Sugar can get a little confusing. Can you explain what the difference is between a banana and a croissant? I’ve been self teaching myself for a while now, and still sometimes I find it hard to explain quickly and painlessly the differences between various foodstuffs.
If you aren’t clear what the difference is between our yellow friend and the French speciality, then read on for where I’ve come to on these two…
- A banana and a croissant are made up of different types of sugar that are metabolised differently by the body
- A banana contains some fructose (in fact, quite a lot compared to other fruits).
- Fructose is the thing that makes things taste sweet. Table sugar and all similar ‘added sugar’ is about 50% fructose. If you’re tasting sweet, it’s probably fructose in some form.
- Too much fructose is dangerous for the body but we can tolerate small amounts i.e. a few portions of fruit a day
- A croissant doesn’t contain fructose, therefore it doesn’t taste sweet but it is a very refined source of glucose (also a sugar but not the sweet tasting one)
- Refined glucose like this is quickly absorbed into the blood stream and spikes your blood sugar and insulin release, potentially leading to a later ‘crash’ (not good)
- A banana on it’s own has a highish glycemic index and so will covert into blood sugar relatively quickly
- A banana is natural, has fibre (which slows down sugar absorption), potassium and other useful nutrients for the body
- A croissant is processed and has nada
Easier? Clearer? Hmm maybe not. There are still too many bullets there than I wanted to write.
Ideally you want to be eating a healthy meal or snack balanced with protein and fat which neither a banana or croissant on their own provides. However, if you were on a desert island with only these two options, a banana obviously is going to be the all round healthier choice.
If you are trying to get a handle on your sugar habits and know you’ve already eaten fruits or fructose during the day, it’s possible the banana could take you over the ideal fructose amount. I feel it’s important to be aware of this, because fructose is the sweet tasting ‘addictive’ sugar.
I had a guy recently tell me he ate a few bananas a a day and still craved a maple and pecan slice…err way too much fructose dude!
When I was carefully watching my sugar in order to get off the sweet stuff and lesser my cravings, I was wary of bananas for a period of time. There are lots of other lower fructose fruits you can have as an alternative – berries, satsumas etc. As a result, my tastebuds have adjusted to fructose and when I have the occasional banana, my gosh, it tastes really flipping sweet.
I should also add that ripe bananas contain more fructose than their green tipped friends, so opt for greener ones if you’re on fructose alert.
Hope that helps a little to clear up any confusion. I’ve been thinking about this post for a while, so it’s nice to finally let it out.
Any views on bananas? Do you eat them everyday or just occasionally?