Glycemic Index of Banana and its Impact On Diabetes

Last Updated on June 12, 2023 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD

Updated and medically reviewed by Dr. Sharon Baisil MD on 29 April 2023

As a medical professional, it is imperative for me to keep up with the latest research in order to provide optimal care for our patients. One topic that has gained attention recently is the glycemic index of bananas and its link to diabetes.

Bananas have long been touted as a healthy snack choice due to their high fiber content and various vitamins and minerals. However, some studies suggest that they may not be suitable for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing the disease.

The concept of the glycemic index (GI) was first introduced by Dr. David Jenkins in 1981, who described it as ‘the area under the two-hour blood glucose response curve after ingestion of a test food relative to an equi-carbohydrate amount of glucose.’ In simpler terms, GI measures how quickly carbohydrates are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, causing a rise in blood sugar levels.

Foods with a higher GI value are thought to cause rapid spikes in blood glucose levels, while foods with a lower GI value lead to more gradual increases. With this knowledge in mind, let us explore what impact bananas may have on blood sugar control and overall health outcomes for people living with diabetes or prediabetes.

Veggie causing Diabetes

Can People With Diabetes Eat Bananas?

Bananas are a popular and healthy fruit that can be consumed by people with diabetes. These fruits have a low glycemic index, which means they do not cause sudden spikes in blood sugar levels. The carbs found in bananas are broken down into glucose, which is an essential source of energy for the body.

Aside from being a good source of carbohydrates, bananas also provide several other nutritional benefits. They contain potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate. Potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels, while dietary fiber reduces cholesterol levels and may lower the risk of heart disease. Vitamin C is important for the growth and repair of all body tissues, while folate helps form red blood cells.

However, it’s important to consume bananas in moderation as they do contain sugar and carbohydrates. It’s recommended to practice portion control when eating bananas or consider alternative fruits if necessary.

What Is The Glycemic Index Of Bananas?

Like a knight in shining armor, bananas are considered one of the heroes in maintaining good health. With its numerous nutritional benefits, it has become a staple fruit that is included in most diets. But for individuals with diabetes, there have been concerns regarding whether or not they can eat bananas. This brings us to the question: what is the glycemic index of bananas?


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  1. The glycemic load (GL) of bananas is only 6.5, which indicates that it is safe for individuals with diabetes to consume them in moderation.
  2. Bananas contain natural sugars such as fructose and glucose; however, these do not raise blood sugar levels rapidly because of their low glycemic index.
  3. Compared to other fruits like watermelon and pineapple, banana has lower sugar content making it an ideal choice for those who want to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

In addition to being rich in fiber and nutrients such as vitamin C and potassium, bananas also help regulate digestion by promoting healthy gut bacteria. These benefits make it an excellent food option for those looking to maintain a diabetic diet without sacrificing taste or nutrition.

As always, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional when considering any changes to your dietary habits.

How Does The Ripeness Of A Banana Affect Its Glycemic Index

The ripeness of a banana has an impact on its glycemic index, which measures how quickly carbohydrates are absorbed into the bloodstream and affect blood glucose levels. As previously mentioned, ripe bananas have a higher glycemic index compared to unripe bananas. This is because as bananas ripen, their carbohydrate content increases while their resistant starch content decreases. The increased sugar in ripe bananas results in a faster rise in blood glucose levels after consumption.

It is important to note that despite the difference in glycemic index between ripe and unripe bananas, both options are still classified as low-glycemic foods. Additionally, there are many nutritional benefits to consuming bananas regardless of their level of ripeness. Bananas contain essential vitamins such as vitamins B6 and C, potassium, fiber, and antioxidants5. They can be enjoyed in various ways including smoothies or baked goods like banana bread. Overall, individuals with diabetes should consider incorporating moderate amounts of ripe or unripe bananas into their diet while monitoring their blood glucose levels to determine what works best for them.

Stage of Banana RipenessGlycemic Index (GI)Glycemic Load (GL)
Table: Comparison of Glycemic Index and Load based on the stage of banana ripeness

How Do Bananas Affect Blood Sugar Levels?

