Miracle Banana Diet

Overview

The Miracle Banana Diet, more commonly called the Morning Banana Diet, is a weight loss diet that swept Japan before being introduced to the United States. On the diet, you eat a banana for breakfast, which supposedly helps fill you up and burns fat. The diet includes many other features also known for helping reduce weight.

The Fad

Thanks to testimonials on social networking sites and TV, the Morning Banana Diet, developed by a Japanese pharmacist to help her husband lose weight, captivated Japan in late 2008, boosting banana sales and leading to shortages of the fruit on store shelves.

Following the Diet

On the Miracle Banana Diet, you begin the day by eating a raw banana. You can eat another fruit if you prefer, and you can eat more than one banana. Wait for at least 15 minutes after eating the banana, then eat another food if you’re still hungry. Eat whatever you like for lunch and dinner, but skip dessert. You can eat a snack (even a sweet treat) in mid-afternoon. Drink plenty of room temperature water. Chew your food thoroughly and be mindful of what you’re eating. Eat just until you’re satisfied, not full. Go to bed by midnight and don’t eat later than four hours before bedtime. Keep a food journal. Exercise is optional.

Why Bananas?

Bananas (as well as some other foods such as kidney beans) contain a type of fiber called resistant starch. Some research, including a study by University of Colorado researchers and others published in the October 2004 issue of “Nutrition & Metabolism,” indicates that resistant starch might help the body “burn” fat.

Pros

The Miracle Banana Diet includes “rules” that are common to most respectable weight loss programs: eat breakfast, write down what you eat, get plenty of sleep, don’t snack at night, eat slowly, and stop eating before you’re full. Sweet and easy to eat, bananas might encourage people to eat breakfast instead of skipping it. Among members of the National Weight Control Registry, which tracks more than 5,000 people who have lost weight and kept it off, 78 percent report eating breakfast every day.

Cons

The Banana Diet ignores two key strategies that most National Weight Control Registry members used to lose weight and keep it off: calorie control and exercise. On CBS News’ “Early Show,” dietitian Kerri Glassman also pointed out that the Banana Diet could be a disaster for people who think they can eat a banana (or several bananas) and then feast on fries, pizza and anything else they like. She added that although bananas contain valuable nutrients, there is no such thing as a miracle food for weight loss.

About this Author

Virginia Van Vynckt worked as a writer and editor at the “Chicago Sun-Times” from 1978 to 1995. She has co-authored seven cookbooks, worked as a Web developer, and published “Our Own,” a book about older child adoption. She has a B.A. in journalism from Indiana University and a digital design certificate from Sessions.edu.