The Morning Banana Diet?
October 19, 2008 10:47 PM   Subscribe

Banana Diet: Ive recently read about the craze going through Japan called the "Morning Banana Diet" (link). I dont know if its worth the paper its printed on but apparently its cleaned Japan out of all its imported bananas! Does anyone know of any dietians opinions or medical analysis as to the benefits of this diet?
posted by OzMoges to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
From the linked article:
In 2006, his girlfriend Sumiko, a pharmacist with training in Chinese herbal medicine, recommended a simple, stress-free diet that revolved around one straightforward (nutritionists say questionable) premise: a breakfast of raw bananas and room-temperature water can boost the metabolism so much it allows the dieter to eat almost anything for lunch and dinner and still lose weight.

Warning flags abound:

1) "Chinese herbal medicine". I wish I could do a search-and-replace on the internet to replace that phrase with "complete horseshit" What it really means is "we have no evidence for this claim".

2) it uses the phrase "nutritionists say questionable" right there in the article.

3) Why would room temperature water be any different from cold or warm water? If anything, cold water would require slightly more expenditure of energy, since your body will be heating the fluid up to 37 degrees C.

Look, there have been a zillion and one fad diets, and as long as there's a sucker born every minute, there will be a zillion more. Any diet that claims "you can eat whatever you want" is crap. Any diet plan that doesn't include the word "exercise" is crap. Any diet plan that isn't based on burning more calories than you consume is crap.

It's pretty much that simple.
posted by chrisamiller at 11:13 PM on October 19, 2008 [4 favorites]

Might want to talk to soulbarn - he wrote a a book about bananas.
posted by milkrate at 11:17 PM on October 19, 2008

Agree with you chrisamiller, however I am interested in the metabolism boosting claim and whether Bananas & water can indeed wake up the metabolism in the morning.

I agree, however, that any diet claiming no exercise and you can eat anything is most likely to be crap.
posted by OzMoges at 11:17 PM on October 19, 2008

The idea of having a banana and water in the morning is good because:

1) A lot of people don't eat enough fruit.
2) A lot of people don't drink enough water.
3) A lot of people don't eat breakfast.
3a) When they do, it's often crap.

This seems more like a common sense breakfast (though it could be better) than a diet.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 11:20 PM on October 19, 2008

I've been eating bananas for breakfast for years and my metabolism is still subject to the same laws of physics as everyone else. Sorry!
posted by fshgrl at 11:46 PM on October 19, 2008

Obligatory post about excesses:

An eccentric old man whom I came to know in equally strange terms decided to go on an all banana diet. After he stopped listening to his doctors after some ER necessitating incident, he thought he knew what was best and somehow decided upon this.

Needless to say, his potassium level skyrocketed and he was found dead in the middle of the street after multiple heart attacks.
posted by gzimmer at 11:47 PM on October 19, 2008

I can't find any decent research on pubmed or google scholar involving bananas and basal metabolic rate, or banana diets. Probably because no credible institution would fund such research.

Say you consume 2 bananas for breakfast, it will provide roughly 6 grams of fiber, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of protein, a gram of fat and a smattering of vitamins and minerals

There's nothing in there to boost your metabolic rate, more than say the same amount of calories from eggs and toast.

Anyways, a simple field test to determine what you respond well to for breakfast foods is to eat something for a week and then take the same reaction time or simple memory test online. Switch your breakfast food the next week, compare results, repeat. The best breakfast foods will give you the best reaction time and memory performance.
posted by zentrification at 11:51 PM on October 19, 2008

One thing to consider ... if you have only bananas and water in the morning, what are you not having now that you're having only bananas and water? If you're replacing, say, a giant pile of donuts with two bananas ... yes, you'll probably lose some weight.

From the article:
"Over the next six months he dropped a further 13 kilograms..."

13 kilograms = 28.6 pounds.

28.6 pounds / 26 weeks = 1.1 pounds of weight loss per week.

This is totally do-able for the average person, and it doesn't require any weird-ass diet to accomplish.


1.1 pounds of weight loss per week = ~550 calories of caloric deficit per day.

One Starbucks Venti White Chocolate Mocha w/ Whipped Cream = 500 calories.

I leave it you guys to come up with the other 50 over the course of the day.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:14 AM on October 20, 2008

I don't have any comments as to the diet itself, but I will verify that yes, bananas are in shorter supply in greater Tokyo since TBS ran that story. At one of my local supermarkets they instituted a two-bunch-per-person limit (in addition to jacking the price up 50%), and in the evenings after work I'd count myself lucky if there were any bananas left at all.

And as someone who had liked to have a banana on his cereal every morning for breakfast, I'm pissed. Stupid fad diets. If it's not bananas it's black vinegar or natto or chocolate something else. Absolutely asinine.
posted by armage at 12:59 AM on October 20, 2008

Promo blurb from the Australian Banana Growers' Council:

Bananas are well recognised as being very nutritious, containing substantial potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosporus and iron. They are also high in Vitamins A and C as well as thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.

Bananas contain less than 1% fat and at 364 kilojoules per 100grams, a medium sized banana contains the same kilojoule content as an average grapefruit.

Bananas are also rich in fibre which helps the body absorb water, hastening digestion. Food high in fibre also makes you feel "full" which helps resist the desire for snacks.

I think that's about it. You'd be better off having a strong cup of coffee before morning exercise (to boost your metabolism) then eating a protein-rich breakfast afterwards (for recovery & to feel full) and saving the banana for around an hour before your afternoon training (because you'll be wanting some carbs for that; the morning training is all about burning stored fat).
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:40 AM on October 20, 2008

A key part of the "Japanese banana diet" (Mrs. KokuRyu and I have been discussing this diet quite a bi) is going to bed by 10PM. While I can't find any info close at hand, I do remember reading that getting a good night's sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism. Your body uses the sack time to produce hormones that regulate your metabolism and help you maintain your weight.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:55 AM on October 20, 2008

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