Banana diet

Health Hub staff
Monday, January 3, 2011
Banana diet. Image: Getty
Unlike the majority of diets, there is no pressure to exercise on this regime.
Health Hub staff

Dieting going bananas?

It was only a matter of time before Japan became as regimental about diet and weight management as they are with skincare. The "must-try" diet that is sweeping the streets tis the Morning Banana Diet, which is hailed as fast, stress-free and the anti-dieters dream.

So what's it all about?

The origins
Sumiko Watanabe, a pharmacist in Osaka, designed this easy diet to help increase the metabolism of her husband, Hitoshi Watanabe, whose weight had ballooned after leaving university and entering the workforce. In a matter of weeks, Mr Watanabe lost 17kg and introduced the diet on Mixi, one of Japan's largest social networking services. Morning Banana Diet books published since March have sold more than 730,000 copies, and some have been translated and published in South Korea and Taiwan. It has been so popular that banana sales have reportedly shot up by over 70 percent!

VIEW GALLERY: A-Z of diets

The rules
As its name states, this jist of this diet is to eat a banana for breakfast, accompanied with a room-temperature glass of water. You can eat more than one — the creator ate four — so you are satisfied. The bananas must be uncooked and eaten alone rather than mixed in with a big bowl of muesli topped with yogurt.

When it comes to the remainder of your meals, anything goes (!) but you should not eat a dessert at lunch or dinner. While there are no restrictions on what you should eat, it is about everything in moderation. Eat enough to satisfy but not leave you stuffed. You must eat your evening meal by 8pm at the latest.

In terms of hydration, the only drink allowed at meals is water, ideally filtered and it must be room temperature. Outside mealtimes, beverages such as tea, coffee and soft drinks are frowned upon with the idea to stick with water as much as possible.

Snacking is permitted before 3pm with recommendations of another piece of fresh fruit or small amout of chocolate. Unlike the majority of diets, there is no pressure to exercise on this regime. In fact the guidelines are to do it only when you feel like it.

VIEW GALLERY: Light-weight lunchtime ideas

The theory
When it comes to backing up why the diet supposedly works there are several theories to explain it:

  • Bananas are packed with enzymes that boost digestion that reduce the time the intestines need to work to digest food. The result is a metabolism that aids weight loss.
  • Bananas are a rich source of resistant starch, which is thought to leave you feeling satisfied and therefore less inclined to overeat at meal times as well as increasing the body's fat-burning capacity.
  • The fruit eaten in combination with water improves bowel movements.
  • Eating your final meal early and reducing snacks allows your digestive process to finish before bedtime.

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