Type 1 diabetic for 20 years (age 35, slim, in good health otherwise, insulin pump user) and bananas are a main component of my diet. I usually eat one for breakfast about 4-5 days per week and it keeps me in the right zone blood sugar wise for a good few hours. Everyone, both diabetic and nondiabetic, requires a different amount of insulin to metabolize x grams of carbohydrates or to generally regulate their blood sugar in the optimal range (this amount is somewhat relational to body mass, but also to your personal metabolism) E.g. I need 1 unit of insulin to metabolize a banana; someone else may need 2. Incidentally, I would take the same exact dosage for an apple, 1 piece of bread, 1/2 cup of pasta or anything else that is roughly 15 grams of carbs (with subtracting out fiber if 3g or more). Bananas are definitely not that sugary because if I screw up and somehow forget to dose myself, my blood sugar doesn’t go waaaaay off the reservation.

  14. Wow! Well put together post, but what impressed me was the level of intelligent responses. It became a discussion instead of a debate or war, where most conversations have a tendency to go if online. I was really surprised at all the really great additional information that came from those who replied. Thank you everyone, you answered all of my questions on the lowly banana!

  15. Some good comments on Bananas, I eat eat 4-5 a day and just wanted to make sure I wasn’t over doing it…

    I have 2 with my oats every morning, 1 before and 1 during my workouts and sometimes another in the eve as a snack I can’t get enough of them.

    I have quite a low carb diet and it hasn’t had a negative effect on my fat (my bodyfat is about 4-5% all year round and I weight about 230lbs+)

    The quantity you eat and whether its good/bad for you I think depends on how active you are and how much sugar you’re getting elsewhere. I train 5x a week for 1.5hrs and I don’t eat junk so bananas are effectively my equivalent to people eating chocolates and biscuits.

    Anyway please let me know if 4-5 bananas a day with the info I’ve provided sounds excessive.


    • Kristjan says:

      Given how much you train and how lean you are, 4-5 bananas per day will do nothing but good in my opinion.


  17. By drying my fav snack food the banana have I lost all those good nutrients? I’m a 58 year-old old guy–with a young spirit for the old ways, who is told by many to look like 40, and I often outwork 20-year olds, but my genetics leading to heart, autoimmune, and endocrine problems is poor. Physicians tell me not to even think fruit juice as any sugar including raw honey and all the I-can’t-believe-it’s-sugar foods is going to act in the same way for me in my bod; I’m not yet diabetic but it is assumed that I WILL become so. I only eat some fruit when I feel great need for some sugary AND nutritious snack, I refuse to live without some sugar and spice to life (longevity is okay unless your 90, then it’s a bore, unless you [were] the great Georgia O’Keefe). My raison d’être along with my cats and gardening and working hard is art and just now that bag of banana chips that I’m smelling somewhere in this pile of art. Bottom line (I’m older so it takes me a longer time to get to any bottom line JEJEJEJEJE) is that I read all the diabetic warnings–they are good thoughts to be reminded, but I want to know about drying fruits (like me JEJEJEJE), and the nutrition factor. Thanks.

  18. thall23 says:

    4-5 bananas every day is def. over doing it. Your body doesn’t need 120-150g of fructose every day period, let alone from just bananas(not to mention when you add that with your oats and whatever other carbs you eat, that doesn’t sound like much of a low carb diet). I couldn’t really even see doing that if you were trying to gain weight as you’d want to use a carb that can be stored better as muscle glycogen. Fructose has a passive absorbtion into your cells, so not the best intra-workout sugar. Plus most studies argue it really only gets stored in your liver, not a lot of room in there compared to your muscles. To be honest if you weight 230 at 4% body fat I doubt you would have a need to be asking about your diet on this blog anyway. Fruits are wonderful. So is moderation.

  19. I came here looking for justification for eating a small banana just now. I just got off work and hadn’t eaten for over 4 hours and was feeling lethargic, dragging my feet, no motivation etc. I’m wondering now if it was too much. You see, I’m trying to lose weight and have been sticking to mostly raw and natural foods. I feel much better now after eating the banana… All I know is that I for some reason wanted it more than the Apple or the carrot- what does it mean when you are indefinitely hungry, your gut is growling but for some reason, the thought of certain foods simply make nauseous, even though you would normally eat those foods anyway?

  20. Bananas are amazing fruits. I usually eat two to three a day, along with one apple and 12 oz 100% orange/pineapple juice.

  21. This s*** is bananas… B.A.N.A.N.A.S…. :) Just to quote Gwen Stefani I’m still going to eat my organic bananas.

  22. Steve Waclo says:

    For a bit of perspective, a banana contains about 12 g of sugar per 100 g (a small banana) and a large banana contains about 17 g. One g of sugar is about 1/4 tsp, so the small banana contains about 3 tsp of sugar and the large, about 4 1/4 tsp.

