Yummly

Please don’t Hate me!!

Pin It!

After potatoes and spaghetti, bananas might just be the most misunderstood food in America. The mainstream media (i.e. magazines, fitness tv shows, and diet books) tells us to shun bananas because they are:

A. High in calories
B. Starchy
C. High in carbs

Once again, I feel compelled to argue against the media. On a recent post, I received an insightful comment from reader who said:

Hi Katie,
Do you ever watch the show The Biggest Loser? I have been watching it for a few seasons now and I find it incredibly inspiring about 55% of the time and completely aggravating the other 45% of the time. This week they gave the contestants a challenge where they had to order out their food for all 3 meals for 7 days. When the contestants were discussing fruit salad they mentioned that they should for sure not get banana or pineapple. I was shocked! Who in their right mind would cut bananas out when they were working out everyday.

Although I’ve never seen the show, I’ve sadly come across that type of thinking too. The media tells us that bananas = high-calorie, and therefore they must be bad for us. Some diet gurus go as far as to almost suggest that even looking at a banana will cause one to balloon up like Harry Potter’s Aunt Marge.

aunt marge

(No wonder people are scared of bananas!)

I’m anticipate someone will say, “Katie, you don’t need to lose weight, so of course you can have bananas. But some of us are trying to lose weight, and therefore we should stay away from them, opting to eat lower-calorie fruits instead.”

My answer: I would argue that bananas can be a healthy addition to almost anyone’s diet (unless you have an allergy or are like my sister and don’t like the taste). While it’s true that a banana has more calories than, say, a strawberry, if you only eat strawberries, you’ll be missing out on variety—and thus important vitamins and nutrients. Plus, if you eat too few calories, you’ll lack energy to do any form of exercise.

What people don’t think about is the fact that calories are not meaningless numbers: They stand for something. I don’t agree with the mantra that “a calorie is a calorie.” How can you equate calories from trans fat to calories that come from fiber?

Some calories provide protein, others carbohydrates to fuel one’s life (and give one the energy to get off the couch!). Some calories go to the brain, others to the heart. Bananas might be high in calories, but these aren’t empty calories. Bananas are a great source of a plethora of nutrients, including B and C vitamins, magnesium, fiber, and potassium (which is essential in maintaining the function of the blood vessels and the heart). I’d argue that it’s much healthier–no matter your weight–to eat a 200-calorie banana than a refined 100-calorie snack pack. While the snack pack is lower in calories, it is also lower in essential nutrients.

Bananas are like nature’s energy bars—self-wrapped and ready to eat! No mess, no fuss, and they’re certainly cheaper than most energy bars. Even if they were diet derailers (I know I’m not a doctor, but I seriously doubt they are), wouldn’t you rather be five pounds heavier if it meant you got to enjoy a delicious—and über healthy—dish such as Brownie Batter Oatmeal?

znyc 216

Bananas are a crucial ingredient in so many of my recipes, including:

pbnme

Conclusion

Don’t fear the humble banana.  It will not make you look like Aunt Marge (*shudder*).  Instead, go out and celebrate this energy-packed carb!

Rate this recipe

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
Yummly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Mashed panana on toast with PB or el famoso melted naner in oats mmmmmmmmmmm

  2. Mihl says:

    We eat bananas every single day. I couldn’t live without them. They are totally not high in calories compared to chocolate or cookies. And have way more fibre and nutrients.

    1. trajayjay says:

      I don’t know who started the myth that a 120 calorie banana was high in calories. I mean sure a kiwi or starfruit has 40ish calories but yes, a banana is a much better snack than oreos

  3. Jessica says:

    I couldn’t live without bananas! Sometimes I have 2 a day!

  4. Brandi says:

    i love using bananas in my oatmeal or just slathering with nut butter for a snack.

    favorite larabars so far (there are still a lot I can’t find here!):
    coconut cream pie
    pb & j
    key lime pie

  5. vanessa says:

    Banana slices topped with a shmear of almond butter. It’s my favorite thing EVER, especially following a long bike ride! Gotta get those proteins and carbs in after a workout ;).

  6. lately i’ve been smothering a banana in PB & J, topped with dark chocolate chips. um, YUM!

