We have a 2.5 year old who LOVES bananas and gets one per day, but I am worried about the level of potassium this will be giving her.

Does anyone know any references to how many bananas a two year old can safely eat in a day?

asked 14 Jan '10, 16:21

Colin's gravatar image

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edited 09 Dec '10, 03:38

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Tammy ♦♦

I've wondered the same thing about how many bananas a grownup can eat in a day!

(14 Jan '10, 17:10) Anne

An adult can eat at most 20 bananas a day. Please don't ask me how I know this.

(15 Jan '10, 16:29) MrChrister

According to the Linus Pauling Institute, the potassium Adequate Intake (AI) for girls and boys is as follows:

  • 0-6 months 400 mg/day
  • 7-12 months 700 mg/day
  • 1-3 years 3,000 mg/day
  • 4-8 years 3,800 mg/day
  • 9-13 years 4,500 mg/day
  • 14-18 years 4,700 mg/day
  • 19 years and older 4,700 mg/day

This is the recommended lower limit for consumption.

There is around 450 mg in one banana, so your 2.5 y/o would need to eat 6-7 bananas a day if no other potassium sources are imbibed to reach the AI. Of course other foods do contain high levels of potassium (see the 'Food sources' table on the same page for a list of high-potassium foods).


By contrast, the University of Maryland medical center quotes these recommended daily intakes:

  • Infants birth to 6 months: 500 mg or 13 mEq
  • Infants 7 months to 12 months: 700 mg or 18 mEq
  • Children 1 year: 1,000 mg or 26 mEq
  • Children 2 - 5 years: 1,400 mg or 36 mEq
  • Children 6 - 9 years: 1,600 mg or 41 mEq
  • Children over 10 years: 2,000 mg or 51 mEq

Either way, you would need to eat considerable amount to exceed the 18 g that is considered toxic.


answered 14 Jan '10, 16:43

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Rich Seller
accept rate: 19%

edited 14 Jan '10, 18:45


To provide a reference for potassium in bananas, see Nutrition Data - http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1846/2 It also estimates how much potassium is in various serving sizes.

(14 Jan '10, 16:49) Kiesa ♦

@Kiesa there is a value quoted at 422 mg for a banana and other foods in the Linus Pauling link I provided. I picked 450 to allow for an upper value with 10% overestimate to allow for natural variation as the question is about safe upper intake

(14 Jan '10, 16:56) Rich Seller

@Rich Ah, I see. Didn't scroll down far enough :)

(14 Jan '10, 18:40) Kiesa ♦

@Kiesa, I've added a direct reference to the table to make it clearer. Thanks for the additional reference

(14 Jan '10, 18:45) Rich Seller

The National Dairy Council's website (pdf link) cites stats taken from the Institute of Medicine's 2004 study, which states that adequate intake for a child 1-3 years old is 3500mg of potassium per day. eHow states that a medium banana contains approx. 450 mg of potassium. Therefore one banana per day should be perfectly fine, even with other sources of potassium (potatoes, broccoli, brown rice, dairy products, many meats and veggies, among other, according to Wikipedia) in your child's diet.

Further, it is exceedingly difficult for a healthy person, even a child, to overdose on potassium from consumable foods alone. From Wikipedia article on Hyperkalemia (potassium overdosing):

Intoxication with salt-substitute, potassium-containing dietary supplements, or potassium chloride (KCl) infusion [is one of the causes of Hyperkalemia]. Note that for a person with normal kidney function and nothing interfering with normal elimination (see above), hyperkalemia by potassium intoxication would be seen only with large infusions of KCl or oral doses of several hundred millequivalents of KCl.

Hope that helps!


answered 14 Jan '10, 16:43

Matthew%20Jones's gravatar image

Matthew Jones
accept rate: 18%

I have two banana addicted preschoolers. I limit to 1 or 2 day and one per meal max but my concern has been that I was told that too much banana can cause constipation. This hasn't been a problem in our family but I would be concerned if my children ate more than a few bananas in a day that they may become constipated.


answered 31 Jan '10, 05:51

K%20D's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

As a previous post mentioned it is nearly impossible to get dangerous levels of potassium from food alone. You would need to be taking high doses of potassium supplements for your body to see overdosing effects. If anything constipation may be a side-effect for some.

Potassium is important for children as are all other vitamins and minerals. My toddler eats about 2 bananas a day, but sometimes he may want a third and there are days he has only one. In any case, he is perfectly healthy. Luckily for banana lovers, kids and adults alike, Bananas is only a medium level potassium enriched food.


answered 07 Dec '10, 23:47

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Dee 1
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edited 08 Dec '10, 19:54

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦

Hello Dee! Thanks for the helpful answer. However, it's missing the references to where you got this information. Please see our back-it-up principle: http://moms4mom.com/back-it-up It's part of how the community is creating a really valuable resource for other parents here. Thanks!

(08 Dec '10, 02:52) Scott ♦♦

@Dee I went ahead and added a reference for the first sentence in your second paragraph.

(08 Dec '10, 19:57) Tammy ♦♦
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Asked: 14 Jan '10, 16:21

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Last updated: 09 Dec '10, 03:38