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Are Bananas Low FODMAP?

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We bet you want to know, Are Bananas Low FODMAP? We will tell you straight away that you can have bananas on the low FODMAP diet, even during the Elimination Phase. But there is a bit more to it than that. Ripeness, type of banana and portion size count! We will show you how you can keep irritable bowel symptoms (IBS) at bay, while still enjoying this popular fruit.

If you want quick answers, jump down to our chart. Otherwise, let’s dive in.

Are Bananas Low FODMAP Feature Image

Testing Testing 1, 2, 3

Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have both lab tested and re-tested bananas. Our handy chart farther down in the article presents initial lab test findings, as well as current. All these lab tests are accurate for the fruits tested at that time. And remember, the bananas you eat will be different from any of those tested – harvested from different countries and farms, in various states of ripeness, stored and handled differently, etc.

Please review our articles, Monash University Lab Testing Explained and FODMAP Friendly Lab Testing Explained. You can use any of the lab tested results as a place to begin your exploration of banana FODMAP content, and how your digestion handles them.

This article will be of interest as well: When Monash University and FODMAP Friendly Low FODMAP Lab Test Results Differ.

Types Of Bananas

There are over 1000 different types of bananas, but the Cavendish banana is the typical banana that you find in U.S. stores (and elsewhere) and is equivalent to what Monash and FODMAP Friendly refer to it as the “common” banana on their smartphone apps.

The Cavendish accounts for 47% of global banana production, which is equal to about 50 billion tonnes. The Cavendish has gained its popularity due to its disease resistance and the fact that it travels well.

We are only going to concern ourselves with the types of bananas that have been lab tested for FODMAPs by Monash University and FODMAP Friendly.

bananas at a rural market
Bananas at a rural market. If you have the opportunity to taste super-fresh bananas you are in for a treat. The banana flavor will be brighter and more potent than supermarket bananas you have had.

Choose Your Banana

Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have lab tested the “common” banana (Cavendish) and also what they call “sugar” bananas. Their apps previously referred to these bananas as “lady”, and “finger” and “sugar” and combinations of these words; the chart below reflects that. FODMAP Friendly recently updated their app language and now everyone is using same terminology – “sugar” and “common”. They are both cultivars of Musa acuminate.

Banana Ripeness Terminology

You, like me, probably refer to bananas as “ripe” and “unripe” and if you are a baker, perhaps “very ripe” is part of your banana banter. There is, of course, a range within each description, color wise, which we will get to in a moment.

Monash currently uses “ripe” and “firm terminology on their app.

FODMAP Friendly uses the terms “firm”, “fresh”, “ripe” and “unripe/green”.

Let’s get into what these terms mean.

What Do Unripe & Ripe Bananas Look Like?

In general, within the produce industry:

  • Green bananas, which are quite unripe, will look like these green ones below. One of the things I love about this image is that it shows, quite dramatically, how a bunch of bananas can hold bananas of wildly different ripeness points.
green bananas
These are green unripe bananas – except that one would be considered on its way to ripeness!

  • An unripe banana will still have green showing on the skin (you can see near the top of the banana), as shown below. Some laypeople consider this “ripe”, but the industry does not. We do not know how Monash and FODMAP Friendly are using banana terminology. All we can do is go by their images, which sometimes have proven not to match their actual entries.
Bunch of unripe bananas showing green on the skin
The banana industry considered bananas with any green to be unripe.
  • A ripe banana will have no green and will gave a consistent yellow color. The ones below are ripe and beginning to show black spots.
Bunch of ripe bananas showing an even yellow color and no green at all. Black spots beginning to appear copy
Ripe bananas will show no green whatsoever.
  • Very ripe bananas will have many black spots, appear softer and the fragrance will be more pronounced.
ripe banana with black spots
Bananas with black spots are very ripe. If you are baking you want them at least as ripe as these shown above and even more black would be better.

Here Is How We Suggest You Assess Bananas

  • Anything called “Green” should be predominantly green; no yellow, no black.
  • Unripe Banana: Consider a yellow-ish banana with any tinges of green showing on the skin at all to be unripe
  • Ripe Banana: If the banana has no green on the skin at all, it is ripe.

As far as we know, no one has tested super ripe bananas with a large portion of black skin. We treat these as “ripe” in our recipe development – as in our banana bread, muffins and cakes.

How Much Banana Can I Eat?

The types and ripeness level of bananas below are what have been lab tested. Use these amounts as guides; the bananas you eat will be different from those tested.

Please note that the FODMAP Friendly app now has a feature called “Can I Have More”? This is where you will find the “Max Serve” recommendation that is still low FODMAP. You will see this represented in the chart, where that information was given.