  7. Lori says:

    I love bananas and could not imagine cutting them out. I usually eat one in my oatmeal everday. Half cooked in with it and half sliced on top.

  8. Jessica says:

    I literally eat bananas every single day! I get really tired of people thinking they’re not good for you. Why all the hate?!

  9. Jennifer says:

    Today, I reached my goal! Let me explain: for the last couple of months I have been dieting in an attempt to lose 15 pounds. Not because I was overweight, but because I wasn’t where I wanted to be and didn’t want to get farther from it. I have eaten a banana nearly every day with my breakfast during this diet (except when I run out, which is always so sad) – on cereal, in oatmeal, in pancakes, on pancakes, whole, sliced, in smoothies. You get the idea. Guess what I had to eat almost immediately after getting off the scale this morning? A BANANA (with crepes and a soy chai). POWER TO BANANAS!

    PS. Thank you for the Harry Potter reference. I love when Harry runs out of the house a few minutes later and you can see Aunt Marge blowing away in the distance!

  10. Sarah says:

    I hear that all the time! Bananas are high in carbs so I can’t eat them because they’ll make me fat.

    What!!!? Crazy talk. And so sad that they’re missing out on that gorgeous Brownie Batter Oatmeal 🙁

    1. trajayjay says:

      Yeah! Why are bananas one of the five foods that are high in carbs, plenty of foods are, beans, sweet potatoes, apples, watermelon, oats, and rice, bet you won’t hear the media tell you that.

  11. Abby says:

    I eat a banana every single day and last time I checked I wasn’t fat. I eat chopped up in cereal or oatmeal OR in a lovely smoothie. Clearly, a nanner dipped in a lil almond butter with some carob chips is delightful too!

    YUM 🙂

  12. Kate says:

    Katie, I love your blog so much and I especially love how you are bringing light to the truth about carbs! Hahah. I am a carb lover myself. People assume that the only reason I can eat carbs without gaining weight is because I’m a runner, but honestly I can’t see why they would say that since so many of the world’s healthiest foods are “high carb”.

    Aside from pasta (and homemade bread, and pitas, and rice, and…), I think bananas just might be my favorite carby food. I have at least one every day (usually more) and I love how versatile they are. I use them in banana pancakes, banana “soft serve”, and in so many other delicious ways!

    I’m a big-time “Lara lover” so that’s a really tough question for me. I have several of them a week, and I’ve tried every flavor. I’m head-over-heels for the Jocalats (the coffee one is to die for) but out of the original Laras I’d have to say that my favorites are the Cashew Cookie, Peanut Butter Cookie, Banana Bread, and Chocolate Coconut Chew.

  13. Please, I eat a banana on the daily. Along with all different kinds of other fruits and vegetables. I do this because a) I love fruit and vegetables and b) I’m not into multivitamins, so it’s up to me to basically eat the rainbow and make sure I get all my nutrients from food. Oh and I’m not fat.

    But you’re right, I feel like bananas are so feared on the diet scene because so much focus gets put on volume. When you’re trying to lose weight, naturally you have to reduce portion size but in order to be satisfied, one wants to feel like they can have a lot of…something, and the bottom line is that a banana gets a person closer to their daily calorie allowance quicker than a strawberry, so dieters end up thinking of calories more like a bank account than nourishment.

    I agree with Allison re: Biggest Loser – I watched one or 2 seasons and then gave it up because for me, who is pretty much 100% healthy! it was making me feel like I should restrict on “bad” foods – that’s just crazy and I don’t need it.

    I’m gonna cut the rant off here, but you get the idea: I agree with you. 🙂

  14. Marina says:

    I love bananas and eat them every single day! People used to scare me, tell me that I won’t loose weight, that they actually will make me gain weight. And that they have so high GI, it’s terrible. Well, it’s not. I need my potassium, I need my morning bowl of banana oats. Screw diets and GI’s

  15. Mama Pea says:

    I saw that Biggest Loser too, and they were freaking out about MANGO but had no problem throwing down a 100 calorie Hostess cupcake. RIDICULOUS.

