Last Updated on July 3, 2023 by Steven Root
Sugar Is Bad For Ulcerative Colitis & Crohn’s Disease, Right?
It’s not that straight forwards.
Those of us who are looking to treat ulcerative colitis & Crohn’s disease naturally have no doubt heard a lot of mixed opinions about bananas.
You should ONLY eat bananas. Bananas are too high in sugar. Excessive sugar is inflammatory. Excessive sugar leads to diabetes and cardiovascular issues. Excessive sugar feeds candida, parasites, and ‘bad’ bacteria. Bananas are too high in fiber. Bananas are the perfect food.
There is a lot of mixed opinion out there. So I thought I’d wade in with mine and mix it up a little more..
About The Sugar Content
Yes bananas are high in sugar. Yes too much sugar spikes insulin and can be inflammatory. Yes sugar can feed bad bugs in your gut. And yes sugar can be bad for a whole host of things that are not the focus of this blog post..
BUT what’s important to remember with bananas is they are a whole food, and they are loaded with fiber. This means that at least in regards to our insulin levels and blood sugar, they are not as harmful as we may think.
Bananas have also been shown to have bactericidal properties (moreso the skins). If this is true, then we might assume that bananas do not feed bad bugs as much as some people anticipate.
In fact, they may even help out with any existing dysbiosis (imbalanced gut flora) that we now know to be linked and perhaps even causal of ulcerative colitis & Crohn’s disease.
Another way that bananas may actually help an existing dysbiosis isby promoting regularity. Getting backed up / constipated can lead to imbalanced gut flora and bananas, via their soluble fiber and mucilage like texture, keep you moving.
About The Fiber Content
This is perhaps the most important bit. Bananas are high in fiber – around 3g / average banana. And they are a particularly good source of inulin – about 0.5g in each banana.
Inulin is often regarded as the holy grail of prebiotic fibers and is often consumed in large quantities by people who are looking to treat ulcerative colitis & Crohn’s disease naturally.
Studies have shown that consuming just 5g of inulin per day can increase the number of beneficial bacteria found in your gut by up to 500%.
So for those banana people out there who are consuming 10+ bananas per day (like a lot of people with IBD are)… well, logic suggests you MIGHT be doing a great job of repopulating your gut with good bugs.
Should You Eat Large Numbers of Bananas Long Term?
The negative impacts of eating large amounts of sugar likely outweigh the benefits in my opinion. Ranging from diabetes, to heart disease and other forms of metabolic dysfunction, to gastrointestinal issues and more.
In the early stages of healing from UC & Crohn’s, however, consuming bananas in large quantities as part of an elimination diet can be beneficial for SOME people.
I have personally consumed a bunch of bananas at times throughout my ulcerative colitis journey and have generally found them to be beneficial. Though it should be noted that I would consume up to around 3 bananas a day and no more.
I must say, however, that in my coaching business, I often start people on a dietary approach that does not involve substantial amounts of sugar and fiber as I find this more effective in resolving symptoms.
If you’re interested in coaching feel free to reach out to me here.
Here’s a short video below that I recorded on the topic a while ago. Sometimes I cringe at my delivery when I look back at stuff I recorded a while ago.. this video included 🙂