When we think about bananas, we don’t really associate them as a weight-loss food. High in sugar, bananas are often shoved into darkness for those who are dieting, but could the one food they are leaving out of their diet, be one of the best foods to help them lose weight? You bet! Losing weight with bananas might take some getting used to, but people like Freelee The Banana Girl, Loni Jane, myself, and so many others who are slim and trim, keep this food at arms reach, all times of the year.
Why Are Bananas A Great Weight Loss Food?
Bananas contain an insoluble carbohydrate called Resistant Starch. Resistant Starch is a starch that by-passes amylases (enzymes that break the covalent bonds of glucose molecules) and thus does not break down into sugar molecules the way a bowl of oatmeal or potato would when consumed. Because resistant starches are not broken down into sugars, they are not directly absorbed into the bloodstream. Instead, these starches are passed, undigested, into the large intestine, by-passing the small intestine completely.
Bananas and Weight Management:
Resistant starches act in a similar way as fibre does when consumed, except that it does not lead to the digestive distress (gas, bloating) that fibre does when people suddenly up their fibre intake. Resistant starches, and their fibre-like effect also means that they help improve bowel movements & their regularity.
Bananas & their abundance of resistant starches actually help aid in fat metabolism. Human clinical trials have shown that lipases (fat-metabolizers) are increased when individuals consume foods with high resistant starch content (such as bananas (rated #2), or navy beans (rated #1)) (source: Langin D, Dicker A, Tavernier G, Hoffstedt J, Mairal A, Ryden M, Arner E, Sicard A, Jenkins CM, Viguerie N, van Harmelen V, Gross RW, Holm C, Arner P 2005 Adipocyte lipases and defect of lipolysis in human obesity. Diabetes 54:3190–3197)
Resistant starch acts like fibre, as we saw earlier, thus it also helps aid in appetite control, keeping you fuller longer. It also aids in satiety which helps prevent over-eating.
Regulates Blood Sugar
When resistant starches are combined with other foods that are low in resistant starches, it helps to slow down the absorption of sugar into the blood stream, meaning less blood sugar spikes.
Bananas, Resistant Starch and The Digestive Tract
Since they are high in resistant starch, bananas help maintain a healthy colon and digestive system by encouraging the growth of healthy bacteria in the bowels, acting as a sort of “prebiotic fibre.” It also helps keep the colon healthy by producing short-chain fatty acids. These short-chain fatty acids are protective and have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. The mild laxative effects of bananas and the fact that resistant starches prevent gas and bloating, bananas are excellent “tummy-slimming” foods, acting much more smoothly on the GI tract and thus preventing the “bloated look.”