Do bananas have fat in them?

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, 

Here’s the skinny on fat content: while a banana has virtually no fat (only about 0.39 grams), an avocado has about 22 grams (specifically 15 grams of monounsaturated fats, 4 grams of polyunsaturated fats, and 3 grams of saturated fats). When it comes to bananas, there are multiple types including the cavendish, plantain, red banana, and lady finger. Though their appearance and tastes vary, all of these fruits have similar nutritional content and are low in fat. However, though fat is often demonized in mainstream discussions about food, the macronutrient plays a vital role in keeping you healthy. The unsaturated fats in fruits such as avocados and olives, for example, have a number of potential benefits! As plant-based fats don’t have cholesterol, consuming the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in fruits as a substitute for other fats may improve heart health and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Bananas may be lacking in fat, but they're abundant in other nutrients. Compared to other fruits, bananas have higher carbohydrate content, making them an excellent snack option for athletes and anyone else who wants a boost of energy. Resistant starches in bananas work as fibers to improve your digestion. When these starches are broken down by microbes, they produce short-chain fatty acids (or SCFAs) which can help manage some chronic diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, in addition to other treatments. Bananas are also known for their potassium—understandably so, as each banana has about 422 grams! Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte that works with neurons to send signals to your heart so that it continues to beat. It also works to flush excess sodium out of your system, meaning that your risk of high blood pressure decreases. However, while bananas may be the poster child for potassium, they’re not the only fruit that can serve as a source of the mineral. In fact, just half of an avocado actually has over sixty more grams of potassium than an entire banana.

Using this food for thought, you’ll hopefully be able to pick the fruit that best suits your snacking needs!

Last updated Feb 17, 2023
Originally published Oct 20, 1995

Can’t find information on the site about your health concern or issue?