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The banana diet involves a number of eating plans that use bananas as the primary food basis of the diet.
When the Morning Banana Diet was promoted on the Japanese social networking site ‘Mixi’ in March 2008 it became so popular that it resulted in a nationwide banana shortage.
The diet was created by Hitoshi Watanabe who has studied preventative medicine and his wife Sumiko who is a pharmacist.
The Morning Banana Diet Basics
The creators of the Morning Banana Diet claim that eating only bananas and drinking room temperature water for breakfast leads to weight loss regardless of what is consumed for the rest of the day.
The diet is extremely simple and easy to follow however many Japanese have reported rapid weight loss when experimenting with this diet.
One of the reasons why the diet may work is that bananas are said to improve digestion and boost metabolism. Another possibility is that bananas are high in resistant starch, which is a type of fiber that can promote the feeling of fullness and may block the absorption of some carbohydrates.
The reason why the water has to be room temperature is not certain but many theories have been speculated on the Internet such as that it improves digestion or reduces hunger.
Dieters are also advised to eat their evening meal before 8pm and to avoid desserts after dinner. If feeling very hungry it is acceptable to have a piece of fruit.
Aside from eating bananas for breakfast and avoiding late night eating another rule of the diet is that you must go to sleep before midnight every night. The rationale behind this advice is sound as scientific studies show a relationship between sleep deprivation and obesity
At all times dieters should follow the Japanese principle of eating until only 80% full.
Dairy products and alcohol are also not allowed on this diet. In addition the only beverage that may be consumed with meals is room temperature water.
Bananas – must be raw, not cooked and not frozen.
Sample Diet Plan
One or more bananas (as many as desired until full)
Meal of choice
A small sweet snack is allowed around 3pm if hungry
Meal of choice but must be eaten before 8pm
Dieters are told they should exercise only if they want to.
You may want to try these exercises with the Morning Banana Diet.
Costs and Expenses
- Eating breakfast every day may increase metabolism and reduce the likelihood of overeating later in the day.
- Avoiding caffeine at breakfast may lead to more stable blood glucose levels and reduced appetite.
- Not eating after 8pm will reduce tendency for late night snacking on high calorie foods.
- Avoiding dairy products and dessert will reduce calories by limiting fat and sugar intake.
- Bananas are a nutritious food and high in fiber, vitamins B6 and C and potassium.
- Discourages overeating.
- Some dieters may not respond well to a pure carbohydrate breakfast particularly those with hypoglycemia.
- Easy for dieters to consume excess calories if they eat whatever they like for lunch and dinner.
- Does not encourage exercise.
- Does not address psychological factors involved in dieting.
Less Calories Still Key
If dieters are experiencing success on this diet it is not likely to be due to any special fat burning qualities of bananas. It is much more likely that it is related to following the other rules of the diet such as eating only at specific times of the day and avoiding desserts.
This will result in a reduction of calories that will promote weight loss so long as dieters do not consume excessive calories in their other meals.
By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
- Nieman, D. C., Gillitt, N. D., Henson, D. A., Sha, W., Shanely, R. A., Knab, A. M., … Jin, F. (2012). Bananas as an energy source during exercise: a metabolomics approach. PloS one, 7(5), e37479. link
- Ganeshamurthy, A. N., Satisha, G. C., Patil, P. (2011). Potassium nutrition on yield and quality of fruit crops with special emphasis on banana and grapes. Karnataka Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 24(1). link
- Kumar, K. S., Bhowmik, D., Duraivel, S., Umadevi, M. Traditional and Medicinal Uses of Banana. link
- Beccuti, G., Pannain, S. Sleep and obesity. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 14(4), 402. link
Last Reviewed: January 25, 2018
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