You know how to do it. Monday is rolling around and you have big plans to train before work and prepare an Instagram-worthy egg omelette.
Then reality sets in, and at 10 in the morning you run to the office and pick up "old believers" – a banana.
Fortunately, this most practical fruit has more back pain than you might suspect, especially if you have diabetes.
Let's take a look at the facts.
A medium banana contains:
- 27 grams of carbohydrates
- 3 grams of fiber
- 14 grams of sugar
- 10 milligrams of vitamin C
- 422 milligrams of potassium
- 88 grams of water
Not all carbohydrates are equal
As you can see, bananas are high in carbohydrates and sugars that increase blood sugar.
However, bananas also contain fiber, which is important if you have diabetes as it can slow down digestion and carbohydrate intake, prevent blood sugar spikes, and improve overall blood glucose control.
Bananas are of course famous for their potassium content.
Here are some great things that potassium can do:
- Reduce stroke risk
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce kidney stone formation
- Support bone and muscle strength
Bananas are also high in antioxidants, of which will prevent the development of type 2 diabetes as well as other chronic diseases such as heart disease and some cancers.
It should be! Bananas are a good choice for people with diabetes because they have a high content of resistant starch in addition to their fiber content.
These facts contribute to the banana's low glycemic index (GI) and low glycemic load (GL) – measurements of how much a food affects blood sugar.
What are resistant starches?
Resistant starches are long chains of glucose that function in a similar way to dietary fiber. They are "digestive" in the upper part of the stomach and do not increase your blood sugar.
Studies have shown that resistant starch improves insulin sensitivity and reduces inflammation in people with type 2 diabetes.
And do you know what's super cool? Resistant starch has a second meal effect. So, if you eat a breakfast with resistant starch – like a banana – it helps to avoid a high blood sugar at lunch.
Interesting facts: Green unripe bananas contain less sugar than their mature, yellow brothers and more fiber in the form of resistant starch and pectin.
As a rule of thumb, the more mature a banana is, the higher its sugar content. For this reason, a banana in the glycemic index can occupy a rank between 42 and 62.
If the maturity of a banana is important, then – you guessed it – the serving size too!
As with any food, larger portions mean higher sugar content. So pay attention to the Mondo bananas that you sometimes see, and instead opt for a fruit of reasonable size.
Glycemic load is a measurement tool that accounts for carbohydrate content in terms of serving size and speed of blood sugar increase. Larger bananas have a higher glycemic load and have a greater effect on the blood sugar level.
Low carbohydrate diet?
Although bananas are considered to be healthy and safe for people with diabetes, they may not be good for you if you are on a low carb diet. Even a small, freshly ripened banana contains at least 22 grams of carbs.
Even though bananas are rich in carbohydrates and sugars, you can eat them without turning your blood sugar into bananas!
- Stick to whole, raw bananas. There are so many ways to enjoy bananas. But those that are dried, fried, salty or made into chips are generally not as healthy as bananas in their natural state. This is because they often contain extra sugar or can be cooked in oils high in saturated fat.
- Equate your fruit intake. Distribute your fruit intake throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
- Choose wisely . When choosing a banana, choose one that is smaller and only underripe to lower the sugar content.
- Pair it with protein and healthy fat. Cut a small banana into a bowl of plain Greek yoghurt to add protein and healthy fat. This combination lowers the blood sugar level and ensures that you feel full for longer.