This morning, through the haze of post-workout sweat and fatigued sighs, I heard someone suggest that bananas were fattening. It occurred to me that this was the third time in a month I’d heard such a scurrilous rumour and I wondered what had happened to tarnish the reputation of this much-loved superfood. After much research I was unable to find the source, albeit there were many tweets and posts proclaiming this to be so (although none from reputable sources). Does the banana contain fat? Very little, a banana is less that 1 % fat. Compare that to a slice of wholemeal bread at around 6.4% fat, cheddar cheese at 33% and even extra lean ham, which is over 5% fat, you can see that the humble banana is indeed a low-fat food.
More importantly, at about 100 calories, a banana is packed full of nutrients and is termed as nutrient dense. For every calorie you eat, you get a good supply of vitamins and minerals to keep your body working efficiently. The banana is especially high in potassium, which is essential for blood pressure regulation, muscle growth, nervous system and brain function. Potassium is also proven to reduce the onset of muscle cramp during exercise. Bananas are also high in calcium, which along with phosphorous is essential for your bones and teeth. Combining this with a low GI (glycemic index) results in a slow release of energy, making for an endurance athlete’s power food.
So why the furore? Maybe it’s because the banana isn’t full of juice and feels different to ‘regular’ fruits. Maybe, it’s the squishy flesh that gives the impression of fat. Whatever triggered the onslaught of doubt over the banana’s nutritional credentials, I am here to officially denounce it as a myth.
The banana is awesome. Eat them!