Friday, July 16, 2010

Bananas slimming friend or fattening foe?

Did bananas in pyjamas lull us all into a false sense of security as children? Are bananas actually contributing to the battle of the bulge or are they as healthy as the industry would have us believe?

I have seen the banana get a bad wrap in a lot of health magazines of late and it seems a lot of us are confused as to whether bananas are good or bad for us, so I did a little investigation.

According to - my go to source to check out the good and bad of my food choices – a medium sized banana (170g with the skin on) has 99 calories and contains just .1g of total fat. However, it also contains 21.8 grams of carbohydrates. On the plus side it contains 12% of a recommended daily intake of dietary fibre.

So what does this mean? In comparison a medium sized orange (230g with the skin on) has just 68 calories, contains .2g of fat and 13g of carbohydrates with 16% RDI of dietary fibre. A 170g apple has 83 calories, contains 0 fat and 18g of carbohydrates with 16% RDI of dietary fibre.

So really the outcome is if you are on a strict calorie or carbohydrate controlled diet an apple or orange is better than a banana, but despite its creamy texture bananas really aren’t the source of all evil. Interesting though they actually do have about the same number of calories as a Tim Tam – although naturally the Tim Tam has 25 times the amount of fat… a shame really.

On behalf of the Australian Banana Industry accredited nutritionist Glenn Cardwell says: “Bananas don’t make you fat. In fact, bananas contain virtually no fat. They contain protein, and are packed with a variety of other nutrients including carbohydrate for energy, fibre, vitamin C, and the wonderful B group vitamins such as folate and vitamin B6.

“A ripe banana will have some fruit sugar, but it comes with plenty of fibre and essential nutrients. The sugar in fruit is not unhealthy or fattening because fruit, especially bananas, are one of the most filling foods you can eat.

“Sugar needs to be kept in perspective. Sugar, in sensible amounts, is not bad; it’s an energy source. Many processed foods can be singled out as not good for you because they contain high levels of sugar. But for most people, having small amounts of sugar is not harmful, and naturally occurring sugar in fruit is part of a nutritious diet.”

So that’s that then. No need to shield your children’s eyes from the horror of bananas dancing around in their nightwear. Like most things, bananas are healthy in moderation.

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