By Katie Clarke MS, RD, LDN
There is a surprising notion sweeping the area that bananas are bad for you. How this idea has become widespread belief, I cannot be certain but let’s review.
Bananas, grapes and dried fruits tend to get a bad reputation because of the misconception that they contain too much sugar. When discussing the content of any food, we break it down into composition and portion size. When it comes to fruit, the composition is easy… They are nearly 100% carbohydrate with a trunk-full of fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals. Delicious and nutritious for the win!
Now on to portion size and this is where it can get tricky. Previously I stated that fruit is essentially all carbohydrate. This is in reference to the three macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Fruit contains no fats nor proteins, so it is classified as a carbohydrate-based food like most plant-sourced items. But there is a chief component which isn’t included in the macronutrients… water.
Water content is what is primarily considered when discussing the portion sizes of fruit. The higher the water content, the more volume that fruit has because it’s molecules are spread out over more space. The less water content, the less volume or portion because the fruit is more condense.
This is where bananas get their label for being bad for you; because when compared to other fruits such as apples or melons, bananas have less water content making them a smaller portion for the same number of grams of carbohydrate, or sugar. And the same goes for grapes and dried fruits which are also often slandered.
Let’s use this information to our advantage! Not all that hungry but know you should eat something? Reach for half a banana or some raisins for a small, quick snack which won’t weigh you down but will give you the gusto you need to continue with your day.