If you are cutting carbs from your diet, then you’ve probably wondered about the world’s favorite yellow portable snack and makeshift meal. Bananas: what’s the deal? Can you eat a banana on a low carb diet? How many carbs in banana?
Carbs in Banana
If you’re thinking about trying keto or lowering your carb intake, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the carb counts in different ingredients. You might be surprised to learn that the energy in bananas comes primarily from carbohydrates, most of which is sugar.
If that doesn’t surprise you, then surely you may have just come for the brass tacks nutrition facts. So here you go, my friend.
In 100 grams of raw banana, there are 22.84 grams of total carbohydrate (per USDA). Of that total, 2.6 grams of that are fiber, and 12.23 grams is sugar.
No kitchen scale? No problem.
The actual carb count and nutrient composition of a banana depend on its size and preparation. According to the USDA:
- An extra small banana (less than 6” long) has 18.5 grams of total carbohydrates with 2.1g fiber and 9.91g sugar.
- A small banana (6”-6-⅞” long) has 23.07g total carbs, 2.6g fiber, and 12.35g sugar.
- A medium sized banana (7" to 7-⅞" long) has 26.95g total carbs, 3.1g fiber, and 14.43g sugar.
- A large banana (8" to 8-⅞" long) has 31.06g total carbs, 3.5g fiber, and 16.63g sugar.
- An extra large banana (9" or longer) has 34.72g total carbs, 4.0g fiber, and 18.59g sugar.
- One cup of sliced bananas has 34.26g total carbs, 3.9g fiber, and 18.34g sugar.
- One cup of mashed bananas has 51.39g total carbs, 5.8g fiber, and 27.52g sugar.
I’ve included a nutritional chart below for reference.
Banana net carbs
Using the information provided, we can calculate the net carbs in banana. Remember, net carbs are simply total carbs minus the fiber.
Banana net carbs range from 16.4 grams for the small fruit to 30.72 for the larger varieties. When it comes to carbs in banana, size definitely does matter.
Are bananas keto friendly?
As you can see above, bananas are not very low carb. No matter how thin you slice them, it would be pretty hard to deem bananas keto friendly.
Nutritional ketosis is simply a shift in the metabolism from burning primarily sugars as fuel to burning fat; if you are fueling your body with foods high in carbohydrates, it prevents this metabolic state.
Bananas are a relatively high carb food and would provide a source of sugar to fuel your body upon digestion. That’s why they aren’t a good choice for the keto diet, not because there are special diet rules that deem specific ingredients keto or not.
To see where other fruit stacks up on the keto diet, visit the low carb fruit list.
Does this mean bananas are unhealthy?
No. That’s not what this means. Carbs aren’t “unhealthy,” fruits aren’t bad for you, and carbs aren’t evil incarnate. In the world of low carb and keto diets, many of us like to demonize all carbohydrates and label things as “bad” or “good.” It’s not that carbs are “bad,” per se, it’s excess carbohydrates that can be detrimental.
The thing is that many of us eat to excess, whether it be carbs, calories, or both. That’s when the problems start. Insulin resistance, PCOS, diabetes, expanding waistline, etc. Let’s be real here for a second: it’s not bananas fault we’re fat, guys. It’s that we are eating too much.
Are bananas fattening?
As mentioned, one single food in and of itself is not “fattening.” It’s eating to excess that is fattening. Even with a higher number of carbs in banana than preferred, eating one will not make you fat. Taking in more energy than your body needs is the primary driver of weight gain.
So if you’re asking questions like “Can bananas make you gain weight?” or
“Can I eat banana if I want to lose weight?”, what you should really be wanting to know is how many calories are in a banana.
That’s right, ladies and gents. Calories do indeed matter when it comes to losing and gaining weight. We've already checked out the carbs in banana; now, let’s take a look at banana calories.
There are 89 calories in 100 grams of banana. That means banana calories range from a mere 72 calories for the extra small sizes to 135 calories for extra-long pieces of fruit.
Not too shabby! If you were simply watching your calories in an effort to manage your weight and not restricting carbs, bananas could certainly fit the bill as a dietary choice.
Low carb keto diets can help manage insulin
Low carb keto diets can help with adherence. The diet that works is the one you can stick to. If you enjoy the kind of foods that are suitable for a low carb diet, then you are more likely to stay with the program. If the idea of not eating a banana sounds downright impossible, keto may not be the most sustainable way of eating for you.
