Bananas = fat?

Originally Published: October 20, 1995 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: July 25, 2008
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Dear Alice,

Does banana have fat like avocados or olives? If so, what kind of fat does a banana have? Thanks.

—Banana lover

Dear Banana Lover,

Nutritionally, bananas are packed with many good things. To get right to your question, according to Bowes and Church's, Food Values of Portions Commonly Used, one medium banana contains only 0.6 grams of fat. Compare that to a California avocado (3.5 ounces) that has 17 grams of fat (with 3 grams of saturated fat). Like protein and carbohydrates, fat is an important macronutrient that plays a vital role in maintaining health. So while you don't have to eschew avocados and olives, you can rest assured that eating a banana will provide some low-fat satisfaction in a balanced diet.

Bananas make a healthy and helpful snack choice for endurance athletes (and others) because they have higher carbohydrate content when compared to other fruits (by weight). They also provide a good source of potassium, which is vital for controlling the body's fluid balance, and regulating one's heartbeat and blood pressure.

Think of it this way, if a contest called for designing an ideal food, you might just come up with a banana. They are neat, they ripen best after harvest, they can be eaten at various stages of ripeness, there is a good supply all year, they tend to be inexpensive, and almost everyone can digest them. Chew on this, in an average year Americans consume about 25 pounds of bananas per person.

Perhaps you can help spread the word that people can enjoy having their bananas, and eating them too!