Are bananas keto-friendly?
If you’ve recently started a keto diet, you may be curious about bananas. How many carbs are in everyone’s favorite yellow fruit? And can you eat bananas on a low-carb diet?
Bananas are high in carbs and sugar, and whole bananas won’t fit into most ketogenic diets.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy eating bananas on keto! There are several ways to incorporate banana into low-carb food.
Here’s a look at the nutrition facts of bananas, banana calories, low-carb banana substitutes, and how you can eat bananas on a keto diet.
A medium banana contains:
- 0g fat
- 27g total carbohydrates
- 3g dietary fiber
- 24 net carbs
- 14g sugar
- 1g protein
Bananas are almost entirely carbs, including a fair amount of sugar.
On a keto diet, you need to eat fewer than 50 grams of carbs a day to keep your body in fat-burning mode.
With 27 grams of carbohydrates, 14 grams of sugar, and only three grams of fiber, bananas are likely to spike your blood sugar levels and kick you out of ketosis. As such, they don’t fit too well into a keto or low-carb diet.
Bananas may not be keto-friendly, but they do have quite a few vitamins and minerals. One medium banana contains:
- 9% daily value (DV) potassium
- 31% DV vitamin B6
- 11% DV vitamin C
- 8% DV magnesium
- 10% DV manganese
- 1% DV vitamin A
Bananas have high potassium content and plenty of vitamin B6, and they can be good for you if your diet allows for higher carb intake.
But if you’re on a low-carb diet, you can get these vitamins and minerals from other fresh fruits and veggies.
Popular fruits and veggies with similar nutritional profiles (but far fewer carbs) include:
- Cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage)
If you want to eat banana on a low-carb or keto diet, you have a few options.
Use Natural Banana Extract
Natural banana extract is made from real bananas. It provides authentic banana flavor without the carbs or sugar, and you can use it in a variety of recipes.
Try adding banana extract to:
- Keto ice cream
- Keto collagen chocolate smoothie
- Silky keto chocolate cream pie
- Strawberry cream cheese fat bombs
A little bit of banana extract goes a long way, so start with 1/4 teaspoon, taste, and adjust as you need.
Also, make sure you get the natural stuff. Artificial banana extract has an off-putting taste and contains questionable ingredients.
Make Keto Banana Bread
Bananas may not be keto on their own, but that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate them into keto recipes.
This keto banana bread uses both banana extract and real bananas to create a moist, delicious banana bread that’s low in carbs.
You can use this recipe to make banana muffins as well. Try adding sugar-free dark chocolate chips for extra decadence.
Try Green Bananas
Green bananas are normal yellow bananas that haven’t yet ripened.
Where ripe bananas are only about 1% starch, green bananas are 70-80% starch by weight[*]. Most of it is resistant starch — an indigestible type of starch that acts like dietary fiber.
Green bananas are lower in carbs than ripe bananas, but it can be hard to gauge their exact carb count. They’re also less sweet and more astringent. Use them sparingly to make sure you don’t eat too many carbs.
Bananas add sweetness, moisture, and tropical flavor to food. If you want a keto substitute that mimics banana, you have a few choices.
Avocado with Banana Extract
Avocados are a surprisingly good substitute for banana. A ripe avocado has a similar texture and moisture content to a ripe banana.
Replace a medium banana with 1/3 of an avocado, plus 1/4 teaspoon of natural banana extract.
Chia Seeds with Banana Extract
Soaked chia seeds take on a gelatinous texture that works well as a banana substitute.
As a rule of thumb, use one part chia seeds to four parts water (for example, 1/4 cup chia seeds and one cup water). Soak the seeds for about 20 minutes, until they take on a texture similar to tapioca.
Mix in 1/4 teaspoon of banana extract, then use the mixture as a 1:1 substitution for banana (for example, 1/2 cup chia seed mixture replaces 1/2 cup banana).
Whole bananas are high in carbs and sugar, and you’ll struggle to fit them into a ketogenic diet.
However, you have quite a few options when it comes to low-carb banana substitutes or keto recipes that incorporate banana while keeping the carb count down.
Banana extract is an excellent way to impart banana flavor, and you can use avocados or chia seeds in place of bananas to make recipes more keto-friendly.
Looking for good keto recipes? Our keto recipe archive has hundreds of delicious low-carb recipes to keep your keto diet interesting.