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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 Elimination. But there is a bit more to it than that. Ripeness, type of banana and portion size count! If you want quick answers, jump down to our chart. Otherwise, let’s dive in.

Are Bananas Low FODMAP Feature Image

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 calls the “common” banana on their smartphone app. FODMAP Friendly simply refers to it as a “fresh banana”.

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.

Lab Testing Bananas For FODMAPs

Monash University has lab tested the “common” banana (Cavendish) and also what they call “sugar” bananas.

FODMAP Friendly has also lab tested two kinds, which they call “Fresh” (their equivalent to the common Cavendish) and Sugar Lady Fingers (equivalent to Monash’s “sugar” bananas).

In other words, both Monash and FODMAP Friendly have lab tested the same two types of bananas: Cavendish and Sugar Bananas (also called Lady Finger Bananas. I have only seen them called Sugar Lady Finger bananas within the FODMAP Friendly universe). 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.

Unfortunately, Monash mixes up terminology on their app. They use “ripe” and “unripe” for the common banana and “firm” and “ripe” to describe the sugar bananas.

FODMAP Friendly uses the terms “firm” and “ripe”.

Let’s get into what these terms mean.

What Do Unripe & Ripe Bananas Look Like?

In general, within the produce industry:

  • An unripe banana will still have green showing on the skin.

Bunch of unripe bananas showing green on the skin

  • A ripe banana will have no green and will gave a consistent yellow color. The ones below are 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

  • Very ripe bananas will have many black spots, appear softer and the fragrance will be more pronounced.

ripe banana with black spots

Unfortunately, on the FODMAP Friendly app, the “firm” and the “ripe” common bananas both look the same in their images: golden yellow overall. Their Sugar Lady Finger Bananas are not specified as “ripe” or “unripe”, but the image shows ripe bananas with a few black spots, hence their placement on our chart as “ripe”.

Here Is How We Suggest You Assess Bananas

  • Unripe Banana: Consider a banana with any 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.

The types and ripeness level of bananas below that are highlighted are the ones that you can enjoy while on the low FODMAP diet. Watch the portions!

 

FODMAP Content of Lab Tested Bananas

Chart of FODMAP Content of Bananas

 

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.

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.

What is interesting is that the FODMAPs in the Cavendish banana and the sugar bananas are NOT the same according to Monash University.

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

FODMAP Friendly lab tests reported different findings. Their tests state that sugar bananas are high for fructans and contain 0% fructose.

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

The Takeaway

You can enjoy different types of bananas and 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 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.

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:

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

 

Toucan's enjoying bananas

 

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