The Banana Backlash

Just recently, Her magazine- a popular online Irish magazine for women, left many questioning whether they should be enjoying their banana at breakfast.

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Who is the ‘expert’ dishing out these absurd claims?

Dr Daryl Gioffre- a chiropractor, alkaline lifestyle expert, health coach, certified raw food chef, triathlete, ultra-marathoner, author, and lecturer.

Note that this supposed ‘expert’ is not a medical doctor or Registered Nutritionist/Dietitian.

Myth 1: Bananas are not a good option for breakfast

  • Bananas are a great source of many nutrients like fibre (important for a healthy gut) and potassium (important for heart health)


  • Fruit is relatively low in calories because it is high in water and fibre. It keeps us full for longer and makes us less likely to over eat


  • Large population studies have shown that diets high in fruits and veg (including bananas!) can help you to maintain a healthy weight

Myth 2: To avoid a sugar rush, you shouldn’t snack on a banana after a meal

  • Interestingly, a pilot study in 2014 showed that daily consumption of bananas actually marginally improved blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes


  • Any extra portion of fruit or veg that we can sneak into the day to meet our 5-a-day is a bonus- you don’t need to be worrying about the timing of consumption of your banana!


  • That said, bananas are the fruit of choice for some athletes due to their nutritional benefits. For example, they contain as much carbohydrate as some energy drinks (around 25g).


  • So, you may like to consume a banana before or after sport as a cheaper and more convenient option for boosting performance!


Myth 3: If you eat a banana as a snack, it should be eaten with healthy fats or spice to avoid a sugar high

  • It is true that the effect of a food on blood sugar levels (known as the glycaemic index or GI) can be influenced by many factors i.e. the protein and fat in other foods eaten that morning


  • However, there is no evidence to suggest that eating spice with your banana will lower the GI


  • Since most of us will eat a banana as part of a meal, demonising a single food based on its GI is not particularly useful in most healthy people


  • But fear not- even if you opt for a solo banana at breakfast, the effects on your blood sugar will be modest, and the same of many other fruits like grapes


  • That said, the greener the banana, the lower the GI. This is due to the higher amounts of resistant starch in unripe bananas. So, if you are keen to minimise the effects on blood sugar, you could opt for a less ripe banana


Myth 4: Bananas are acidic and should be neutralised to get the benefits of the nutrients without the sugar rush

  • This myth neglects the fact that our blood is part of a very clever homeostatic system which can maintain a constant pH regardless of the acidity of foods eaten

Key message:

It is highly unlikely that you will develop diabetes from eating a banana at breakfast! As you would expect, bananas are a nutrient-rich food which can be part of a healthy, balanced diet. Always take your nutrition advice from a qualified and regulated professional. #trustadietitian

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