Whether it’s a warm loaf of banana bread fresh out of the oven, a smoothie, or a simple pre-workout snack, bananas can be a nutritious and delicious addition to your diet. Loaded with essential nutrients like dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and manganese, bananas offer an array of health benefits, which is why they’re often touted as a health-boosting food—but can eating bananas help you lose weight? We chatted with Destini Moody, RDN, CSSD, LD, a registered dietitian and sports dietitian with Garage Gym Reviews, who explores this topic to answer whether or not bananas are a valuable weight loss tool.
Regardless of how you like to include this sweet and simple fruit in your diet, here’s the answer to the question of whether eating bananas can help you lose weight. Read on to find out, and for more, check out the 9 Best Low-Calorie Breakfasts for Weight Loss.
Can eating bananas help you lose weight?
Bananas are a sweet and versatile fruit that might just be the delightful addition to your weight loss journey needs. In contrast to the bland foods associated with some weight loss diets, bananas bring a burst of flavor and essential nutrients, like dietary fiber. If you aren’t aware, fiber is a heavyweight in the world of weight loss. Research shows that fiber can help you feel full longer, helping reduce calorie intake and shed pounds. So, if bananas aren’t already a staple in your diet, maybe it’s time to make them one!
Here are three ways bananas can help you lose weight.
Now that we’ve made it clear bananas can aid weight loss efforts, here are three ways bananas can help you lose weight, according to Moody.
1. Bananas can be used as a natural sweetener in place of sugar.
Besides causing weight gain, studies show that added sugars can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Bananas can serve as a sweet and nutritious substitute for refined sugar in many recipes. Their natural sugars deliver a satisfying sweetness to smoothies, oatmeal, or baked goods without the added processed sugars. This benefit enhances flavor and helps curb your sweet tooth, a valuable strategy in any weight loss journey.
“Adding frozen bananas to smoothies, mashed banana to your oatmeal, or chopped bananas to your cornflakes are all creative ways to sweeten these meals without added sugars,” Moody explains. “Refined sugars are responsible for harmful inflammation that can increase your disease risk. Using bananas as a sweetener instead is beneficial as it sweetens with fewer calories and adds fiber, potassium, and other nutrients that sugar cannot provide. Furthermore, high sugar meals can negatively impact hunger, whereas the fiber in bananas can help manage hunger.”
2. Bananas are an excellent source of fiber.
Fiber is a nutritional powerhouse for weight loss, and bananas happen to be a fantastic source. According to the USDA, one medium banana contains over 3 grams of fiber. This nutrient-rich fruit is packed with soluble and insoluble fiber, aiding digestion and promoting satiety. Including bananas in your menu can contribute to a more balanced and satisfying diet, which is essential to shedding those extra pounds.
“Bananas contain up to 12% of your daily value of fiber. Fiber contains no calories and cannot be digested by the body, so it can passively reduce calorie consumption and help with healthy weight loss. Furthermore, greener bananas contain more resistant starch, which breaks down even more slowly and can act as a prebiotic to help improve gut health,” says Moody.
3. Bananas help reduce bloating.
Bananas are rich in potassium, a mineral that plays a crucial role in preserving proper fluid balance in the body, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. This balance helps counteract the effects of sodium and can reduce bloating. So, if you’ve been feeling a bit puffy, adding bananas to your diet might be a tasty and nutritious way to combat bloating while supporting your weight loss goals.
“Dietitians commonly recommend bananas to those suffering from digestive dysfunction and bloating,” states Moody. “This reduction in bloating may not directly help with fat loss, but it can help you more accurately track your weight and fit more comfortably in your clothes.”