Can Bananas Help In Weight Loss?

Obesity is taking the shape of an epidemic with cases increasing exponentially by the day despite people being aware of the problem and the various means available to prevent it. Whatever preventable measures that are available for obesity are not giving the desired results. This has resulted in people looking for alternative measures for weight loss. These alternatives mainly are nutritional and based on the diet that is consumed. Fruits are something which is attracting more and more people who aspire for weight loss. Fruits contain simple sugars which according to studies plays a part in weight gain. Thus according to this theory people consuming fruits should actually gain weight; however, studies have shown that fruits actually aid in weight loss [1].

Studies also show that fruits have properties in abundance that play a role in weight loss. This is the reason why many health organizations voice for more fruit consumption in overweight individuals to aid in weight loss. The intriguing characteristic of fruits with regard to its ingredients and properties that help in weight loss has led to more research being conducted to better understand the contribution of fruits to weight loss [1].

Studies have shown that different fruits act differently on the body weight of an individual but ultimately they also result in significant weight loss. Additionally, regular intake of fruits reduced the risk of long term weight gain by reducing energy intake. Studies have postulated different mechanism that aid in weight loss and thus pinpointing one specific mechanism in fruits that aids in weight loss is difficult [1].

Though all fruits contribute towards weight loss, bananas have a special place in the list. This fruit not only provides the necessary nutrients to the body but is also an excellent source of fiber which is extremely important for digestion. Even though bananas are not directly involved in weight loss, its properties reduce bloating and suppresses the appetite which aid in weight loss. This article explains as to how bananas help in weight loss [2].

Can Bananas Help In Weight Loss?

Can Bananas Help In Weight Loss?

It is well known that bananas have plenty of fiber. A small to medium sized banana has approximately 3 g of fiber and the recommended intake of fiber in a healthy individual is around 25 g for a 2000 calorie diet. Research has shown that there is a close association between fiber intake and weight loss. Additionally, fiber helps in digestion and control blood sugar levels. Plenty of fiber results in an individual not feeling hungry for long periods of time which decreases the overall intake of food further promoting weight loss [2].

A recent review in which more than 50 studies were analyzed reported that a daily intake of fiber of around 15 g can result in more than 10% decrease in the overall caloric intake. This resulted in approximately a weight loss of around 2 kg in a span of three months which is a substantial amount. Fiber also helps in controlling the cholesterol levels in the body thus decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases [2].

It is not just the ripe bananas that are helpful for the health. Even raw bananas are equally useful. This form of banana is not able to be digested by the small intestine and directly enters the large intestine. Thus despite it being a starch it does not affect the blood sugar levels in any way. Additionally, it also promotes the growth of good bacteria in the stomach. Eating raw bananas also helps in weight loss as its function is more or less similar to that of dietary fiber meaning that it curbs the appetite of an individual thus reducing the overall caloric intake and promoting weight loss [2].

Other than weight loss, there are also plenty of other benefits of eating bananas. They have plenty of minerals and nutrients that keep the body fit and healthy. These benefits include [2]:

Potassium: Bananas have potassium in abundance. Physicians recommend 2500 mg of daily intake of potassium in females and 3500 mg in males. Eating a medium sized banana provides 12% of the daily recommended dose. Potassium also controls the level of sodium in the body which further helps in controlling the blood pressure. Regular intake of banana also reduces the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular conditions. It also helps in preventing renal stones [2].

Magnesium: Bananas are also an excellent source of magnesium. A medium sized banana provides 8% of daily recommended intake of magnesium. Magnesium is extremely important for carrying out various body functions. It is required for energy production. It is also needed by the nervous system to function normally. It plays an important role in controlling blood pressure and sugar levels in the body. Along with flavonoids that are also present in bananas, magnesium prevents insulin resistance [2].

Energy: How often it is seen that athletes after an event or people who complete their daily workout eat a banana. This is because bananas replenish lost energy in double quick time. A study done on this aspect of bananas showed that eating a banana during an exercise has the same effect that a carbohydrate drink would have if not more. The study was conducted on a group of professional cyclists who completed a 40 km cycling stint [2].

The researchers analyzed the blood samples of the diet before the exercise and after it to check the effect of bananas. The study clearly showed that eating a banana before or during a rigorous exercise increased the stamina of the individual which was more or less similar to an energy drink full of carbs. Additionally, the study also showed that people who ate bananas had higher levels of dopamine and thus had increased motivation [2].

Diabetes Prevention: A fruit which has a glycemic index score of more than 55 is considered to be not good for blood sugar control. The riper a fruit, the higher will be its glycemic index score. However, in bananas a fully ripe banana has a glycemic index score of 51 and a raw banana has a score of 30. Thus bananas eaten in both forms are excellent for blood sugar control.

A study was carried out by researchers in which 40 people with high cholesterol or diabetes mellitus type-2 were studied [2]. The participants were given 2 bananas to eat every day to check whether it had any effect on their lipid profile and blood sugar levels. The result of the study showed that while eating bananas did not have much impact on the blood sugar in some cases it definitely improved the lipid profile of the participants. This proved the efficacy of bananas in not only controlling but even improving various medical conditions [2].

In conclusion, bananas directly do not affect the weight of an individual, it definitely has properties which can bring about weight loss in overweight people. This is due to the high fiber content which not only improves digestion but also decreases the overall caloric intake thus promoting weight loss [2].

Raw bananas when eaten enter directly the large intestine as it is not able to be digested by the small intestine. This also acts as an appetite suppressant while providing the body the same energy levels and aids in weight loss. If an individual wants to lose weight then he or she has to monitor the caloric intake compared to the calories spent [2].

This is where bananas come into picture and act both as an energy provider and as an appetite suppressant which makes an individual feel full for a longer period of time. Thus bananas are a good substitute for various other means of weight loss [2].

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