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Is a banana a day too much sugar?

This question is about Nutrition
Elle Penner, MPH, RD
A banana a day is not too much sugar. There are two types of sugar: natural and refined, and since bananas have fructose (a naturally occurring sugar), it’s a good source of carbohydrates. Natural sugars also provide the body with energy and offer other important nutrients essential for good health–including fiber, potassium, and B vitamins. 
Here’s the difference between natural and refined sugars.
  • Natural sugars: As the name suggests, these sugars occur naturally in fruit (fructose), vegetables, grains, and dairy products (lactose). Thanks to the fiber and protein present in these foods, the natural sugars are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream at a slower rate, thus providing a steady supply of energy to your cells. They also contain other essential nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, that are needed for energy metabolism, immune function, cell health, and more. Moreover, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.
  • Refined sugars: This type of sugar is processed from sugar cane or sugar beets and is typically found as sucrose (a combination of glucose and fructose). Unlike naturally occurring sugars in whole foods that are typically paired with fiber and/or protein, your body rapidly breaks down refined sugars causing insulin and blood sugar levels to spike. Additionally, refined sugars contribute a large number of calories but have little nutritional value otherwise [1]. Diets high in refined (or added) sugars can increase your risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, and cognitive decline [2].
sliced banana on a cutting board

References:

  1. The sweet danger of added sugars - E.J.P.D. (n.d.). Retrieved May 9, 2022, from https://www.ejpd.eu/pdf/EJPD_2019_20_2_1.pdf 
  2. Rippe, J. M., & Angelopoulos, T. J. (2016). Relationship between Added Sugars Consumption and Chronic Disease Risk Factors: Current Understanding. Nutrients, 8(11), 697. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8110697