A snack too sweet? Weighing the pros and cons of the humble banana
Published Wednesday, June 27, 2018 9:28AM EDT
Bananas are perfectly portable, sweet and popular with kids. It’s a fruit, after all, so it’s got to be healthy, right? Well, keep in mind that a large banana has about 120 calories and packs about 17 grams of natural sugars. That’s more sugar than in a cup of French Toast Crunch cereal (147 calories and 12 grams of sugar) and Froot Loops (110 calories and 12 grams of sugar per cup), both of which rank among the most sugar-laden cereals on store shelves.
Compare all that to about 53 calories and 8 grams of sugar in a cup of strawberries, or 46 calories and four grams of sugar per cup of cranberries.
Certainly, a banana is a better choice than many other options. A 355 ml can of Coke, to compare, has 140 calories and 35 grams of sugar, while a 60 gram 3 Musketeers chocolate bar comes in at 262 calories and 40 grams of sugar. But we don’t often eat those for breakfast. Hopefully.
In the plus column for bananas, they have dietary fibre, vitamins and potassium, and if you eat them green, they have resistant starch, which lowers blood sugar levels.
Bananas also compare well to some other high-in-sugar fruits: lychee (29 grams per cup), figs (27 grams per cup), mango (23 grams per cup), and cherries (18 grams per cup).