Bananas can be likened to a traffic light that regulates the flow of sugar in the bloodstream. Consuming bananas results in an increase in blood sugar levels, but their low glycemic index means they do not cause rapid spikes compared to high glycemic index foods.

Bananas contain natural sugars such as fructose, glucose, and sucrose, which are metabolized differently by the body. Fructose is absorbed slowly into the bloodstream and does not require insulin for uptake, while glucose requires insulin for absorption. Sucrose is broken down into its components, glucose, and fructose.

Banana smoothie recipes have become increasingly popular due to their convenience and nutritional benefits. However, it’s essential to consider ingredients with lower glycemic loads when making banana smoothies for people with diabetes or those seeking to regulate blood sugar levels.

Glycemic load takes into account both the quantity of carbohydrates in food and how quickly these carbs raise blood sugar levels. Some alternatives to bananas include berries like blueberries or strawberries which have lower glycemic indexes than bananas. Additionally, instead of consuming banana chips that may spike blood sugar levels rapidly due to added sugars and deep-frying processes involved in the preparation, try snacking on fresh fruits rich in fiber content such as apples or pears that help slow down carbohydrate digestion and prevent sudden increases in blood sugar levels.

How Much Banana Can A Person With Diabetes Eat Per Day?

Portion control is crucial when it comes to incorporating bananas into the diet of someone with diabetes. While one or two medium-sized bananas a day can be consumed, it’s important to keep in mind that each banana contains about 27 grams of carbohydrates. Therefore, individuals should limit their intake accordingly and balance out their meals throughout the day.

Incorporating alternative fruits such as berries, apples, and pears can also provide similar nutritional benefits without spiking blood sugar levels. For those who enjoy consuming bananas but want to monitor their glycemic load, banana smoothies are a great option. By blending half a banana with low-glycemic ingredients like spinach, almond milk, and chia seeds, individuals can still enjoy the taste of bananas while keeping their blood sugar levels under control.

Additionally, meal planning is key for people living with diabetes. Planning ahead ensures that healthy food choices are easily accessible and reduces the temptation to consume unhealthy options when hunger strikes.

Are There Any Benefits Of Eating Bananas For People With Diabetes?

It is widely known that individuals with diabetes must watch their diet closely to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. One may wonder if bananas, which are a sweet fruit, have any benefits for those with this condition.

As it turns out, bananas can be an excellent addition to a diabetic’s meal plan due to the various nutrients they provide. Banana nutrition includes fiber, potassium, and folate, all of which benefit heart health- a significant concern for people with diabetes.

Additionally, bananas have a low-to-medium glycemic load, making them safe for consumption without causing sudden spikes in blood sugar levels. However, it is crucial to consume them in moderation while keeping track of one’s carbohydrate intake as bananas still contain natural sugars.

Incorporating bananas into meals or snacks alongside other sources of protein and fat such as nuts or yogurt can help balance out their effects on blood sugar levels. Overall, incorporating fruits like bananas into one’s diet can promote better health outcomes when consumed within recommended serving sizes and combined with appropriate sugar alternatives.

What Are The Risks Of Eating Bananas For People With Diabetes?

Banana consumption can be beneficial for people with diabetes as they are low in fat and high in fiber, potassium, and other nutrients that support overall health. However, excessive banana consumption can increase the risk of insulin resistance due to its carbohydrate content. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps regulate blood glucose levels, but when there is too much glucose in the bloodstream, it causes an overproduction of insulin. This leads to insulin resistance which makes it difficult for the body to use insulin effectively.

Carbohydrate intake should be monitored in individuals with diabetes as it affects blood glucose control3. Bananas contain carbohydrates and their glycemic index falls between 42-58 depending on ripeness. A medium-sized banana contains approximately 27 grams of carbohydrates. Therefore, monitoring portion sizes and consuming bananas in moderation is important for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes. Additionally, incorporating a variety of fruits into one’s diet while keeping track of nutritional value could greatly aid in managing symptoms associated with diabetes without sacrificing taste or quality nutrition.