    From any number of sites.

  23. Dr. Douglas Grahm an experienced raw foodist and health
    Guru says bananas are one of the all round healthiest
    Foods on the planet that you can eat. In one of his books he says
    He once new a guy who lived on nothing but bananas for over 5 years
    in perfect health.

  24. Glycemic load for a medium banana is about 14. That is, if it’s index is 52,, You have to be severely diabetic to experience a problem because of that,,, or you have to eat 3 of them to experience a noticeable spike…. just because you are healthy and not diabetic you don’t have to assume you will become diabetic for no reason simply because you eat bananas. Diabetes is not a random illness and type two is certainly not linked to eating bananas,,,

    Even insulin resistant people can have a banana (one) and it doesn’t do anything bad to them either (I would know,,, I eat them and although I am hyperinsulinemic I experience no significant rise in insulin). Being hyperinsulinemic makes me hypoglycemic often,, but I can’t just fix that with a spoon of sugar,,, a banana does a good job,,, it spikes me enough but does not irritate the resistance issue.

    Glycemic load of under 20 is ok for a NON severe diabetic. A 27 gram of carbs in a medium ripe banana of an index 52 has a load of 14.04 …. If linked with 15 grams of protein, it becomes completely harmless yet very nutritious.

    GL = (grams-of-carb * GI) / 100

    Calculate how much of a load you can tolerate and based on your health condition and the GL of the food, you can determine if the food is good or not for your particular needs.

    Educating yourselves on glycemic loads of various foods and how to calculate their effect, and even how to figure out glycemic loads of entire meals is absolutely essential if you have a reason to watch your glucose and insulin levels…

  25. Kelly Fitzsimmons says:

    Hi Kris,

    Great article. I love bananas and think they are must in everyone’s diet. Real food for real diet results.

    Keep up the great blog.

  26. A regular banana you would eat has closer to 30g sugar in it not 12 or 17. Nobody lived for 5 years on nothing but bananas that is stupid. They are a good food, but your body needs a much wider spread of vitamins and minerals. Your sodium:potassium balance would be out of control just to site one major issue.

  27. suman mohanty says:

    Currently,to be correct on report, I submit that my before food sugar read 106 and after food was 125. I have been on medication for diabetes for 20 days now.I have stopped all forms of extra sugar intakes except the intake of a banana almost every day. I take in about 3 cups of rice ,8 to 9 wheat chappatis , a cup of dal ,vegetarian diets, I have been a vegetarian for over 20 years now. If I maintain it for the rest of my life, will there be any problem ?

  28. do too much bananas cause impotence

  29. Katrina says:

    Bananas are not just sugar and carbs! Check out this highly interesting link and see why a banana keeps appearing in all the “Secret to weight loss” pop-ups we are all used to seeing.

  30. Katrina says:
  31. I’m a raw vegan who eats 20 bananas a day. This whole misconception of fructose that is spread on this blog is ridiculous. Our cells run on carbs it’s their fuel. To say “don’t eat fruit, ii will make you fat” is obsurd. I guarantee half the people saying dont eat to much fruit sugar, are the same people who will eat as much fat and protein as they want to. “eat 12 chicken wings, more protein and fat is good for you” I weigh 150 lbs, very active very healthy and the more fruit I shove in my food hole the better I become, more mentally focused, better sleep, better skin, better me. Fruit for the win!

  32. Eat bananas all day long.
    Lost 30 lbs.
    Apples and oranges in excess make me hypoglycemic.

  33. Alright so after that loooooooong talk on bananas; it made me wonder…..
    I have a 2 year old and a 1 year old and i give them bananas ALLLLLLLLL the time! Should I stop doing it as often as I do?

    • I don’t know, I am not a doctor.
      I am past the half century mark, and I like bananas.
      Check with your doctor.
      God Bless!

  34. Absolutely let your kids eat bananas! Just keep them away from the sugary drinks and cookies. Teach them good eating habits now. I love bananas, I eat one 4 to 6 days a week. I am 51 and my doctor tells me my potassium level is right were it should be. I do have a question, has anyone ever heard that if you eat a banana, mosquitos will be more attracted to you that day? Don’t know if this is an urban legend or not. I can’t even remember where I heard this, Its been in my memory so long, probably from when I was in grade school and kids just taking. But I am curious to see if there is any validation out there.

  35. Great Health Benefits of Banana.. I do really appreciate for this information i was not a fan before but am starting right now …Thank you so much for this lovely post ..

  36. I am heavily into fitness. I run for 3 miles every day, gym 3x times a week and yoga almost every other day. I eat about 3 bananas a day specially before the gym and run. Touch-wood, I have no health conditions but I am pretty lean at 5 foot 9 and 144 pounds.

  37. I do love a good banana!

  38. Harris M Freedman says:

    I eat two bananas a day and have acquired a high potassium level, this can affect the heart according to my doctor.

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