Are Bananas Fattening?

Medically reviewed by Peggy Pletcher, MS, RD, LD, CDE on March 25, 2015Written by Kristeen Cherney on March 25, 2015

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits in the United States, and for good reason. Not only are they nutritionally dense, but they’re also extremely affordable, and available year-round. Unfortunately, they’re also victim to false rumors about their nutritional value, and a surprising amount of people seem to think they’re fattening. While it’s true that you can get too much of a good thing, bananas themselves are not fattening.

What Makes Bananas A-Peeling

When it comes to healthy snacks, bananas are truly a bargain. They’re great sources of dietary fiber, minerals like potassium and magnesium, and a good source of other vitamins like vitamins A and C.

Learn about 4 essential nutrients every banana contains »


The notion that bananas are fattening stems from misconceptions about their water and sugar content. Per serving, a banana does not have as much water as melons or grapes. A medium-sized banana also contains about 14.5 grams of sugar. However, unlike the table sugar you might add to food or coffee, the sugar in fruit is a naturally occurring substance, and safe for most diets in moderation.

Mix up Your Banana Recipes

A plain old banana works as a great snack, or even as a post-workout recovery tool. Still, it’s understandable you might get bored with eating bananas only. Try mixing up your routine with some of these recipes. Trust us, they’ll make you go bananas!

Banana Shake

This quick and easy recipe combines milk, bananas, and a touch of honey. Combine in a blender with ice, and serve up for a refreshing banana treat.

Banana Bread

People on the paleo diet will appreciate this recipe, which uses almond flour. Try it as is, or throw in a half-cup of shredded zucchini.

Banana Colada Smoothie

When you want tropical flavor without the alcohol of a traditional colada beverage, this smoothie may be the ticket. This recipe calls for a banana along with pineapple juice, ice, and coconut-flavored yogurt.

Banana-Carrot and Pecan Muffins

This recipe is designed to make six muffins to have on hand for a quick and healthy breakfast. Mashed bananas help create a sweet consistency as an alternative to fattening butter. As an added bonus, these muffins are also diabetes friendly!

PBB Smoothie

Taking a cue from your childhood, this recipe incorporates natural peanut butter and bananas for a more grown-up meal. Add honey, low-fat milk, and vanilla extract for a healthy, satisfying meal that will keep you full until lunch.

Go Bananas in Moderation

Bananas pack a great deal of nutrition, and are versatile for use in a variety of healthy recipes. Still, like any food, bananas are best enjoyed in moderation. A varied diet is important for getting all of the nutrients you need, so make sure you balance your choices with other nutritious fruits like apples and berries.

There are concerns that eating too many bananas can lead to high potassium, or hyperkalemia. Your body needs potassium to perform a number of functions, such as blood pressure management. The average banana contains between 290 and 544 mg of potassium, depending on the size. This is far below the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recommended daily allowance of 3,500 mg. Unless you currently have hyperkalemia, kidney disease, or another related health concern, you will not have a problem with your potassium balance and will be safe with any amount of bananas – though you may want to keep it a banana or two a day.

The Takeaway

When it comes to fat and bananas, the two terms just don’t go hand in hand. As long as you stay within your daily calorie limit, bananas are unlikely to pack on the pounds.

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