Vitamin C10% RDA
Table showing the nutritional composition of a medium-sized banana

This table highlights key nutrients such as fiber and potassium that make them a great addition to any balanced diet. While moderate consumption of bananas may benefit those living with diabetes, excessive consumption may lead to complications related to carbohydrate digestion. Thus, following dietary guidelines recommended by healthcare professionals could help prevent potential risks associated with food choices including those involving bananas.

How Can People With Diabetes Incorporate Bananas Into Their Diet?

When incorporating bananas into a diabetes diet, it is important to consider portion sizes and moderation. While bananas are high in natural sugars, they also have many nutritional benefits that make them a great addition to a balanced meal plan.

One medium-sized banana contains around 14 grams of carbohydrates, making it equivalent to one serving of fruit for individuals with diabetes.

However, if someone prefers not to consume bananas or needs alternatives due to personal preference or medical reasons, there are other options available. Some fruits that can be substituted for bananas include apples, berries, kiwis, and oranges. These fruits have lower glycemic indexes than ripe bananas and may help control blood sugar levels better.

Discussing alternative options with a registered dietitian can provide additional insight into how to incorporate these foods into meals effectively while still meeting dietary requirements. Additionally, exploring recipes and meal planning ideas can add variety and excitement to the diet while ensuring healthy nutrition intake.

Precautions should also be taken when consuming bananas as part of a diabetes diet plan. Individuals with diabetic gastroparesis (a condition where food moves slowly through the digestive system) should avoid eating large amounts of high-fiber foods like bananas at once as this could lead to bloating or discomfort.

It is always best to consult with healthcare professionals before making significant changes to your dietary habits, especially if you have existing health conditions like diabetes.


Bananas are a popular fruit that many people enjoy eating, including those with diabetes. The glycemic index of bananas varies depending on their ripeness, but it generally falls in the medium range. Consuming bananas can cause blood sugar levels to rise, so it is important for individuals with diabetes to monitor their portion sizes carefully.

Despite this, there are potential benefits to consuming bananas for people with diabetes. Bananas are high in fiber and other nutrients that may help regulate blood sugar levels and improve overall health. However, individuals should also be aware of the risks associated with excessive banana consumption, such as weight gain or elevated blood sugar levels.

In conclusion, while individuals with diabetes can eat bananas in moderation as part of a healthy diet plan, it is crucial for them to pay attention to their portion sizes and monitor their blood sugar levels closely. Incorporating bananas into meals and snacks alongside other nutritious foods can provide the body with essential vitamins and minerals.

As physicians advising patients regarding diabetic diets, we must emphasize the importance of balanced nutrition and encourage our patients to consume fruits like bananas within recommended limits.

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Costa, E. S., França, C. N., Fonseca, F. A. H., Kato, J. T., Bianco, H. T., & Cortez, J. G. (2017). Beneficial effects of green banana biomass consumption in patients with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial. British Journal of Nutrition, 117(3), 444-450. Link
  2. Sutrisno, A., & Wijaya, C. H. (2017). The effect of banana flour on blood glucose level in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 853(1), 012019. Link
  3. Zhang, Y., Li, Y., Cao, Y., & Zhang, Y. (2019). The in vivo digestibility study of banana flour with high content of resistant starch at different ripening stages. Food & Function, 10(3), 1399-1407. Link
  4. Saifullah, M., Sarker, M. Z. I., & Islam, M. S. (2015). Hypoglycemic Effect of Banana Peel Extract (Musa Paradisiaca Var Kepok) in New Zealand White Rabbits with Diabetes Hyperlipidemia. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, 7(11), 1003-1007. Link
  5. Taweerutchana, R., Srikaeo, K., & Tongta, A. (2017). Effect of banana flour on glycemic control and insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes. Journal of Diabetes Research, 2017. Link
  6. Sutrisno, A., & Wijaya, C. H. (2017). The effect of banana flour on blood glucose level in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 853(1), 012019. Link

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