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When to eat bananas

when to eat bananas

Guy: As you can imagine we get a lot of email enquiries. Can I eat fruit if I’m on a weight loss plan? Is it possible that bananas make me fat? Is it ok to eat bananas whilst I’m trying to lose weight? You get the gist of it right… So it has inspired me to right this post.

First of all, I eat bananas. I not only eat them I enjoy them. So this is not a banana bashing post. But in saying that, I only eat them on certain occasions, and for me it’s all about personal circumstances (weight loss/weight gain) and timing.

Nutritional value to consider

One large banana, say 7 inches will contain roughly 30g of carbohydrates, 3g of fibre, 2g of protein and 0.5g of fat, along with multiple vitamins and minerals (including high content of potassium) to boot. If you want to know exactly what’s in the banana click here.

Out of those 30g of carbohydrates 6-8g will be fructose. (I wrote an in-depth article on fructose here).

Light Bulb moment #1! Carbohydrate when ingested raises blood sugar. That banana is the equivalent to 5-6 teaspoons of sugar, with 1-2 of those being fructose.

 
So where am I going with this?

With the basic nutritional values above lets look at how they can be applied to different circumstances.

I’m trying to lose weight

From my experience, anyone I see who is trying to lose a few kgs/lbs generally has a fairly high carbohydrate diet.

Light Bulb moment #2! Every time you eat mainly carbs, you will create an insulin response. And whilst there is insulin being produced you will not be able to burn body fat. So if you are going to remember one thing, remember that.

 
The nutrient packed banana is carb heavy. When you compare them to fresh strawberries it’s over four times the amount of carbs. So the first thing I’d say would be to add up how many carbs you are eating in a day and then factor the banana in. It soon adds up! And the other thing to remember is activity levels. If you are living a fairly inactive daily routine, then the amount of carbs matters even more.

My weight loss tip –

If you are not sure, eat berries/strawberries instead as they have a lower carbohydrate sugar/fructose content.

If you are wanting bananas, have half instead mixed in a smoothie with more protein and fat (personally I throw in half an avocado with my smoothie along with 180 protein supplement). By doing this you will slow the insulin response down which of course is better for weight loss. The other option is to eat some nuts along with half a banana whilst snacking, as this will have the same effect.

Exercising and trying to lose weight

Personally I’d stick to the same principles as I’ve mentioned above until you reach your ideal weight goals. I’d also include a weight training program with a minimum of twice a week. This will help improve muscle mass and control insulin levels better due to better muscle glycogen storage.

It’s enough to drive you bananas

What do I do? I generally throw in half a banana in my smoothies as mentioned above, and I’ll often have a full banana after an intense CrossFit session to help replenish glycogen stores. Now bare in mind I train 4-6 days a week and I’m not looking to lose weight. My body fat sits around 10-12% and I’m happy with that. But if I decided I would like to get my abs popping out for whatever reason, I’d probably let the humble banana go for a while.

So what should you do? That’s for you to decide, but hopefully the few things I mentioned above have helped.

Would love to hear your thoughts… Do you eat them? Fructose? Fruit?

When do you eat bananas?… Guy

On a side note: I truly enjoy writing these posts, hence our frequent blog posts. At the end of the day though, these are just my thought’s and feelings around a topic I’m passionate about. I encourage everyone to do their own research and check out the facts for themselves.

If you did enjoy the post and got something from it or have something to share on the topic, I would love to hear your thought’s in the comments section below. If you feel others would benefit from this then it would be great if you could share it using one of the icons below (Facebook etc). Cheers, Guy…

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    30 Replies to “When to eat bananas”
    Anne says:

    I have chosen to not eat fruit – however, I have berries with almond flour pancakes occasionally & as they are currently in season, will also have a nectarine or plum very occasionally. It is a personal choice but I do seem to suffer from stomach cramps, bloating etc when I eat fruit plus there is too much fructose for me.

    Lyn says:

    I was eating way too much fruit for a while. I had given up sugar so fruit was my only fructose and I was holding onto it for dear life. I also train 5-6 days a week and am slim so don’t need to lose weight but I found out it was the culprit to my bloating issues.

    I had severe bloating and stomach pain every day. I would end the day looking 5 months pregnant despite being so thin!

    I tried giving up things one by one to see what the problem was. I even tried a colonic and it wasn’t until the practioner said I should lay off the fruit that I realised what the issue was.

    Not only is fruit very high in fructose it gets digested very quickly so when eaten after or with heavy food it ferments and rots causing stomach gas.

    Since reducing my fruit to one banana a day in my smoothie I am free from bloating and pain!

    If you get bloated easily I would try staying away from fruit also!

    Chris says:

    Hey Guy,

    Good article and I totally agree with you. As a personal trainer I get the same question all the time.

    It amazing that people don’t eat any fruit because they think it has to much sugar in it. But they are quiet happy to have a fun size choc bar because its small its OK.

    I also eat the banana’s the same way you do.

    Tamara says:

    I made a smoothie for myself and my husband this morning with one large banana, 1 1/2 cups coconut milk, 1/2 cup almond milk, ice cubes, 180 protein powder and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
    Will the coconut milk make the fat content enough to slow the insulin response?
    We still want to lose another 4kgs.
    We Crossfit twice a week and do a 4k walk on 2 other days of the week.