    I’m going to go eat a mango covered banana 🙂

    1. trajayjay says:

      I know, people really judge a food by its calories and here’s why

      In a society wher many people are obese and where many foods are processed and devoid of vitamins and minerals, the only appealing thing about a food is that it’s low in calories, do you ever hear a new chip or cookie say it’s high in vitamin C or calcium or selenium or magnesium, no it says it’s under 90 calories or less than 4 grams of fat or something. So the media tells us to fear calories.

      But we really shouldn’t judge a food by it’s calories. A mango has way more nutrients than a hostess cupcake. Really, if you think about it, you can eat 500 calories worth of apples or 40 calories worth of oreos, so a calorie count can be quite irrelevant

  16. Leah says:

    I love slicing up frozen banana and putting it in my morning yogurt! it makes it so thick and cold like ice cream! I also love running frozen bananas through my champion juicer to make bananacream!

  17. molly says:

    I saw that episode of Biggest Loser – I guess since they’re trying to lose so much weight SO FAST (a.k.a. not how one could or should without being carefully overseen by a professional in the real world) they have to do some outlandish stuff.
    However, these are people who have been immersed in way too many nutritionally devoid calories. If they were to replace some of those with a banana, no doubt they would be better off.
    Basically, I love bananas. Period.

    1. trajayjay says:

      Ever watch operation osmin. All they’re allowed to eat is fish, salad, and water, even when they’re exercising like 5 hrs a day. But hey you’re losing like 3 pounds a day so that’s good! But seriously, that’s not a varied diet, where are you getting you’re calcium and mufas. And where’s the fruit! And the whole grains!

  18. Melinda says:

    Yes, but for weight management a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. For disease management and risk for heart disease, the actual nutrition behind the calories are different, as you mention the transfats. Whether trans fat or monounsaturated fat there is 9 calories per gram. When talking about weight, 9 calories is still 9 calories towards your 3500 calories in one pound of body weight.

    Calories are always nutrients, but not all nutrients are calories. But yes, you make great points. One things I always remind my patients is to pay attention to portion size. 1/2 banana is the same calories as 3/4 cup blueberries. And on top of that, that’s almost the same amount as a slice of bread (using the idea of the diabetic exchange lists). I have heard doctors also tell patients they can’t have watermelon. Sticking with some of your thoughts, how could anyone tell someone to avoid a food packed with good nutrients (vitamins and minerals). There is a reason we eat a variety of foods throughout the day. Not one single food or one single meal could ever give us 100% of what we need (naturally, those supplement bars don’t count).

    I am not sure where it started, but I agree the media has made some foods into bad foods and in reality moderation is the most important part. That and being informed on what foods you have available to you to consume.

    1. trajayjay says:

      I agree that a calorie is a calorie, but it’s not an accurate way to measure a food. What you need to look for is low in added sugar, low in trans fat, and high in vitamins and minerals.

  19. Yasmin says:

    I feared bananas for a long time too and they were on my no-no list. But I honestly can’t live without them. Sorry!
    I made my own version of fudge babies this weekend and you are a genius!! Can’t stop eating them…grrr…

  20. ~Jessica~ says:

    I think given the title of my blog it’s fairly obvious that I’m going to agree with every syllable that you typed.

    I lost count of the number of times girls at Uni would tell me that I was gaining weight because of the bananas I used to take with me and eat during lectures while they sipped aspartame-laden Diet Coke. Fine, they might be skinny but lord knows what all those chemicals are doing to their insides. I know so many thin people (and people who have lost weight and are not naturally slender) who eat bananas. My own personal record for them is four in one day but sadly my IBS can’t put up with more than one any more 🙁 Ah well, at least I appreciate the one I get to savour every morning with breakfast ~ my favourite way to eat them…either topping cereal or gluten-free porridge. They have to be added last and stay cold though…I arrange them in a little ring around the edge of the bowl when I have porridge as to my palate cooked bananas are the antithesis of raw ~ warm, they make me gag but cold I can’t get enough of them.

    No more Laras for me in the UK *howls* but when they were here my favourite was PB Cookie…only got to try it once before the whole salmonella scandal meant that no more were imported *sniffle*

    Love this post and love you in general!

    <3

    xoxox

    1. trajayjay says:

      It really does sicken me about how people will put back a 150 calorie banana or a 180 calorie handful of nuts but they will happily munch on processed-ass foods such as oreos, chips, and pretzels