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Myth Buster: Are Bananas Really Fattening?

  By posted Mar 15th 2012
Healthy Living
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That bananas are healthy fruits and everyone who exercises indulges in a banana or two for quick energy - is well known in exercise circles. But the common perception about bananas amongst the world outside remains unclear and unsolved. Most consider bananas fattening and strongly advise their weight loss warrior peers to abstain from indulging in bananas. Let's take a look at whether there is a grain of truth in the assumption that bananas are fattening, and who can indulge in them, whether for quick energy or simply taste.

Most trainers, nutritionists, sports persons, cyclists, and runners will always swear by bananas and their energy giving properties. Remember Pete Sampras and his mid-set banana breaks? Physically active people vouch for bananas because bananas are extremely efficient, power packed fruits that are great for bursts of energy. This quality in bananas makes them the preferred snack during physical training, because bananas give the body immediate energy to use as fuel for any workout.

"For starters bananas offer healthy carbs which give energy to be more active and feel great. It is also high in the mineral potassium which helps to lower blood pressure. The fiber content of bananas helps to control hunger much better for those who are trying to lose fat. And it has also been found to help students study better thanks to its supply of the vitamin B6.  Some more benefits of bananas - It has been found to help reduce depression due to its content of Tryptophan, the iron content in it helps those with anemia and it also helps to reduce constipation due to its fiber content." - Strength and conditioning coach, Arnav Sarkar.

With a glycemic index of just 54 and with rich fiber, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, vitamin B6 and essential amino acids, bananas are a cut above ordinary snacks. The only way you’ll gain weight by eating bananas is if you eat half a dozen without exercising. Also, bananas contain pectin and resistant starch which leave you feeling full for longer. This makes bananas ideal for any weight loss programme. You can even substitute a high calorie dessert with a frozen banana dipped in some dark chocolate sauce to get a delicious low fat dessert – a complete win-win situation. 

Since our body primarily uses carbohydrates and fats to fuel energy, bananas become an essential carb when taken right before a performance packed workout. This will give you instant energy, and you will workout at a greater intensity than if you were low on energy supplies. Take care regarding your overall calorie count requirements. Since carbs are nothing but sugar chains, an overload even in terms of fruit consumption could lead to excess calories and fat storage. Therefore, as with everything else, consume bananas in moderation and you've got a great fruit that fuels your exercising abilities, while ensuring that you aren't indulging in any junk foods or foods that can only claim to have your best interests in mind.

*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images 

 

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