Morning Banana Diet

Overview

The Morning Banana Diet, also known as the Miracle Banana Diet, is a food plan for weight loss that has been very popular in Japan. It calls for eating at least one banana for breakfast, and does not otherwise restrict the kind of food you eat.

History

Sumiko Watanabe, a pharmacist in Osaka, created the Banana Diet to help her husband lose weight. He lost 37 lbs. and talked about the diet on a Japanese social networking site. When a popular Japanese singer reported that she had lost 15 lbs. on it, the Banana Diet swept Japan in late 2008, resulting in banana shortages. Dole Food Company, Inc., which grows and markets bananas, has introduced a variation of the diet to the United States, which calls for eating two bananas for breakfast and emphasizes eating healthfully for lunch and dinner.

Food Rules

The first rule of the Morning Banana Diet: Eat a raw, uncooked banana for breakfast. You can substitute other fruit, and you can eat more than one banana. Wait for 15 to 30 minutes after eating the banana(s). If you’re still hungry, eat something else. For lunch and dinner, you can eat whatever you like, but don’t have dessert. You can eat one snack (sweets are OK) at about 3 p.m. Drink only water, which should be at room temperature. Eat “mindfully”: Chew your food thoroughly and savor it, and eat only until you are satisfied, not full.

Other Rules

The Banana Diet advises going to bed no later midnight, and allowing for four hours between your last meal or snack and bedtime. You should keep a diet journal. Don’t pressure yourself to exercise, but it’s a good idea to walk at least a little every day.

How it Works

Bananas (as well as other foods such as beans) contain resistant starch, a type of fiber that may help “burn” fat, suggest some animal studies and small human studies, including one by University of Colorado researchers and others, published in the October 2004 issue of “Nutrition & Metabolism.” Some “starch blocker” diet supplements contain resistant starch. The other Banana Diet guidelines, such as eating breakfast, keeping a journal, getting enough sleep, not eating late at night, and eating only to the point that you feel satisfied, are widely recommended weight loss strategies.

Criticisms

Interviewed by CBS News, registered dietitian Kerri Glassman described the Morning Banana Diet as a “fad diet” because of its arbitrary rules and emphasis on a particular food. Bananas contain fiber, potassium and are “an excellent food that should be incorporated into your diet but, just like the grapefruit diet or cabbage soup diet, there’s no magical food,” she said. The diet could be a “disaster” for people who think they can eat one (or several) bananas, then eat pizza, fries and anything else they like, she added.

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.