Are Bananas High Fructose?

The low FODMAP diet can be a good option for people dealing with fructose malabsorption. However, some people may get more relief by following a low fructose diet, especially if fructose is their only sensitivity. Since guidelines for the low FODMAP diet and the low fructose diet differ, I wanted to look just at the fructose content of common foods. We’ll start with bananas, the most consumed fruit in the United States.1

Bananas are high in fructose, based on published guidelines for a low fructose diet. An extra small banana (less than 6 inches long) has about 5 grams of fructose, while half a cup of sliced banana has 3.6 grams of fructose. Both of these exceed the suggested 3 grams of fructose per serving.

In this post, we’ll look specifically at fructose levels in bananas at different portion sizes. Then we’ll break down the overall sugar content in bananas. While bananas contain similar amounts of glucose and fructose, the fructose content makes bananas difficult to fit into a low fructose diet.

Bunch of ripe, yellow bananas in green bowl

There are many varieties of bananas. The information in this post is for yellow Cavendish bananas, the type most commonly sold in grocery stores in the United States.

How Much Fructose Is in Bananas?

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Fructose content of bananas varies by size. A small banana between 6 and 7 inches long contains about 5 grams of fructose, while a large banana 8 to 9 inches long contains about 6.5 grams of fructose.2 On average, fructose makes up 40% of the total sugar content in bananas.

The following table shows the fructose content of bananas at various sizes. Normal portions are one small or medium banana (depending on length) or one half cup of sliced banana. At these portion sizes, bananas are considered high fructose, since fructose content is more than 3 grams.3

Fructose Content in Bananas in Grams

SizeLengthFructose (grams)
Extra Smallless than 6″3.93
Smallapprox 6-7″4.90
Mediumapprox 7-8″5.72
Largeapprox 8-9″6.60
Extra Largemore than 9″7.37
1/2 cup, SlicedN/A3.64
1/2 cup, MashedN/A5.45
Fructose content in bananas by size or portion, in grams. 2

The fructose content of bananas means people following a low fructose (also known as a fructose reduced) diet may need to limit consumption of this fruit. That said, it’s somewhat difficult to find clear guidelines on the low fructose diet. The reputable sources I found suggest limiting fructose intake to 10 to 15 grams a day.4,5 You can see, then, why bananas are tricky for those who need to eat low fructose.

I want to note here the difference between low fructose and low FODMAP. Low fructose guidelines state that foods should contain less than 3 grams of fructose per serving, among other criteria.3 Low FODMAP guidelines are more concerned with fructose to glucose ratio, stating that “excess fructose” should be between .15 and .40 grams per serving.6 This is why a food can be considered low FODMAP but high fructose.

Fructose Content as Percent of Total Sugar Content

Another way to assess fructose content in foods is by the amount that fructose contributes to total sugar content. Generally, any food in which fructose makes up more than half (50%) of the sugar content should be considered high fructose.7

The table below shows the sugar content for bananas, using a medium banana as an example. I’ve included data for sucrose, fructose and glucose. Sugar content in grams changes based on banana size, but the percentages of each sugar stays the same. Note that bananas also contain a small amount of maltose, which is not listed here.

Sucrose, Fructose and Glucose in Bananas (percent of total sugars)

Sugar content in medium banana, in grams and as percent of total sugars.2

As shown here, glucose and fructose each contribute about 40% to the total sugar content of bananas. This percentage isn’t high enough for bananas to be classified as high fructose, if using the 50% rule. This is also the reason bananas often appear on low fructose fruits and FODMAP friendly fruits lists.

Final Thoughts on Bananas, Fructose and FODMAPs

Whether bananas are considered high fructose really depends on which guidelines or standards you use.

If you use the guidelines published by the American Dietetic Association (now the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics), then any food with more than 3 grams of fructose per serving is classified as high fructose. Per these guidelines, bananas are high fructose.

On the other hand, if you use the 50% rule, then any food in which fructose contributes half or more to total sugar content is high fructose. By this standard, bananas are not high fructose.

I know this seems confusing, but it actually has an upside by giving you room to experiment with your own fructose tolerance level.

Banana slices in a glass bowl

If, like me, you have trouble absorbing fructose, you might start by eating only foods in which fructose makes up less than 50% of total sugars. Fortunately, lots of fruits and vegetables fall into this category.

If limiting fructose content to less than 50% doesn’t alleviate your digestive issues, then perhaps try the stricter standard of 3 grams of fructose or less per serving. There are several fruits that meet this criteria.

For example, a half cup of cantaloupe and two clementine oranges each have less than 3 grams of fructose. You can find many more options in my list of low fructose fruits.

And, as always, keep in mind both low fructose and low FODMAP diets are meant to treat specific digestive issues. If fructose doesn’t cause you problems, there’s no reason to limit it, even if you follow the low FODMAP diet for other reasons.


Posts Related to “Are Bananas High Fructose?”

If you’re interested in learning more about the fructose content in fruit, I have two posts that might be helpful. The first post looks at low and moderate fructose fruits, while the second post looks at high fructose fruits. Just be aware there are different ways to define high fructose. It’s possible for a food to be classified high FODMAP but low fructose (and vice versa).


About the Author

Amanda Coleman, PhD, studies food culture and teaches a popular Food and Society course. Years of digestive problems led her to live low FODMAP. Now she uses her research and analysis skills to help others understand FODMAP essentials, so they can lead better, healthier lives.

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