Is a banana too many carbs?

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits in the world. They are an excellent source of key nutrients like potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. However, some people worry that bananas may be too high in carbs, especially for low-carb or ketogenic diets. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at the carbohydrate content of bananas and whether they can fit into a low-carb lifestyle. We’ll also examine the health benefits of bananas, provide carb counts for different sizes of bananas, look at how ripe bananas impact carbs, and compare banana carbs to other fruits. Read on to get the full story on banana carbs!

How Many Carbs Are in a Banana?

The carb content of bananas can vary slightly depending on the size and ripeness, but on average a medium 7-8 inch banana contains about 27 grams of carbs (1).

For reference, one medium banana is:

  • 118 grams or 4.1 ounces in weight
  • 7-8 inches long
  • About 1 cup mashed

The 27 grams of carbs found in a medium banana include:

  • 23 grams net carbs
  • 1.3 grams fiber
  • 2.6 grams sugar

Net carbs refer to the digestible carbs that impact blood sugar levels. By subtracting fiber from total carbs, you get the net carb count which is the most important number to track for low carb and keto diets.

As you can see in the nutrition details above, bananas are mostly natural sugars with a small amount of fiber. The sugar is sucrose, glucose and fructose which all count as net carbs.

Carb Counts of Different Sized Bananas

Banana sizes can vary from small to extra large. Here are the typical carb counts for different sizes of raw bananas (1):

Small Banana:

– Length: Under 6 inches
– Weight: About 80 grams
– Total carbs: 22 grams
– Net carbs: 19.2 grams

Medium Banana:

– Length: 7-8 inches
– Weight: 118 grams
– Total carbs: 27 grams
– Net carbs: 23 grams

Large Banana:

– Length: 8-9 inches
– Weight: About 136 grams
– Total carbs: 31 grams
– Net carbs: 26.4 grams

Extra Large Banana:

– Length: Over 9 inches
– Weight: About 152 grams
– Total carbs: 35 grams
– Net carbs: 29.6 grams

As you go up in banana size, the carbs increase. Smaller bananas have around 80% less carbs than an extra large banana.

How Ripe Impacts Banana Carbs

The ripeness of bananas also affects the carb content.

Unripe green bananas are higher in starch and lower in sugars. As bananas ripen, the starch turns into glucose, fructose and sucrose. Fully ripe yellow bananas are higher in these natural sugars and total carbs.

Here are the carb differences in medium 7-8 inch bananas at different stages of ripeness (2):

  • Unripe (mostly green): 15 grams net carbs
  • Ripe (some green, some yellow): 22 grams net carbs
  • Fully ripe (all yellow): 27 grams net carbs

As you can see, ripeness can account for almost a 12 gram difference in net carbs for a medium banana. Riper bananas will have a sweeter taste and darker yellow color due to the higher sugar content.

Banana Carbs vs. Other Fruit

Compared to other common fruits, bananas are medium to high in carbs. Here’s how they compare per a medium 7-8 inch banana (1):

Fruit Net Carbs
Banana 23 grams
Apple 14 grams
Orange 12 grams
Peach 10 grams
Pear 16 grams
Grapes 15 grams
Strawberries 5 grams
Blueberries 10 grams

Bananas have more net carbs than citrus fruits, stone fruits like peaches, berries, and some other fruits. However, they have fewer carbs than sweet fruits like mangos, grapes, and pears.

In the context of a 2,000 calorie diet, banana carbs make up about 5% of your total daily carb limit, which would be room for a few servings per day on a moderate carb diet of around 225-325 carbs. On lower carb diets like keto, bananas may only fit occasionally in small amounts.

Do Bananas Have Too Many Carbs for Low-Carb Diets?

Bananas are one of the fruits highest in carbs, so people following low-carb, ketogenic and paleo diets often avoid bananas or only eat them sparingly.

Here is a breakdown of whether bananas fit into different low-carb eating patterns (1, 3):

Ketogenic Diet:

Most ketogenic or keto diet plans limit net carbs to 20-50 grams per day. Even a small banana would likely exceed that limit. Bananas are not keto-friendly except for the occasional small serving.

Paleo Diet:

Paleo diets focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods like meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Bananas fit into paleo plans, but higher carb fruits should be balanced out with lower carb choices.

Low Carb Diet:

On a typical low-carb diet of 100-150 net carbs daily, you may be able to fit in about 1 medium banana per day and stay within limits. Just account for the banana carbs in your daily tally.

Moderate Carb Diet:

Diets with 150-250+ net carbs per day can easily accommodate 1-2 medium bananas as the carbs make up under 10% of calories. Spread banana servings throughout the week.

So in summary, bananas work for low to moderate carbohydrate diets, but are too high for keto and should be limited on strict low carb diets. Always portion and track your servings if carbs are a concern.