It helps you avoid EXCESS carbohydrates, which can be stored as fat and be extremely detrimental to your health. Even if you are cutting calories, if the calories you do eat are coming from excessive sugar and starch intake then you could be taxing your system. Not everyone requires a low carb diet, but for the people who have gained weight and taxed their system to the point of insulin resistance and beyond, then limiting carbohydrates becomes about managing health issues in addition to any weight loss concerns.
Keto banana substitute
So you decide to go low carb, what can you eat instead of bananas? That will depend on what you are trying to substitute.
If you simply like the taste of bananas and want to recreate the banana flavor in a low carb dish, your best bet will be pure banana extract. It’s low in carbs, and a little bit goes a long way. You can use it for baking, smoothies, or whenever you get the hankering for banana-esque flavors. Another option is to use a low carb protein powder that is banana flavored. Again, baking, smoothies, and shakes are great for this.
If you are trying to replace the banana texture but need a low carb alternative, try avocado. The flesh of a ripe avocado has a texture pretty similar to a ripe banana, but the carbs in avocado are much lower and mostly fibrous.
If you hate the carbs in banana but love the micronutrients provided, there are several low carb options that you can reach for instead! Bananas are known for their high potassium content, but they are also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese.
Potassium intake is crucial on a low carb diet to prevent keto flu and balance electrolytes. Potassium also helps the body to maintain normal blood pressure.
Keto friendly sources of potassium include: meat, spinach, avocados, beet greens, swiss chard, bok choy, brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, summer squash, mushrooms, celery, and bell peppers, just to name a few.
Chances are if it’s green and leafy or ever had a face, it’s loaded with potassium.
Vitamin B6 is important for carbohydrate metabolism, brain and nervous system health, red blood cell production, and liver detoxification.
Low carb sources of Vitamin B6 include: tuna, spinach, cabbage, bok choy, garlic, cauliflower, turkey, beef, chicken, salmon, broccoli, brussels sprouts, greens (such as turnip, beet, mustard), and asparagus.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, offering protection against excess free radicals. It is also critical in collagen production, serotonin production, and supports overall brain health.
Low carbohydrate sources of Vitamin C suitable for a ketogenic diet include: bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, berries (such as strawberries and raspberries consumed in moderation), cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, parsley, greens (collard, turnip, beet, mustard), tomatoes, spinach, asparagus, lemons, and limes.
The full banana nutrition info can be found in the table below.
|Nutrient||Unit||per 100 g||1 cup, mashed = 225.0g||1 cup, sliced = 150.0g||1 extra small (less than 6" long) = 81.0g||1 small (6" to 6-⅞" long) = 101.0g||1 medium (7" to 7-⅞" long) = 118.0g||1 large (8" to 8-⅞" long) = 136.0g||1 extra large (9" or longer) = 152.0g||1 NLEA serving = 126.0g|
|Total lipid (fat)||g||0.33||0.74||0.49||0.27||0.33||0.39||0.45||0.5||0.42|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||g||22.84||51.39||34.26||18.5||23.07||26.95||31.06||34.72||28.78|
|Fiber, total dietary||g||2.6||5.8||3.9||2.1||2.6||3.1||3.5||4||3.3|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||mg||8.7||19.6||13.1||7||8.8||10.3||11.8||13.2||11|
|Vitamin A, RAE||痢||3||7||4||2||3||4||4||5||4|
|Vitamin A, IU||IU||64||144||96||52||65||76||87||97||81|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||mg||0.1||0.23||0.15||0.08||0.1||0.12||0.14||0.15||0.13|
|Vitamin D (D2 + D3)||痢||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)||痢||0.5||1.1||0.8||0.4||0.5||0.6||0.7||0.8||0.6|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||g||0.112||0.252||0.168||0.091||0.113||0.132||0.152||0.17||0.141|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated||g||0.032||0.072||0.048||0.026||0.032||0.038||0.044||0.049||0.04|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated||g||0.073||0.164||0.109||0.059||0.074||0.086||0.099||0.111||0.092|
|Fatty acids, total trans||g||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
Hi, I'm Tasha–nutritionist, recipe developer, and multi-published author dedicated to helping people thrive and succeed using low carb and keto dietary patterns.