Bananas are not considered keto friendly due to their high carbohydrate and sugar content. On average, a medium banana contains around 27 grams of carbs, 14 of which are from sugar. The keto diet typically limits net carbs to 20-50 grams per day, so even one banana could account for over half of your daily carb allowance. There are lower carb fruits that are better choices on keto like berries, avocados, olives and some citrus fruits. While bananas provide nutrients like potassium, fiber, vitamin C, magnesium and manganese, their carb content makes them unsuitable for ketogenic diets.
Banana Nutrition Facts
Here is an overview of the nutrition facts for a medium 7-8 inch banana (118 grams):
|Vitamin C||10 mg|
As you can see, bananas are high in carbs and sugar compared to their other macronutrients. The 27 grams of total carbs includes 14 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber. On the keto diet, you subtract fiber from total carbs to get your net carbs, which would be 24 grams for a medium banana.
Why Bananas Are Restricted on Keto
The ketogenic or “keto” diet is a very low carb, high fat diet that aims to get your body into a state of ketosis for fat burning. Ketosis occurs when your body switches from primarily burning glucose (carbs) for energy to burning fatty acids and ketones instead.
This metabolic state happens when carb intake is drastically reduced, usually to under 50 grams of net carbs per day. On keto, the majority of calories come from dietary fats with moderate protein and minimal carbs.
Bananas are restricted on the keto diet because of their high carb content. Even a medium banana exceeds the daily carb target on keto.
Consuming too many carbs will prevent ketosis by supplying your body with enough glucose for energy. Excess glucose gets stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles instead of ketones being produced in the liver from fat breakdown.
While bananas provide beneficial nutrients, their carbs and sugars are not ideal for achieving or maintaining ketosis. Other fruits like berries, avocados, olives and select citrus fruits can be enjoyed in moderation on keto due to their lower carb content.
Banana Versus Berries
Here’s a comparison of the carb counts in bananas versus some popular low carb berries:
|Fruit (1 cup)||Net Carbs|
As this comparison shows, even though berries contain antioxidants, fiber and vitamins like bananas, they have a fraction of the net carbs per serving.
Berries are considered a keto approved food while bananas are not. You would have to eat about 2.5 cups of raspberries to equal the carbs in one banana, for example. This makes berries and other low glycemic fruits better fruit choices on a ketogenic eating plan.
Impact on Ketosis
Eating a banana on keto would likely knock you out of ketosis, depending on your personal carb tolerance. Some of the signs that ketosis has been disrupted include:
- Rapid weight gain (from water retention)
- Brain fog or low energy
- Increased appetite or cravings
- Low ketone levels
Everyone has a threshold of carbs where they’ll maintain ketosis. This carb tolerance depends on many factors like metabolic health, activity levels, and how long you’ve been keto-adapted.
Consuming too many carbs over your tolerance in one sitting or throughout the day will hinder ketone production. Even if you don’t go over your total daily net carb target, excess carbs from bananas can reduce ketones for several hours.
Ideally on keto, you want sustained higher ketone levels between 1-3 mmol/L. Eating high carb foods makes it difficult to keep ketones in this range. Getting knocked out of ketosis temporarily may not be a major issue if your goal is weight loss. But it can stall progress.
Those following keto for therapeutic reasons like type 2 diabetes, epilepsy or neurological diseases may require a stricter low carb intake under 20-30 grams daily. In these cases, eating bananas would likely prevent ketosis.
Dealing with Potassium on Keto
One of the main concerns with restricting banana intake on keto is getting adequate potassium. Bananas are well known for providing potassium. One medium banana contains 422 mg of potassium – 12% of the recommended daily intake.
When carbs are cut on keto, loss of electrolytes like potassium, sodium and magnesium through increased urination can occur. This causes the “keto flu” symptoms like low energy, brain fog and headaches in the early stages until levels balance back out.
