When size really matters

Maxine Builder
February 07, 2018
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If you've ever wondered how many calories are in a banana, you're far from alone. That's partially because unlike packaged foods, fruits don't come with nutrition labels. So unless you do your own research on banana nutrition, it can be almost impossible to know exactly what health benefits you're getting from the produce you picked up at the store. Plus, the number of calories in a banana can vary depending on the size of the fruit. A good place to go for some answers, though, is the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. According to them, a large, raw banana has 121 calories. A small banana, about six and a half inches long, has fewer calories—only 90.

So, yes, it is true that compared to other fruits, a banana has slightly more calories. For some context, a large apple has about 116 calories, a cup of cubed pineapple is 82 calories, and a cup of sliced strawberries has 53 calories. That's part of the reason some trainers and so-called "diet gurus" call bananas a "no-benefit fruit."

But if you're really looking at the nutrition of a banana, you can't simply consider banana calories and write it off because it's a has a higher caloric content.

Bananas are famously high in potassium, which can help moderate high blood pressure and generally helps with heart health. They're also a good source of vitamin B6, which, according to research from the University of Maryland Medical Center, helps turn carbohydrates into energy, and, in combination with vitamin B12 and B9, can help boost your metabolism. (Both of these nutrients can help when you're hungover, for what it's worth.)

So don't listen to the folks who say that banana's are unhealthy because they have too many calories. Bananas are, by far, the most consumed fruit in the United States, according to a report from Produce for Better Health Foundation, and given all of the health benefits of this yellow fruit, there's no reason to stop peeling them anytime soon.

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