Bananas have gotten a bad rep for being high on the glycemic index but their sugar content is just part of the story. It is true that bananas are rich in starch, sucrose, and dextrose, in addition to fructose, but this makes them a really good post-workout recovery food.
Starch is a bigger molecule of sugar that your body has to break down extensively before it can be used, whereas sucrose, dextrose, and fructose are all different types of smaller sugar molecules that are easily digested and enter the blood stream quickly. The sugar in most fruits is primarily fructose (“fruit sugar”) so bananas are quite special in that they have low levels of fructose compared with other types of sugar.
Dextrose and sucrose are the most easily digested sources of glucose for most people and after a hard workout you want to replenish your muscle glycogen (energy) stores ASAP. This makes bananas a really good option for athletes and worker outers.
Due to their carb content bananas are considered a high-glycemic index food, however, unlike a piece of white bread they are full of important nutrients that our body needs.
For one medium banana you get:
- 105 calories
- 26g carbs
- 3 g fiber
- 6 mg calcium
- 32 mg magnesium
- 26 mg phosphorus
- 422 mg potassium
- 20 mg Vitamin C
- 24 mcg folate
- lots of other trace vitamins & minerals
Not only are bananas a great recovery food, they also come in their own eco-friendly wrapper, are a natural sweetener for baking, homemade energy bars, oatmeal, protein shakes, etc., and make a great dessert. You can also freeze them for a frozen treat (peel before freezing) or eat with peanut butter. Did I mention that bananas are also affordable?
Bottom line: Bananas are good for you but should be used appropriately (at breakfast and around workouts). Next time you are at the market, be sure to add a couple to your basket 🙂