    180nps says:

    If it were me and the weight keeps coming off I’d stay with it, but if there was a plateau ,it would be something I’d look at.

    Hope that helps, Guy

    Anna says:

    I’ve started having a banana along with a whey/water “shake” after any training session. Previously, i’d eat mainly only bwrries. Not only is it the highlight of my day!! I am losing weight, less hungry, my abs are just fine 🙂

    Tim says:

    I only eat bananas during bike rides (and only if over 2 hours as body has enough glycogen stored for 2 hours) or after long ride/weights.

    Might want to mention the benefit of Acetyl L Carnitine to improve insulin response.

    Tim

    Donna says:

    Fantastic article, very informative and easy to understand – I can’t wait to share with my PT clients.

    Daark Vaala says:

    I usually have a whole banana 30mins before i work out . Leg dsy only as I always get cramps if I don’t :/
    Not sure of an alternative.
    Thx for the article!

    Johan .P says:

    I have 2 bananas after each workout together with a protein shake. Not sure if bananas is the best alternative post-workout but it’s a quick one 🙂 I actually did not know that 1 banana contains 30g carbs, that was way more than I thought.

    Great article, I usually have 2 bananas a day. Didn’t realize they had 30g of carbs each.

    I love bananas but unfortunately since i am training for my first competition, i have had to cut out bananas.. I miss them though.. they taste so good!!

    Sarah says:

    Can you recommend an alternative to use in smoothies? I find having half or whole banana in a post workout breakfast smoothie helps thicken it up. But if there’s another option I’ll try that 🙂

    Amy says:

    I use half a cup-a whole cup of ice to thicken my smoothies when I don’t feel like berries or banana.

    Diane says:

    I use avocado or ground flax seeds or chia seeds or a few teaspoons of gelatin. If you miss the sweet you could have a few drops of stevia or vanilla. A tablespoon of coconut oil ior coconut butter also an option

    180nps says:

    No problem Sarah, the banana will be fine post workout but if you wanted to substitute then how about half an avocado and a few berries, Cheers.

    Sabine says:

    Usually have a banana before a wod, although I’ve been told it’s better to eat it after. Funny timing, I have one on my desk right now 🙂

    Patrick says:

    Any particular nutritional and exercise tips for clean, lean weight gain? or perhaps another blog post helped with this?

    Thanks

    You basically have to consume more calories and lift heavy weights if you want lean muscle. Try adding in a calorie dense smoothie each day (avocado & coconut cream work well) and go from there – Stu

    Thanks for an awesome post Guy! We’ve recently kicked bananas off our list to get ready for summer! Amazing difference! Love how all of your posts are so easy to understand! Thank you! 🙂 e & c

    You’re welcome girls, glad you enjoyed it! You’d be amazed how often we get asked about bananas 😉

    jay says:

    thank you Guy. this has helped me a lot.
    due to certain health factors had to give up dairy, lactose, yeast wheat, over the year have gone from 69kg to 55kg, breakie is bluberries with Goji berry muesli, oat milk, thought i would try some Greek Nat Yoghurt plus banana but my stomach has become so bloated, did`nt realise that banana plus the yog could cause this, have just checked the sugar content in the 2kg yoghurt 16.0 a serve, i only have a tablespoon but having it everyday is not good, i have been so careful up to now, was getting a bit bored with plain food and fish but i guess thats it. not worth the bloating! as active as possible, walking and some muscle strengthening. ( am 66 with oesteoporosis) off all meds doing it the natural way.

    Awesome to her Jay! Keep it up 🙂

    Carina says:

    I have a banana every day. I try and get ones on the smaller side.
    I mash it in a bowl, add 1/2 cup of less processed oats, 1tsb of chia and a couple of blueberries. Mix together and microwave for 5 mins. It’s like an amazing oat biscuit.
    I usually split in half and eat a couple of hrs inbetween.

    Good for an everyday?

    I generally have a few bananas a week & eat them after I train 😉

    Libby Nissenbaum says:

    I do aerobic and mixed ballet Pilates, 5 days a week each session is roughly 1 hr and 20 mins. I usually have a 3 hr gap after I have eaten breakfast. 30 mins after my work out I have a protein shake and banana. I am a size 6 and find having a banana every day has not made me put any weight on. Most recipes I have sourced contain dates. Most people are not aware they contain almost 60% sugar and also high in carbohydrates. All dried fruit contains both ingredients. So at the end of the day if you feel like eating it do so without the guilt. It’s better than eating something processed. It’s natural and grows on a tree.

    Ros says:

    I have been sugar free for 2 1/2 years and workout 6 days a week, bananas are the only high sugar fruit I could not give up, I have 1 a day and they satisfy my once sweet tooth.

    Well done Ros, that’s quite an achievement 🙂

    Craig J says:

    I have to say bananas are my favourite fruit since I was a kid, not sure I could give them up :). I have one every morning on top of my birtcher muesli (soaked oats, chia, walnuts, cinnamon, seeds, sultanas) and some coconut yoghurt. But thinking how much sugar is in that banana now, on top of the coconut milk (8g per serving) and dried fruits, it does add up to a massive load of sugar in the morning! 🙁

    Suzie says:

    I lost 5kg over six months (but I’m small) while eating three bananas for breakfast every day so they definitely didn’t stop me losing weight.

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