There is no question that there are more than a few fat causing foods out there. However, contrary to popular belief and the hundreds of “eat this, not that” articles out there, bananas do not fit into the “fat causing” category. Bananas everywhere can rejoice, peel back that vibrant yellow encasement and sink their teeth into the smooth, tasty flesh of their banana without guilt or fear or excessive weight gain.
For those who are a bit more skeptical, simply letting you know that bananas aren’t fattening isn’t really enough. In fact, there are a number of people who are more demanding and want to know why bananas don’t cause fat – after all, there is some pretty convincing evidence out there that points to the contrary. Also, bananas aren’t a completely calorie-free food, which poses the question of how can these not contribute to weight gain?
All your questions can be answered here. Once you read this information, you will clearly see why bananas are a smart, healthy food that can help you feel great, energized and not lead to excessive belly fat.
Calories and Bananas
Calories in bananas are moderate, which means you can easily include them in your diet without having to worry about weight gain. In fact, small bananas only contain approximately 90 calories and extra-large bananas only have 135 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The combo of this low-calorie range and high nutritional value of the banana means they are a healthy snack to incorporate into your diet. Eating a single large banana will also fill one cup of your recommended daily fruit intake of one and a half to two cups.
Alone, bananas won’t cause weight gain. However, if they are part of a higher calorie diet, they can be one of the many foods that contribute to you packing on excessive pounds. If you consume more calories than what your body needs, the excess calories will be put into storage at some location in your body – possibly your belly. A number of the calories may also be stored as glycogen, which can be reused as energy when your muscle activity goes up. However, your body only has a set amount of room for glycogen storage, which means all the extra calories will be converted into triglycerides, which are then stored as fat.
Prior to running away from your bananas as quickly as you can, remember it takes 3,500 calories to add a single pound of fat to your body. Which means gaining weight will take time and require you to consistently consume excessive calories. If you only eat a single, large banana a day and the excess calories go over your daily calorie recommendation, then it will take 30 days for the extra calories to increase your weight by a pound.
Resistant Fiber and Starch in Bananas Actually Prevent Fat
Bananas include more starch than a number of other fruits but this doesn’t automatically mean you are going to get fat when you eat them. It is important to think about the type of starch, the total calories and the impact this starch has on your blood sugar to understand the weight gain potential. Bananas are considered one of the best sources of a type of starch referred to as resistant starch. This acts as a soluble fiber in your body. This means it can pass through your small intestine without being digested. It doesn’t contribute the same amount of calories that a starch that is digested and converted to sugar and then used for energy. This helps with intestinal health because the material will be fermented by the bacteria present in the colon.
The bottom line is, when eaten in moderation (just like any other food) bananas are not going to cause excessive belly fat or weight gain. The key is to pair your banana with an overall healthy diet and lifestyle. After all, anything consumed in excess is going to result in more fat added to the body, which is why it is best to limit the number of calories you eat each day. Taking the time to learn the facts will help you understand why bananas are a smart food for your overall health and why they don’t add to belly fat or weight gain.