Consumer Reports: Are bananas healthy for you?

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Bananas are among the most popular fruits in the world, but some people put them on the 'Do Not Eat' list because they're high in sugar and carbohydrates.

Many diet plans tell people not to eat bananas because they can spike your blood sugar. However, nutrition experts at Consumer Reports say bananas have more pros than cons.

Christian Yanez thinks bananas are one of nature's handiest snacks.

"He loves bananas. He eats it as a snack, sometimes after school or in the mornings with his breakfast," said his mom, Veronica Yanez.

They transport easily, are in their own packaging, open in a snap and taste sweet. But some people worry about the amount of sugars and carbs.

One large banana has about 120 calories and 17 grams of natural sugars - that's more than double what you'd get in a cup of strawberry slices, which has 53 calories and about 8 grams of sugar.

Which begs the question: Are bananas really healthy?

"Compared to some other fruits, it's true - bananas can be higher in sugars. But it's far less than what you would get in a soda or a candy bar. And even a nutritionist will tell you, it's unlikely you're going to get fat or develop diabetes from eating a banana," said Julia Calderone, Consumer Reports Health Editor.

Keep in mind, too, some of the carbohydrates in bananas come in the form of dietary fiber - 3 and a half grams in each large banana, which is about 15 percent of the amount you need every day.

Eat green bananas and you get an added bonus: Resistant starch.

"Resistant starch isn't easily digested and so it can help to reduce blood sugar levels," said Calderone.

Bananas are also rich in vitamins like B6 and C, and a bunch of nutrients, including potassium, which can help promote heart health.

So go ahead -- give in to the appeal.

But Consumer Reports does remind parents be mindful of kids eating a banana before bedtime.

It's a sticky fruit and the sugars can stick to the teeth and increase the chance for cavities.

Also, if you combine a banana with some protein, such as eggs or peanut butter, that will help off-set some of the effects of the sugar.

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