Can a diabetic eat bananas?

Question: Can diabetics eat bananas?

Answer: A big yes is the short answer. As for the long answer: Bananas are a fruit and as such are a vital part of any healthy diet, including one for those with diabetes. However like all fruits, bananas contain carbohydrates which can impact blood sugar levels in those with diabetes. The key to including them in your diet is to keep portions in check and spread those portions out through the day.

According to the USDA's ChooseMyPlate.gov, the average adult should eat approximately 1 1/2 to 2 cups a fruit per day. Breaking that down, I like to think of a 1/2 cup as one portion. In other words you should strive for 3 to 4 (1/2-cup) servings over the course of a day. Going back to that banana -- a large banana (about 8-inches) is considered 1 cup, or 2 servings. So when it comes to that banana, go ahead and enjoy it as part of a healthy meal or as a between meal snack, but keep your portion size to half a large or one small banana.

NOTE: After consuming bananas, blood sugar levels varies from individual to individual. Depending on your body's response, you may need to adjust the portion size accordingly. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to review them with a member of your health team, such as your physician or certified diabetes educator.

Be sure to ask a member of your health team, physician or pharmacist, if you get a new prescription about possible interactions with not only other medications, but food as well. If potential interactions exist, they may tell you to remove that food from your diet.

About Heidi McIndoo

Heidi McIndoo, MS is a registered dietitian who has been counseling women, men, and children about healthy eating for twenty years. She firmly believes food should be enjoyed and all foods can fit into a healthy diet -- it's just a matter of how much and how often.

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