Bananas and Diabetes

Bananas and Diabetes

Nutritional properties

Bananas are highly energetic fruits , which contain 12-13g of simple carbohydrates per 100g of edible portion: this characteristic makes them unsuitable for frequent consumption in the presence of diabetes mellitus .

The sugars contained in bananas are 83% monosaccharides or small polymers and the dietary fiber content is very low, around 1.8g. The result is a fairly high glycemic index , around 50, a value calculated on the average of different species and degrees of ripeness. Of course, it is plausible to say that banana consumption is oriented towards the ripe fruit. which has a glycemic index closer to 70.


Diabetes is a chronic-degenerative disease of a dismetabolic nature , characterized by chronic hyperglycemia and other dysfunctions of carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism , which cause frequent complications . Diabetes mellitus is differentiated into:

  • Type 1 (always insulin dependent )
  • Type 2 (usually NOT insulin dependent )

In type 1 diabetes diet therapy , paradoxically, the food choice is less incisive on the glycemic balance; this is due to the administration of exogenous insulin , the dose of which is estimated on the meal to be consumed; therefore, the use of banana is wriggled out by some very important variables in type 2 diabetes. These are:

  • glycemic load
  • Glycemic index
  • Combination of the two factors.

In type 2 diabetes, where the circulating insulin has an endogenous origin (produced by the body), but is functionally altered by peripheral resistance , the regulation of the quantity of simple carbohydrates and the speed with which they enter the circulation are of fundamental importance in maintaining of physiological blood sugar levels .

Fruits and Diabetes

It is true that bananas have different characteristics based on the degree of ripeness, however, in the presence of type 2 diabetes mellitus, the food choice of fruit must necessarily be oriented towards low-calorie products, with a modest glucidic content and characterized by a good or at least discreet food.

Without imposing the exclusive consumption of grapefruit and “Granny Smith” ( green apples ), the diabetic can freely choose between: plums , oranges , kiwis , apples, pears , melons , watermelons , peaches , apricots … etc.

On the contrary, the following should be drastically reduced: bananas, grapes , tangerines , persimmons , figs and all highly energetic and sugary fruits. Furthermore, it would be good practice to consume portions of fruit less than or equal to 150g and reduce the frequency of consumption to one or two pieces a day.

In case of physical activity

One final note on banana consumption and physical activity in diabetes . It has been demonstrated and still applied that motor therapy acts directly and indirectly in glycemic control; directly because it increases the sensitivity of muscle receptors to insulin uptake , indirectly thanks to the probable reduction in weight which also determines an improvement in glycemic control.

Taking advantage of the typical post-exercise anabolic window (proportional to the intensity and duration of the effort), even in conditions of diabetes it could be correct to use the banana. Obviously, we rely above all on the common sense of the patients, as the portions must be useful for the treatment (100-150g) and the frequency of consumption should not exceed 2 bananas per week.



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