Are Bananas Keto-Friendly? How Many Carbs In Banana?

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So many people who are just starting a Keto Diet ask us, “Are Bananas Keto-Friendly?” because we’ve all been raised with conventional nutritional wisdom that told us that eating fruit was not only important but essential to a healthy diet.  I did all the research, and now let’s get to the bottom of this question.

Bananas are not keto-friendly. One medium banana has 21 net grams of carbohydrates and is simply too high in carbs to be part of a Ketogenic Diet.

While you could eat one banana a day and stay keto by making sure that all your other food is pure fat or pure protein, that’s not very feasible. Best to leave the bananas off your ketogenic menu.

Now lets dig into why modern bananas have more carbs than those that our great grandparents ate.

Keto ProTip – Technically, any food that fits into your daily carb limit is keto friendly.  { Here is an article I wrote “What Does Keto Friendly Mean? >> }

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How Many Carbs Are In A Banana?

Conventional nutritional wisdom has led us to believe that all fruits are healthy and highly desirable.

While there are some wonderful vitamins and minerals to be found in some fruits, you can get all of them from other sources, like vegetables, meat and seafood.

What you get in bananas that you won’t find in these other nutritious choices is a boatload of sugar.

One medium banana has 21 grams of sugars! Even though it is natural sugar, it’s still sugar. Sugar is no allowed on a ketogenic diet.

Yes, the sugars in bananas are “natural sugars”, meaning that they are naturally occurring sugars in the banana and they don’t come from added refined sugar.

First of all, whether the sugar is naturally occurring or added in processing, it will elicit a glucose response in your body and raise your insulin level. Chronically high insulin is at the heart of many of our chronic, debilitating diseases, and it’s what we’re trying to avoid by eating a ketogenic diet.

Have Bananas Gotten Sweeter?

Humans started domesticating bananas around 5000 BCE, and at that time there were numerous varieties of bananas of different colors, textures, and sizes. They all had lots of large seeds (bananas are actually a berry!) and were not sweet or at best only slightly sweet.

Farmers gradually selected bananas for smaller seeds and a much sweeter flavor. By 1836, the modern banana was cultivated. It’s been so changed from its original wild ancestor is can no longer reproduce from its own seeds and bears little physical or taste resemblance to its fore-bearer.

Modern bananas aren’t good for monkeys any more!

Zoos already recognize that modern bananas are too sweet.

Monkeys that regularly consume modern bananas have high rates of obesity, diabetes, and arthritis.

While the monkeys might like the sweet flavor, the high sugar load they deliver compared to their wild counterparts make the monkeys fat and sick. 

Sounds familiar?

Because the sugar in bananas was making the monkey’s fat and sick, some zoos have stopped feeding monkeys bananas

I applaud the zookeepers who recognize that foods fed to their charges that are not appropriate for their bodies cause harm. It’s even better that the zookeepers were proactive and removed the offending food from the monkeys’ diet in order to improve their health!

What boggles my mind is that we can’t see the exact same phenomenon going on in American human culture.

Yes, we might enjoy the sweet flavor of bananas. But that doesn’t mean that high sugar foods are good for us.

In fact, our sugar-heavy diet is making us fat and sick just like the monkies in the zoo.

Keto-friendly foods that are low in sugar and high in nutrients are much more suited for humans and promote health.

Are Bananas Keto Friendly? 

With 21 net grams of carbs in a single banana, bananas are not keto-friendly and should not be allowed on keto.

All modern fruit has been selected for size and sweetness.

All fruits that humans have domesticated have undergone the same process. A fruit starts out small and not sweet or only slightly sweet. Over time, they get bred and selected for larger size and higher sugar content. Coincidentally, this usually results in lower micronutrient content!

This is why most fruits are best avoided or consumed in strict moderation when on a ketogenic diet. The most keto-friendly fruits are berries: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries. Even these bear little resemblance to their wild counterparts, but they have managed to avoid the excessive selection for sugar content of other popular fruits.

The Most Keto Friendly Fruits

You can enjoy ½ cup of raw raspberries for only 3.5 g net carbs. Or ½ cup of halved strawberries has 4.5 g net carbs; ½ cup blackberries has 3 g net carbs; ½ cup blueberries come in the highest at 8.5 g net carbs.

And it’s not just sugar. Grains, too!

All domesticated plants have been changed by human selection and breeding. Fruits aren’t the only plants to have seen a skyrocket in the amount of sugar and size.

Grains have some of the scariest changes. While we have selected and even genetically modified grains to increase size and production, along with sugar content, where we really get into trouble is in the processing afterwards.

The sugar that can be extracted from grains can then be refined and processed into syrups and other concentrated sweeteners. The sugar from corn is refined and concentrated into corn syrup and then refined again into high fructose corn syrup.

How many times can we double down on sugar intake before we recognize the harm we are doing to ourselves?


P.S. If you are a keto diet newbie and are really confused about what you can and can’t eat on keto, you are not alone. I wrote my No Cook Keto Meal Plan for people just like you. This stupid easy keto meal plan takes all the guesswork out of keto. It’s just for the first three weeks of keto, while you lose some pounds and learn the basics of the diet. { Click here to see No Cook Keto >>> }

~ Angela

Disclaimer: While I have been keto for over a decade and have guided thousands of people through starting a keto diet, I am neither a licensed nutritionist nor a medical professional. I never prescribe diets.  I only share my personal experiences and those of my clients for informational purposes only.  Nutrition details are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be considered medical nutritional data. You should consult your medical professional before making any major changes in the way you eat.

Angela Davis

I'm Angela Davis, Co-Founder of Advantage Meals. I have a Bachelors in Anthropology and Masters in Holistic Nutrition. My passion is Ancestral Nutrition and for over a decade I've been helping Keto Diet beginners and those looking for their Primal Diet. "There is no one right way." Below are the most recent articles I've written for

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