Can Diabetics Eat Bananas? How much sugar does a banana have? Perhaps these are the most frequently asked questions from people who are suffering from diabetes health condition. And the answer is Yes, as long as they are unripe or semi-ripe and you don’t overdo it and eat a whole dozen.
The rest of this article explains why.
Diabetics Need to Watch Their Carbs
All carbohydrates we eat turn into sugar in our body. Insulin is needed to take this sugar into cells. People suffering from Type-2 diabetes usually have two problems; one, their pancreas don’t produce as much insulin as their bodies can use and two, their cells are not very sensitive to insulin. The result: blood sugar can shoot up.
That’s why diabetics need to watch their carbs.
Bananas are full of good stuff; in addition to carbs (around 30 grams in an average-sized banana), they are loaded with fiber, Vitamins B6 and C, manganese, copper and potassium.
Bananas Have a Low GI Index
Overall, bananas have a low glycemic index (GI), the score that measures how much a food increases your blood sugar level when you eat it. The lower the GI, the better. Where a 30-gram serving of brown bread has a glycemic index of 69, a 120-gram serving of raw banana has a glycemic index of just 48. You can also create your own healthy dessert by sprinkling powdered cinnamon on sliced or diced bananas. The health benefits of cinnamon for a diabetic individual are explained here.
Ripe vs Unripe: The Crucial Difference for Diabetics
Ripe bananas contain 10% fiber, which is good for everyone, including people with diabetes; however, they also contain 8% carbohydrates, which increases blood sugar levels sharply. This is because the starch in the banana has been converted into sugar by nature, as the banana ripens.
The same banana, when in an unripe or semi-ripe state, could actually make a great snack for diabetics, giving them all the goodness it contains, without the sugar rush. Research has shown that digestion-resistant starch in green bananas can actually help stabilize blood sugar levels as well as insulin response.
What’s more, the good starch can also feed good bacteria in the gut, helping improve metabolic health in diabetics. The vitamin B6 in the bananas reduces stress and helps regulate metabolism. Both factors greatly help in managing diabetes. The potassium in bananas helps in maintaining cardiovascular health.
Since diabetics are often asked to manage their total intake of carbohydrates in a day, the size of the banana does matter. Assuming you want to use it as a snack, remember that a medium size unripe banana would contain around 27 grams of carbohydrates, so factor that into your overall diet plan.
So, is banana good for diabetic people? For sure, it is! Just make sure it’s unripe or semi-ripe and not too large.