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Bananas appear healthy, but they could be compromising your weight loss progress.
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Fruit is part of a balanced, healthy diet, and the United States Department of Agriculture recommends men eat 2 cups of fruit per day and women eat 1 1/2 to 2 cups. Fruit can be a contentious issue, however, with some nutritionists and weight loss diets recommending you cut it out, or at least limit your fruit consumption. One fruit you may wish to look at cutting back on when dieting is bananas.
Calories in Bananas
Whether you lose or gain weight boils down to calorie balance. To burn fat and lose weight you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. One cup of sliced banana contains 134 calories, which is around 7 percent of a 19- to 50-year-old moderately active woman's recommended daily calorie intake of 2,000 calories, and around 5 percent of a 19- to 50-year-old moderately active man's recommended daily calorie intake of 2,600. Compare this to strawberries, which only have 49 calories per cup, or watermelon, which has 46 calories per cup, and bananas rank highly in terms of calorie content.
Most of the calories in bananas come from carbohydrate, with 34 grams per cup. Low-carb diets are popular weight loss eating strategies and limit or severely restrict your intake of carbs. According to MayoClinic.com, low-carb diets can aid weight loss by lowering your levels of insulin, which potentially helps you burn fat. On a low-carb diet, bananas would generally be off limits.
The sugar found in bananas and other fruits is known as fructose. According to Dr. Elizabeth Parks, researcher at the UT Southwestern Medical Center, fructose enters the bloodstream differently than other types of sugars and can quickly turn into body fat. This isn't entirely true in the case of fruit though, notes nutritionist Dr. Jonny Bowden. The negative effects of fructose are far greater when it comes in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, found in sugary drinks and snack foods. Consuming small amounts of fructose from fruit shouldn't really have any adverse effects on weight loss.
Bananas can be a regular part of your weight loss diet, provided they fit your calorie requirements. They also provide a high amount of fiber, at 4 grams per cup, which can aid weight loss and satiety, and are an important source of potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B-6. Balance your banana intake with other fruits and vegetables to get the wide range of health benefits that different foods offer.