The Morning Banana Diet

By Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am — Filed under:

Just when the dieting world seemed to calm down and the mantra of “Eat Less, Move More” seemed to be the prevailing wisdom, Japan goes crazy for bananas.

The Morning Banana Diet regime is simple: A banana (or as many as you want) and room temperature water for breakfast; eat anything you like for lunch and dinner (by 8 p.m.). A three o’clock snack is okay, but no desserts after meals, and you have to go to bed before midnight. Sumiko Watanabe, a pharmacist in Osaka designed this stress-free diet to help increase the metabolism of her husband Hitoshi Watanabe, who had been rather overweight. In due course, Mr. Watanabe lost 37 pounds.

Here is a video explaining it:

If you notice, the most important part of the diet is number four:

Eat until you’re full, but not stuffed.

This simple concept is THE reason that people might lose weight on this diet. It’s an idea that Weight Watchers and many other diet programs have promoted for the last decade. Being able to eat until you’re satisfied, but not full is the biggest predictor of whether you’ll be able to lose the weight and keep it off.

This diet has caused runs on bananas in Japan and it looks like Dole is trying to create the same fervor in the United States. They are calling it the Dole Banana Diet. Look at this advertisement I pulled out of People Magazine last month.

Dole Banana Diet: Click to see full size

According to Dole,

Bananas contain resistant starch which research shows blocks conversion of some carbohydrates into fuel, boosting fat burning by forcing your body to rely on fat stores instead – a sure aid to sustainable weight loss. Dole has created a delicious banana diet to help you stick to your New Year’s resolution.

Will the Morning Banana Diet make you thin?

Maybe… I think we need a lot more research on the “magical” powers of resistant starch. Replacing your usual breakfast with one banana could save you anywhere from 400 to 700 calories, depending on what you usually eat for breakfast. That amount of caloric reduction could result in a loss of a pound a week as long as you don’t over compensate at lunch and dinner.

Is the Morning Banana Diet hazardous?

Probably not. There is a risk of feeling REALLY hungry before lunch, especially if you deal with low blood sugar on a regular basis. I prefer to have protein with every meal because it makes me feel full. More importantly, eating a banana for breakfast every morning is a really good way to get sick of bananas and never want to eat them again. They are a GREAT addition to your diet but do you really want to make yourself sick of them?

Are you going to try it?

Sorry, Dole, I’m not buying it any more than I bought the Three Apple a Day Diet or the Dairy Diet. Sure, I’m going to eat bananas when they sound like a good breakfast, but the Morning Banana Diet just sounds like a way to make Dole very rich.

Watch out. Even the seemingly healthy ideas are backed by people trying to take your money. Choose a diet that is balanced and that you can live with. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is a good option, but any plan that tries to convince you that one certain food is THE answer is just trying to take your money.


3 Responses to “The Morning Banana Diet”

  1. Rhonda Witwer Says:

    There is actually good science suggesting that resistant starch does more than simply lower calorie intake. It is a special kind of dietary fiber. Its fermentation in the large intestine produces more of the short chain fatty acid butyrate than any other fiber tested. Butyrate has been shown to turn on the genes that make satiety hormones – hormones that tell you you’re full and not hungry. Because resistant starch is insoluble and is fermented over hours and hours, these chemical fullness signals get released for hours and hours. A couple of human studies on Hi-maize resistant starch from corn (another natural source) found people ate 10% fewer calories in the 24 hours after people ate resistant starch for lunch and breakfast. That’s 300 fewer calories without feeling hungry. (Bodinham, University of Surrey, published in 2009). Another study fed people resistant starch from Hi-maize and barley in bread for dinner. (Nilsson, published in 2008). They were less hungry following breakfast the next day. Finally, a total of 5 human clinicals have been published to show that Hi-maize resistant starch improves insulin sensitivity. This means that your body needs to produce less insulin to effectively manage your blood sugar levels. Insulin causes fat to be deposited. Less insulin from eating resistant starch means less fat deposited. These metabolic benefits are quite complicated, but the resistant starch story has much, much more to it than you have given it credit for.

  2. Braidwood Says:

    I LOVE just eating according to my hunger*; only eating when I’m hungry and eating what I feel like eating when I’m hungry. Its SUCH a relief to not obsess about food, to trust my body, and not to overeat. So, I won’t try this diet or any other diet.

    I do often feel like having a banana or half of a banana in the morning after a work-out though, so its interesting to wonder why that is.

    I just figure I’ll trust my body and science can explain later why its so smart. 😉

    *(ala The Over Fed Head and other books about eating intuitively.)

  3. james Says:

    I think this diet was invented by the folks at Banana King/Sumifru corporation who import bananans into Japan http://www.japansugoi.com/wordpress/banana-king-japanese-tvcm/

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