Are Bananas Good For People With Diabetes?

Mastering nutrition can be demanding for diabetics. However, gathering the healthiest snacks and meal options helps prevent sugar spikes. Let's see if bananas make the cut.

Last year, the International Diabetes Federation reported that around 537 million people over the age of 20 had diabetes worldwide. If you are diagnosed with the condition, you'll most likely live with either Type 1, Type 2, or gestational, shares the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This condition is caused by the body's inability to produce insulin or doesn't use it as it should. In turn, diabetics are tasked with developing meal plans that avoid refined carbs, sugary drinks, and sweet treats, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Instead, whole fruits, lean meats, and fresh veggies are highly recommended.

Once we so eat foods that are high in carbs, such as bagels, snack cakes, or white rice, our body converts those nutrients into sugar for energy, according to the Cleveland Clinic. From that point, our pancreas is responsible for generating enough insulin to balance blood sugar levels (via Endocrine Society). Luckily, diabetes can be managed through a healthy diet. In fact, "low-GI diets can significantly improve long-term glucose control in people with diabetes, similar to the amounts achieved with medication," explains the Peanut Institute

Bananas have both carbs and sugar (per Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), but could they actually be a good choice for those living with diabetes?

Are bananas dangerous for diabetics?

Bananas have valuable nutrients no one should lose out on, including those with diabetes. According to Medical News Today, "The vitamin, mineral and fiber content in banana can add nutritional benefit for people with diabetes." Diabetics may be advised to stay away from certain fruits because they are high in sugar. Fortunately, bananas are not all carbs and sugar, they also offer potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C. In fact, a minor controlled 2014 study concluded that eating 250 grams of banana daily actually reduces fasting blood sugar levels. Therefore, diabetics do not need to avoid eating bananas, as long as it's in moderation.

Keep in mind, there are plenty of ways to pair bananas with other healthy choices. Medical News Today advises coupling the fruit with protein or a healthy fat. For example, try bananas with a peanut butter sandwich or a smoothie with Greek yogurt. The mini-bananas you've seen at the market, known as Lady Fingers, are okay too (via Edible Arrangements). Smaller portions will give you the same satisfying taste, with minimal sugar. Nevertheless, be sure to always speak with your doctor with any questions or concerns you may have.