Conflicting Lab Test Results

As with any fresh produce, lab testing can yield different results depending on what is tested at any particular time. Both Monash and FODMAP Friendly have re-tested bananas and we have represented all of their findings in the chart below; we have included all available information. You can use any for your starting point.

FODMAP Content & Serving Sizes of Lab Tested Bananas

Cavendish/Common Banana - Unripe/FirmCavendish/Common Banana - RipeSugar Bananas - Green/UnripeSugar Bananas - FirmSugar Bananas - Ripe/Fresh
Monash UniversityMedium, firm banana, 100 g is low FODMAP⅓ medium, ripe banana or 35 g is low FODMAPNot tested1 medium, firm banana 112 g is rec. serving size; No FODMAPs detected/Trace detected in subsequent tests½ medium ripe banana or 56 g is low FODMAP/1 medium ripe or 112 g in subsequent tests
FODMAP FriendlyLarge firm banana, 150 g “Pass”/Max serve 600 gLarge ripe banana, 150 g “Fail”/44 g is low FODMAPMedium banana, 100 g "Pass"/Max serve 100 gNot tested100 g “Fail”/71 g is low FODMAP

What Is Banana Flour?

Did you know that there is such a thing as banana flour? It is sometimes referred to as “green banana flour” as it is made from unripe, starchy bananas.

Monash University has lab tested it and a low FODMAP serving is 2/3 cup or 100g.

It is an interesting flour to work with and it acts very differently from other gluten-free, non-wheat flours. If you want to use it I suggest following recipes that were developed specifically for it.

And We Have Banana Chips!

Banana chips have been lab tested by both Monash University and FODMAP Friendly.

banana chips on dark surface

Monash University reports a Green Light low FODMAP serving size of 15 chips or 30 g.

FODMAP Friendly gives banana chips a “Pass” at ½ cup or 40 g.

We do take some exception to the terminology. Both Monash and FODMAP Friendly refer to these as “Banana chips, dried” and “Dried Banana/Banana Chips” but the image shows what we call “chips” in the U.S. In our markets, and elsewhere around the world, dried bananas are different; they are softer and not super dry and crunchy like chips. Below is an image of a dried banana product.

Monash University also has a lab tested and certified product: bare Strawberry Banana Chips.

Bananas & Gut Health

Bananas can be part of a nutritious diet. They are considered a healthy form of carbs as well as providing B6, vitamin C, potassium and fiber. In a green, unripe state, they are excellent source of resistant starch. Resistant starch is a type of carbohydrate that is not digested in the small intestine (also found in beans, legumes, oats, cooked potatoes, and grains like rice, to name a few). Instead, resistant starch ferments in your large intestine and feeds beneficial gut bacteria.

Those of us following a low FODMAP diet have to strike a balance between keeping our gut healthy and triggering IBS symptoms. Fermentation of food in the large intestine can create bloating and gas. The amount of banana that we can eat, without triggering symptoms, will vary greatly, person to person.

Types Of FODMAPs In Bananas

From an organizational perspective, this section should have been up higher in the article, but I didn’t want you to overly obsess. I have included it though, because it supports what is very important to remember – and what so many people overlook – and that is that FODMAP content of fresh fruits and vegetables hugely varies, from farm to farm, batch to batch, variety to variety, and microclimate to microclimate, to name a few variables.

FODMAP content of fresh fruits and vegetables hugely varies, from farm to farm, batch to batch, variety to variety, and microclimate to microclimate, to name a few variables.

Initial Lab Tests Showed Different FODMAPs

In initial lab testing the FODMAPs in the Cavendish banana and the sugar bananas were NOT the same according to Monash University.

According to Monash researchers, “ripe” sugar bananas were high for fructose, but larger amounts of “unripe” common bananas and “ripe” common bananas were high for fructans.

I have confirmed with Monash that their initial lab tests indeed reported different FODMAPs in the different banana types.

FODMAP Friendly lab tests reported different findings. Their tests stated that sugar bananas were high for fructans and contained 0% fructose.

In recent lab tests, Monash University results show fructans, when FODMAPs are present, for all the bananas they tested.

FODMAP Friendly showed fructans and GOS (sometimes referred to as oligos-fructans) in firm common bananas; and a predominance of fructans for ripe common bananas, with a small amount of polyols (specifically sorbitol and mannitol). “Fresh” just ripe sugar bananas showed fructans with a very small amount of GOS and sorbitol; green sugar bananas showed no FODMAPs.

