Myths About Bananas You Need to Know

Poor bananas get such a bad rep for no good reason. You may think that they’re unhealthy, but that’s likely because of a couple of tired myths about bananas. Let’s debunk!

There are so many reasons to love bananas. This humble fruit is surprisingly healthy. Bananas are rich in calcium, which helps prevent muscle cramps and improves heart health. As a rich source of soluble fiber, they’re good for digestion and have a low glycemic index. They’re also a natural antacid and contain prebiotics that help your body absorb calcium.

All of that, wrapped up in its own natural, compostable packaging.

mans hand take bananas from shelf of store

Myths About Bananas

Given all of their health benefits, why all of the banana hate? I think it comes down to two common myths.

Myth #1: Bananas Make You Constipated

If they’re a good source of soluble fiber, why does conventional wisdom believe that bananas are constipating? The answer is all about timing (and water).

Underripe bananas can cause constipation, according to John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP at MedicineNet, because they’re high in hard-to-digest starches. If you’re worried about bananas stopping you up, avoid eating green or even partially-green bananas. When it comes to digestion, ripe is best.

Bananas can also contribute to constipation if you don’t drink enough water, Cunha adds. They are high in pectin, a type of fiber that is great at absorbing water. This can be a good thing, but it can stop you up if you’re not staying hydrated.

Cunha also says that people—especially babies—can experience constipation from eating too many bananas. One a day shouldn’t cause any issues, though, unless you’re dehydrated.

Eating ripe bananas in moderation, on the other hand, can actually improve your digestion. Pectin is a soluble fiber, which helps relieve constipation. So peel away!

hands peeling ripe yellow banana, close up

Myth #2: Bananas are ‘Fattening’

First of all, let’s dispense with the outdated idea that being overweight or even obese automatically puts your health at risk. It’s totally possible to be fat and perfectly healthy. Our collective fat-phobia leads people to ditch all kinds of healthy foods, including bananas.

When you look at a banana’s many health benefits, it’s easy to see why this myth is totally unfounded. Sure, if you eat a whole bunch of bananas, they can contribute to weight gain, but if you grab one—even daily—as a snack or part of a meal, that isn’t going to happen.

One medium banana only contains 105 calories. It also delivers 12 percent of your daily fiber, which helps you feel full and stay feeling full for longer.

On top of all of that dietary fiber, bananas are a good source of resistant starch. Both fiber and resistant starch help regulate blood sugar, which helps you avoid the post-snack crash that can cause you to reach for something junky to eat.

In fact, one study looked at the overall fruit and vegetable intake of 133,468 men and women and found that a banana a day was associated with a lower body weight. Some of the fruits and veggies in the study were more effective for weight loss, but the researchers did not find that bananas are associated with weight gain.

Whether you enjoy a banana in your morning smoothie, with a spoonful of peanut butter or on its own, you don’t need to worry about that occasional banana causing constipation or weight gain.

Photos via Getty Images

93 comments

Jeanette B

I hadn't heard about the banana myths, but interesting to get these facts about them!:)

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hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN hEARFIELD11 days ago

tyfs

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Dr. Jan H
Dr. Jan Hill24 days ago

thanks

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Graham P
Graham P24 days ago

Canary bananas are the best.

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Carolyn Bateman
Carolyn Bateman24 days ago

Thanks for clearing up these myths.

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Christophe B
Christophe Bazin25 days ago

Thanks.

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Christine Stewart

calling bananas "fattening" is probably from the 70's, when they didn't know how to treat anorexia, except with 'force" feeding people- bananas would "fatten you up"- meaning put on pounds, not necessarily make one fat. The unfortunate phrase still exists, I guess!

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heather g
heather g26 days ago

Love bananas

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Olivia H
Olivia H26 days ago

thank you for sharing

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Mike R
Mike R27 days ago

Thanks

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