Tips for Fit Bananas Into a Low Carb Diet

If you are trying to reduce your carb intake, don’t completely avoid bananas. Here are some tips for enjoying bananas on a low-carb diet:

  • Opt for small or medium bananas which offer around 80% fewer carbs than an extra large banana.
  • Enjoy just half a banana at a time.
  • Try slightly underripe bananas which are lower in sugar and carbs than fully ripe bananas.
  • Mix some mashed banana into plain Greek yogurt for a tasty lower carb option.
  • Pair banana with protein like nut butter or cheese to slow digestion.
  • Keep banana servings under 10 grams net carbs.
  • Save banana for an occasional post-workout snack.

With smart portions and planning, you can still enjoy nutritional benefits of bananas without going overboard on carbs.

Nutrition Benefits of Bananas

Here’s an overview of the many health benefits bananas offer:


Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium. One medium banana provides 12% of the RDI for potassium which is important for blood pressure, heart health and muscle function (4).

Vitamin B6

Bananas supply 33% of the RDI for vitamin B6 per serving. Vitamin B6 helps make hemoglobin which brings oxygen to tissues and organs (4).

Vitamin C

You get about 12% of the vitamin C you need daily from one medium banana, supporting immune function and iron absorption (4).


With 3 grams fiber per serving, bananas help improve digestion and support gut health (4).


Bananas contain 8% of the RDI for magnesium per serving which aids muscle and nerve function (4).


Bananas offer antioxidant compounds like catechins, dopamine and gallocatechin which fight free radicals and inflammation (5).

Heart Health

Several studies show the nutrients in bananas like potassium, magnesium and fiber may reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, lowering risk of heart disease (6).


The prebiotic fiber in bananas feeds good gut bacteria which improves digestion and immunity (7).

Blood Sugar Control

Despite their sugar content, bananas have a low glycemic index which means they don’t significantly spike blood sugar levels (8).

Overall, bananas provide essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and plant compounds that offer a range of health benefits. While they are high in carbs, bananas can be part of a healthy diet in moderation.

Healthier Banana Recipes

Want to enjoy the nutrition of bananas in a low carb way? Try these delicious recipes:

Chocolate Chia Banana Pudding

– 2 medium bananas, sliced and frozen
– 1/3 cup full fat coconut milk
– 2 tbsp chia seeds
– 2 tbsp cocoa powder
– 1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Blend frozen bananas, coconut milk, chia seeds, cocoa powder and vanilla until smooth.
2. Pour into a small bowl or jars and refrigerate 1-2 hours until thickened.

This easy chia pudding uses just half a banana for a serving.

Banana Oat Breakfast Cookies

– 1 medium banana, mashed
– 1/2 cup oats
– 2 tbsp peanut butter
– 1 tbsp flaxseed
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, mix mashed banana, oats, peanut butter, flaxseed and cinnamon until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
3. Scoop cookie dough onto baking sheet in heaping tablespoon sizes. Press down lightly.
4. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Cool before serving.

These breakfast cookies provide the nutrient benefits of banana in a delicious grab-and-go snack.

Should You Avoid Bananas on Keto?

The ketogenic or “keto” diet typically limits carbs to just 20-50 grams of net carbs per day to achieve a state of ketosis for fat burning.

Even a small serving of banana would exceed the daily carb limit on keto, so bananas should be avoided or only eaten in tiny portions occasionally.

Some downsides of adding bananas on keto include:

  • A medium banana would use up almost your entire day’s carb allowance.
  • Bananas are nearly 100% net carbs without fiber or protein to balance blood sugar.
  • The sugar in bananas may trigger hunger or cravings, making the diet harder to stick to.
  • Bananas could quickly knock you out of a fat-burning state of ketosis.

Additionally, the benefits of bananas can be obtained from lower carbohydrate foods on keto like avocado, spinach, nuts, seeds and berries.

If you decide to occasionally work a small serving of banana into your keto diet, stick to a thumb-size portion and account for the carbs. Also include something fatty like nut butter to help slow absorption. But for most people on keto, it’s best avoid bananas altogether.

The Bottom Line

So what’s the final verdict on banana carbs? Here are some key takeaways:

  • One medium 7-8 inch banana contains about 27 grams total carbs and 23 grams net carbs.
  • Smaller or underripe bananas are lowest in carbs, while bigger and fully ripe bananas have the most carbs.
  • Bananas are one of the highest carb fruits, but can fit into low carb diets occasionally in moderation.
  • Bananas should be limited or avoided on keto and very low carb diets under 50 grams daily.
  • Bananas provide many nutrients like potassium, vitamin B6, fiber and magnesium.
  • Eating banana in recipes, smaller portions or when less ripe can reduce the carb impact.

While bananas are high in carbs, they can be enjoyed in moderation on some carb-controlled diets and offer great nutritional benefits. Be mindful of portion sizes and enjoy bananas as part of an overall healthy diet.

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