If this is making your head spin, don’t let it! It just reinforces that fresh produce can vary wildly and that your tolerance to foods is what is important, not what a lab test says from a few years ago or just last week. Because, who knows what the lab tests would say next month?

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Bananas OK If I Have IBS?

Bananas can be high in certain FODMAPs. If you are sensitive to those FODMAPs, and/or if you eat a large quantity of bananas, they can trigger IBS symptoms.

Are Bananas An IBS Trigger Food?

Everyone’s trigger foods are different – and also serving sizes of foods can have different affects on different people. Conducting a structured Elimination Phase and Challenge Phase of the low FODMAP diet is the best way to assess your personal triggers.

What Are Fructans?

Fructans are a type of FODMAP. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. Fructans are found in bananas (more in ripe bananas) as well as in onions, rye, garlic, lentils, some cabbage, asparagus, to name a few foods. Fructans can trigger IBS symptoms.

Can Bananas Trigger Diarrhea?

When it comes to discussing bananas and diarrhea, perhaps you have heard that since bananas are a rich source of potassium, they are often suggested as a food to eat when one has diarrhea. They help replace electrolytes lost due to frequent loose stools. Unripe bananas can also be very binding and help with tightening stools.

Are Bananas Good If I Am Constipated?

Ripe bananas contain soluble fiber, which can help with constipation. Speaking of fruit, our dietitians often suggest 2 kiwi per day to help with constipation!

Are Bananas Low or High FODMAP?

Bananas are both low FODMAP and high FODMAP depending on the type of banana, level of ripeness and quantity ingested. A third of a medium banana is not the same as a third of a large banana. Please go by the weights presented in the Monash University and FODMAP Friendly smartphone apps.

Are Frozen Bananas Low FODMAP?

Frozen bananas should be treated as fresh from a FODMAP perspective.

Are Cooked Bananas Low FODMAP?

Cooked bananas should be treated as fresh from a FODMAP perspective.

Are Lady Finger Bananas Low FODMAP?

Over the years both Monash and FODMAP Friendly have altered their terminology and have referred to the smaller “sugar” bananas as “lady”, “lady finger”, “sugar bananas” and combinations of these terms. Please refer to our chart for more info.

Are Ripe Bananas Low FODMAP?

There are low FODMAP amounts of ripe bananas, although they are higher in FODMAP content than unripe/green bananas. Please refer to our chart. Portion size counts! Instead of trying to assess what is a medium size banana or a large banana, we suggest you go by the weights.

Are Unripe Bananas Low FODMAP?

There are low FODMAP amounts of unripe and/or green bananas, and they are lower in FODMAP content than ripe bananas. Please refer to our chart.

How Do You Make Banana Ice Cream?

There are many ways to make banana ice cream, but one popular way, which is lactose-free, is to freeze peeled ripe bananas and then blend them in a blender or food processor until they have the texture of soft-serve ice cream. They are 100% banana and you can use our chart to determine serving size. No dairy products or sweeteners needed!

The Takeaway

You can enjoy different types of bananas, in various degrees of ripeness, even during Elimination. We believe that the reason so many people think bananas are a “no go” is because they end up on High FODMAP food lists and those lists do not take serving size into consideration.

Also, if using the Monash app, you have to know how to use it correctly. Ripe common bananas have a big Red Light next to them indicating a high FODMAP level, BUT, as always, you must click through the app entry to fully see that there are Green Light low FODMAP serving sizes.

Take a look at our article High FODMAP Foods With Low FODMAP Serving Sizes for more info.

If the information here feels overwhelming, take a moment to take a deep breath and remember this: lab tests for fresh produce are always going to vary. The bananas you eat will be different from those tested. What is important is how you digest bananas, and that could change depending on the batch of bananas that you buy this week vs. next, and also, your tolerance can, and most likely will, change over time.

Serving sizes can make a huge difference. Start with small amounts and progress from there. Remember, the goal of the low FODMAP diet is to eat as broadly as possible without triggering symptoms. We are here to help you learn what carbohydrates work with your unique digestive system.

Enjoy Bananas In Our Low FODMAP Recipes

Here are some banana recipes for you to enjoy. All of the serving sizes for these recipes feature a lab tested and certified amount of bananas:

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins held in hand.
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
chocolate coconut banana bread on a wooden cutting board, with slices and knife alongside
Low FODMAP Banana Coconut Oat Breakfast Cookies in hand
Breakfast Cookies

Check out this article: 23 Indulgent Low FODMAP Recipes Using Bananas!

horizontal image of low FODMAP Salted Caramel Banana Cake on white pedestal

These toucans like their bananas! You can have some too!

Toucan's enjoying bananas

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