Question:

Does eating two bananas a day make my tummy bigger?  Which one is healthier to snack on at night – a banana or a sweet potato?

– Christina Y.

Answer:

It’s doubtful that a single food is causing an increase in your middle. It’s true that bananas are somewhat more concentrated in sugar (14 grams in a medium banana) than some other fruits, but the effect is insignificant relative to a daily caloric input consisting of 1800-2000 calories. Bananas are such a nutritious food! They have much-needed potassium (12% Recommended Daily Allowance or “RDA”) that helps to counter the negative effects of sodium intake. Bananas also have a good amount of fiber (3 grams), vitamins B6 (22% for men, 32% for women) and C (17% RDA), as well as the minerals manganese, biotin, and copper. The issue may be the extra calories if you’re consuming two very large bananas, as they will have about 135 calories each. If you don’t burn off the second banana, it would add 135 calories to your consumption daily.

Which Fruits Contain the Most Sugar?

In a nutrition battle between a banana and sweet potato, the sweet potato would come out ahead. A baked sweet potato has the same calories per gram as a banana, yet has one gram more fiber and five grams less sugar per medium serving. A sweet potato has more calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, vitamins C and E than a banana; however, a sweet potato does have more sodium. Also notable is a sweet potato’s vitamin A content, which is nearly three times that of banana and meets your RDA in one serving! The banana leads the sweet potato only in folate and vitamin K.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

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