Why are bananas demonized?

slicedbananas2What’s up with those anti-banana ‘belly-fat’ ads?

If fruit could sue for slander, bananas would hire an army of lawyers.  Those anti-banana belly-fat ads are everywhere.  The implication: bananas cause belly fat.   Sadly they even pop up on this website, despite my best efforts to block them.  Strangely, clicking on one of those ads usually takes you to a site selling diet books or products, with no mention of bananas.

The main question about these ads:  WHY??  What evidence is there to blame bananas for anything?

Answer: none that I can find.  In fact, strangely, I found mostly articles supporting bananas, sometimes in weird ways.  One doctor recommends eating a room temperature banana for breakfast everyday as a weight control strategy.  Another site claims an orange-banana smoothie will help you burn fat.  Apparently a “Morning Banana” diet was popular in Japan not too long ago.  An list of belly fat foods on Dr. Oz’s website includes cheese, margarine and red wine.  Bananas are never mentioned.  By the way: Cheese?  Wine?  Tell it to the famously thin French.

So now that you know there’s no connection to belly fat, let’s get to the good news:

  • Tasty, with just enough sweetness
  • Convenient
  • Affordable
  • Easy to peel and eat
  • Versatile
  • Nutritious

Bananas are particularly good sources of potassium, a mineral most people need to eat more of from food.  A large banana has more than 10% of your daily recommended potassium intake, but only about 120 calories.  Here are some key nutrition facts about bananas:

  • low fat
  • high fiber
  • high potassium
  • low sodium (essentially none)
  • filling

The only real downside to bananas is that they don’t last long.  So don’t buy more than you’ll eat up within about 3 days.  And some people find bananas disagree with their digestive system.  Not a big deal, as most people find that some fruit or vegetable doesn’t agree with them.  If you’re one of those people, don’t eat bananas.

Of course, the easiest way to use up bananas is to just peel and eat.  Here are some other ideas:

  1. Slice bananas on cereal or pancakes or waffles, or into yogurt
  2. Add bananas to smoothies.
  3. Use in baking: banana bread, cakes or even cookies
  4. Add to fruit salad.  Bananas go well with slightly acid fruit like raspberries or strawberries, or oranges.
  5. Banana peanut butter sandwich
  6. Freeze ripe bananas and eat with a spoon like ice cream

Remember, there’s no evidence whatsoever linking bananas to belly fat.  If you’ve got excess belly fat, you need to cut calories, especially from added sugars and unhealthy fats.  Cutting out bananas while eating junky processed food isn’t going to help.

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