Are Bananas Keto-Friendly?

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Written by Brenda Peralta, Registered Dietitian and medically reviewed by Abby Courtenay

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Starting a ketogenic diet can be confusing initially, especially when it comes to which foods you should be avoiding. While there are some carb sources that you do need to eliminate, it doesn’t mean that you need to eliminate all fruits just because they are a carb source.

So, what about this classic fruit that comes with its own natural packaging? Are bananas keto-friendly? In this article, you will learn everything related to bananas and a low-carb meal plan. We will cover how many carbs they have and how much you can eat without getting knocked out of ketosis. 

 

What are bananas?

Bananas are a common tropical fruit grown on trees. They have the advantage that they can be eaten fresh, mashed, in baked goods, or in pies. While it is a common tropical food, it is often used in several dishes worldwide. 

There are different types of bananas:

  • Bananas. This is the classic type of fruit that you commonly eat. Yellow on the outside and sweet on the inside. 
  • Plantain. They are a larger and starchier version. Green plantains tend to be less sweet, while ripe plantain tends to be sweeter. 
  • Red banana. They are shorter and have red outer skin. They are creamier and sweeter compared to regular bananas. 
  • Lady fingers. They are thinner and shorter than the regular fruit. They are sweeter, which makes them great for dessert. 

 

Bananas nutrition facts 

Bananas are known for their high potassium content. This helps reduce muscle cramps and decrease blood pressure (meaning that it is ideal for those people with high blood pressure). 

They are also a good source of vitamin C, vitamins from the B complex, and magnesium. 

But, let’s talk about carbs. How many carbs are in a banana?

Serving size: 1 large fruit (136 g)

  • Calories: 121
  • Fat: 0.5 g
  • Net carbs: 24.4 g
  • Total carbs: 27.5 g
  • Fiber: 3.5 g
  • Protein: 1.5 g

This tropical fruit is very high in carbs. Since they are not very high in fiber, it still gives you a high net carb content. One fruit contains 27.5 grams of net carbs, which is a lot for someone trying to cut down on carbohydrates. 

 

JUMPSTART YOUR KETO GOALS

 

Can you eat bananas on keto?

No, bananas are not keto-friendly. 

They are high in carbs, which could force you out of ketosis. While they are packed with nutrients, bananas are not good for a low-carb lifestyle. 

There is a difference between green and ripe bananas. Green bananas tend to be higher in resistant starch (a type of fermentable fiber). On the other hand, since they lose their fiber when they ripen, the ripe fruits are higher in sugars and lower in fiber. 

Thus, if you are thinking of including one, you might go with the green version. However, keep in mind that they will still be high in carbs. 

 

How many bananas can you have on a keto diet?

It is not recommended to eat bananas on keto. It is difficult to eat a portion small enough to be low in carbohydrates. 

For example, for most people on a ketogenic diet, who are eating 25-50 g of net carbs per day, eating even one extra small banana (81 g) could represent more than half of your daily carbs.
 
If you really want to include it, a recommended portion would be ¼ of an extra small banana (4 g of carbs). 

If you just want the taste of the banana and keep it to ¼ extra small fruit per day, you can include it in your ketogenic diet. 

 

What kind of bananas can you have on keto?

While there are different types of bananas, they all have similar nutritional content. If you are on a ketogenic diet, you need to be careful with the amount. However, some preparations that use this tropical fruit are possible.

Think about the serving size. If you use 1 fruit for the whole recipe, and that gives you several servings, one serving of the finished recipe could still be low in carbs.
Here is a list of all those tasty recipes that you can use when doing a ketogenic diet. 

  • Bread. Whether you use coconut or almond flour, making banana bread could be ketogenic if you choose the right ingredients.
  • Muffins. It is another good way of getting the fruit flavor without having to increase your carb content a lot. It can also be used as a healthy breakfast. A tip I often give if you are making it into breakfast, add some protein powder to increase the protein content.
  • Pancakes. You don’t have to eliminate banana pancakes on a low-carb diet. You can still have them as a tasty breakfast. Just make sure that you use an alternative flour and just a couple of slices of fruit.
  • Banana pudding. You can use bananas to create the perfect pudding and whipping cream. Add some artificial flavoring to increase the potency of the taste without having to add more fruit (and more carbs).
  • Peanut butter smoothie. Adding this tropical fruit to a smoothie can give you enough flavor without having to add too much of it. Add some avocado to help make it creamy. 

 

BUILD YOUR KETO DIET PLAN

 

What can you eat with bananas on keto?

Even though bananas are not keto-friendly, you can still include them in very small portions if you know how to combine all the other ingredients. Adding high-fat foods (coconut flour, almond flour, avocado, or nuts) or protein (Greek yogurt or protein shakes) can help you balance the dish. 

Here is a list of things you can eat with a small amount of this tropical fruit

  • Avocado 
  • Low-carb bread 
  • Keto bagels 
  • Sugar-free ice cream 

Additionally, if you want to make bread, there are different ingredients that you can use to make it with:

  • Sour cream
  • Coconut flour
  • Almond flour 
  • Greek yogurt

 

Keto-friendly banana alternatives

Bananas are very high in carbs and best replaced with other fruits that you can include that are lower in carbs. Try these instead:

Any of these are great options. However, remember that they still have some carbs, which means that you need to control the portion and deduct it from your total carbs throughout the day.
 
For a high-fat replacement, you can add avocados. They will provide you with energy, and the benefit of avocados is that you can add banana flavoring and get a similar replacement for this fruit.

 

FAQ about bananas on a keto diet

I’ve got you covered if you are still wondering about this tropical fruit and a ketogenic diet! Here are the most frequently asked questions related to this tasty fruit. 

This fruit is very high in carbs, which makes them not keto-friendly.

If you can control the portion size (around ¼ extra small fruit), you can include them, but if you cannot restrict yourself, it’s not the best food to add on a ketogenic diet. 

Since this fruit is high in carbs, it’s best avoided on a low-carb diet.

However, you can eat a very small amount and combine it with high-fat food. That way, it balances out the dish. So, for example, you can make banana keto bread, a protein smoothie, or banana keto muffins. 

This fruit is not usually allowed on keto. But, if you only eat a small amount of it, you can try adding it to certain keto recipes. Here is a list of the most common treats you can make:

  • Almond flour banana keto bread
  • Keto banana pudding
  • Banana ketogenic muffins
  • Chocolate banana brownies 

No, it won’t ruin your ketosis as long as you control the portion size. If you manage to keep your carb intake during the day low, you will remain in ketosis. However, if you don’t keep track of your carbs, you can easily ruin your progress. 1 large banana has 24.4 grams of net carbs.

Half of a large banana has 12.2 grams of net carbs. This is still a lot for most people on keto, who want to keep their net carbs limited to 25-50 grams per day.

A banana is very high in carbs. For most people on the classic ketogenic diet, this means it can keep you out of ketosis.

However, if you are keto cycling (you increase your intake of carbohydrates on some days), you may be able to include this fruit on your high carb days.

If you are not keto cycling, try adding MCT oil to a pre-workout smoothie or shake for fast energy.