However, there are plenty of other keto foods higher in potassium than bananas that you can eat instead:
- Avocado – 1067 mg potassium per fruit
- Salmon – 534 mg per 3 oz
- Beef – 490 mg per 3 oz
- Chicken – 389 mg per breast
- Spinach – 540 mg per cup
- Kale – 296 mg per cup
- Mushrooms – 316 mg per cup
- Zucchini – 582 mg per cup
- Pumpkin seeds – 506 mg per ounce
In addition, sodium intake and magnesium supplements may help maintain electrolyte balance. Drinking keto-approved electrolyte beverages can also prevent low potassium levels.
With smart keto food choices, you can get all the potassium you need without the carbs and sugar in bananas.
Alternative Low Carb Fruits
While bananas are off limits, you can still enjoy plenty of delicious low carb fruits on keto. Some examples include:
Berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries contain antioxidants and fiber with a low glycemic impact. Measure out 1/2 – 1 cup daily portions.
Rich and creamy avocado provides potassium, vitamins and plant compounds. Half an avocado has around 2 grams net carbs.
This tropical fruit offers a unique sweet-sour flavor and crunchy texture. One starfruit has 3 grams net carbs.
Lime and Lemon
Add zesty flavor and vitamin C to drinks with a squeeze of these citrus fruits. Two wedges of lime or lemon has 1 gram of net carbs.
Both coconut meat and coconut milk are keto approved. Enjoy shredded coconut in recipes or eat coconut chips as a snack.
Green and black olives provide healthy fats and are low carb at only 2-3 grams per serving.
While technically a vegetable, tomatoes are a nice addition for salads and sauces. Cherry tomatoes are the lowest carb at 2 grams per cup.
Overall, there are plenty of keto-friendly fruit options besides bananas that you can work into your low carb diet. Berries and avocados are great replacements that offer several health benefits.
Keto Banana Recipes
While whole bananas are too high in carbs for keto, there are still some recipes that use bananas sparingly as an ingredient. Here are some keto banana recipes that limit carbs:
Keto Banana Pancakes
Made with almond flour, eggs, banana, baking powder and vanilla, this breakfast pancake uses just a quarter of a banana. Top with sugar free maple syrup.
Keto Banana Bread
This bread uses almond flour instead of wheat flour and overripe bananas for natural sweetness. Each serving calculates to around 4g net carbs.
Keto Banana Ice Cream
Ripe, frozen banana makes a creamy base for this single serve dessert. Mix with heavy cream, vanilla and your choice of low carb add-ins.
Keto Chocolate Banana Protein Shake
Blending cocoa powder, banana, peanut butter and protein powder makes a nutritious post-workout drink. Keeps net carbs low at around 5 grams.
Keto Banana Nut Muffins
Each muffin has just 2 grams of net carbs from banana. Paired with almond flour, walnuts and spices for a breakfast treat.
The recipes above prove you can still enjoy bananas occasionally on a keto diet by controlling portions and pairing with low carb ingredients.
Healthier Keto Swaps for Bananas
Here are some ideas for healthier low carb swaps instead of bananas:
- Berry smoothie bowl instead of banana smoothie bowl
- Raspberries on coconut yogurt rather than banana
- Tomatoes or avocado on toast instead of banana
- Nut butter on celery sticks versus banana with nut butter
- Guacamole as a dip with pork rinds rather than banana chips
- Olives and feta wraps instead of banana wraps
- Zucchini muffins or cloud bread for banana bread
- Sliced avocado or coconut chips as a snack over banana
With a little creativity, you can find tasty ways to replace bananas in your favorite recipes and as snack options on the keto diet.
The Bottom Line
Bananas are one of the fruits highest in carbs and sugar – too high to include on a ketogenic diet in normal amounts. Just one medium banana exceeds most daily carb targets for keto.
Eating bananas would provide nutrients like potassium, vitamin C and fiber, but it would also supply enough glucose to reduce ketone levels and likely take you out of ketosis.
Berries, avocados, select citrus fruits and green veggies offer more keto friendly alternatives that provide potassium and other benefits.
While you may need to avoid bananas and banana recipes at first on keto, you may be able to add in a small portion down the road if you are/*; more keto adapted. But for fastest results, avoid bananas until you reach your goals.
With smart food choices, you can follow a ketogenic diet while getting all the nutrients you need for good health, without excess carbs and sugar from fruits like bananas.