A banana is probably the most popular fruit you’ll find in grocery stores, supermarkets, and gas stations all around the world. It’s also one of the most nutrient-packed fruits out there, giving you potassium, fiber, and vitamin C (among other things). Aside from being a great source of nutrition, bananas are also delicious and super easy to eat. But have you ever wondered just how many calories you’re taking in when you crack one open?
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When it comes to weight loss or weight management in general, one of the first things people are told to do is count their calories. And while this may seem like a simple enough task, it can actually be pretty difficult to accurately estimate how many calories are in some of your favorite foods – like bananas! This article will give you all the information you need to know about the calorie content of bananas so that you can better achieve all of your dietary goals.
The Average Calorie Content of a Banana
The average banana contains around 105 calories, though this can vary depending on the size of the banana.
Calories in Bananas By Size
According to the US Department of Agriculture, here are the calories you can expect to be contained in bananas of different sizes.
- Extra Small (Less than 6″ long) (81g) – 72 calories
- Small (6″ to 6-7/8″ long) (101g) – 90 calories
- Medium (7″ to 7-7/8″ long) (118g) – 105 calories
- Large (8″ to 8-7/8″ long) (136g) – 121 calories
- Extra Large (9″ or longer) (152g) – 135 calories
As you can see, most bananas will fall into a range between 72 and 135 calories. The average banana in the US is between 7 and 8 inches long, meaning it would contain somewhere between 105 and 121 calories.
If you think about it over the course of a week – one medium banana each day would set you back around 735 calories. Still much less than a pint of ice cream!
Bananas Compared to Other Fruits
When it comes to calorie content, a banana is actually on the higher end compared to other fruits. Let’s take a look at the average calorie contents of a range of common fruits.
- Apple – 52 calories
- Orange – 47 calories
- Mango – 60 calories
- Pear – 57 calories
- Serving of Strawberries – 52 calories
The verdict is in – if you’re making an effort to cut down on the number of calories you consume, bananas are probably not the best option compared to most other fruity options. On the other hand, if you’re trying to bulk up, you can fill that refrigerator up with bananas because they carry a relatively large calorific punch!
Ripe vs Unripe – What’s the Difference?
Ripe bananas tend to be sweeter tasting than unripe bananas, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they contain more calories.
In unripe bananas, the carbohydrate content is overwhelmingly made up of resistant starch. In riper bananas, this starch turns into sugar and provides that signature sweetness, but this does not change the calorie content at all.
The stage of ripeness you eat a banana at really comes down to personal taste. With that being said, if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, it could be better for you to eat less ripe bananas to avoid that extra sugar, and the glucose and insulin spikes you may experience as a consequence.
Another interesting thing to note is that although overripe brown bananas may seem unappealing to the eye, they can actually be better for you! When the chlorophyll breaks down in the flesh of the fruit turning it brown, the antioxidant levels rise. So if your favorite banana bread recipe involves mashing up some overly ripe bananas – you’re in luck!
Banana Nutrition Facts
A banana is not only a delicious and convenient snack but is also packed with nutrients that can provide you with numerous health benefits. For instance, bananas are a good source of dietary potassium, which is an important nutrient for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
They are also a good source of dietary fiber, which can promote regularity and help to lower cholesterol levels. Additionally, bananas contain antioxidants that can protect against cell damage and some chronic diseases.
How to Incorporate Bananas Into Your Diet
Bananas are a nutritious and delicious fruit that can be enjoyed in many different ways. Here are some ideas on how to best add bananas to your diet:
- Add sliced bananas to your morning oatmeal or cereal for a boost of sweetness and nutrition
- Make a healthy smoothie by blending bananas with milk, yogurt, and/or other fruits
- Enjoy a banana as a snack with some nut butter or dark chocolate for added flavor and protein
- Use banana as an ingredient in baked goods such as bread, cakes, and muffins for moist and flavorful results
If you are looking to lose weight, eating fewer calories is one way to do that. And, if you are looking to bulk up or build muscle, eating more calories is also one way to do that. So, whether you are trying to lose weight or gain weight, it’s important to pay attention to the foods you eat and how many calories they contain.
The average banana contains between 105 and 121 calories, and this doesn’t change based on the ripeness of the fruit. The sugar content does change, however, so if you are diabetic, less ripe bananas may be a better choice for you to control your blood sugar. They also contain more resistant starch, which can improve digestive health.
Either way, bananas are about so much more than calories! Packed with potassium, dietary fiber, and antioxidants – they are a perfect addition to almost anyone’s diet.