Banana chips can be a great healthy snack but you must watch for harmful cooking oils that add unnecessary fats.
Bananas are a very nutritious food with plenty of potassium and fiber offerings benefits to your health. Banana chips are made by frying or dehydrating slices of banana. Both of these processes can deplete nutrients, though, so fresh bananas will always be superior for your health than banana chips.
Most companies choose to fry their banana chips for the sake of saving time. Unfortunately, frying is the unhealthiest option adding roughly 8 grams of saturated fats. While not all saturated fats are bad for you, consuming too much or those from the wrong sources cam be.
Typically, banana chips are fried in sunflower or coconut oil. If you can find the coconut oil varieties, they will be the best and contain a healthy saturated fat. Sunflower oils vary – if a hydrogenated sunflower oil is used it will contain trans fats that can greatly increase your risk of heart disease. Sunflower oil is otherwise an omega 6 fatty acid, necessary for our health, development and brain function. The problem is that the standard American diet is high in omega 6 and low in omega 3 which increases inflammation in the body leading to an increased risk of developing IBS, obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Dehydrating banana chips is a healthier way to go. This method requires no extra oil or seasoning. Slice, dehydrate, eat! The result is nothing other than a dried banana.
When you consume a fresh banana, your body gets roughly 420 milligrams of potassium which can help improve digestion and muscle function, maintain a normal heartbeat, and balance electrolytes. Unfortunately, when you turn that same banana into chips, you only get about a quarter of that amount. The rest is lost to heat and processing.
Fiber is another great benefit in eating bananas. The processing of forming banana chips has a slight impact on fiber content. Where a fresh banana may provide around 3 grams of fiber, a 1-ounce serving of banana chips will drop that amount to about 2 grams. Fiber is important to keep in your diet to lower heart disease and diabetes risk. It also helps keep your digestion and bowels healthy and regular.
Some varieties of banana chips will also include additions like sugar or honey, which you should watch out for. Frying and dehydrating the banana already increases the sweetness, so their additions are just extra calories.
There is, of course, a way to consume banana chips that is downright healthy. Make them at home! You’ll know their exact ingredients, what kind of oil you used and what you added to them if anything. Not the mention they will be fresh and ready to add to oatmeal, salad or eat on their own!
Possible short-term side effects
- allergic reaction
- blood sugar spike
Possible long-term side effects
- heart disease
Ingredients to be aware of
- saturated fats
- hydrogenated oils
- added sugars
- good source of:
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Written by Kristin Brown, DC, MS | 09-14-2016
Written by Kristin Brown, DC, MS
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