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The Morning Banana Diet: What It Is

Ever since former opera singer Kumiko Mori announced she had lost 15 pounds on the “Morning Banana” diet, there has been a shortage of bananas in Japan, according to The Japan Times online. Billed as the fastest and easiest weight loss diet, the Morning Banana diet has taken Japan by storm.

The Morning Banana diet was developed by Hitoshi Watanabe, who studied preventive medicine in Tokyo, and his pharmacist wife, Sumiko. The diet has since gained popularity by word of mouth, web sites, TV shows, magazine articles, and a book written by the Watanabes.

All this goes to show that dieting is an international obsession, not just an American one. But could weight loss really be as simple as eating bananas?

The Morning Banana Diet: What You Can Eat

The Morning Banana Diet is a super simple plan. For breakfast, you have only bananas and room-temperature water. Then, you can eat whatever you like for lunch, dinner, and snacks, as long as you don’t eat after 8 p.m. The only restrictions: No ice cream, dairy products, alcohol, or dessert after dinner, and the only beverage you may have with meals is room-temperature water. One sweet snack is allowed midafternoon.

One of the most popular aspects of the plan is the lack of emphasis on exercise. Dieters are advised to do it only if they want to, and even then, it should be done in a manner that is the least stressful.

The Morning Banana Diet: How It Works

Different versions of the Morning Banana Diet tout varying explanations of exactly how bananas work to promote weight loss. One theory suggests that certain enzymes in bananas speed up digestion and elimination, causing rapid weight loss. However, the human body already contains all the enzymes needed for digestion. It’s true that foods with fiber (and bananas have some) can go through the digestive system more quickly and may not be completely absorbed, thus saving a few calories. But the calorie savings are certainly not enough to revolutionize the weight loss industry.

Another theory centers on resistant starch, a type of fiber that is supposed to promote fullness and increase fat burning. Resistant starch is found naturally in carbohydrate foods such as green bananas, potatoes, grains, and beans — but only when you eat them cold. It resists digestion in the small intestine, where most digestion occurs, and gets passed along to the large bowel.

Studies show that the indigestible fiber may block the conversion of some carbs, but even so, bananas contain only a small amount of fiber and resistant starch. Bananas have 2-4 grams of fiber; to be considered a “good” source, a food must have 3.5-4.9 grams of fiber per serving.

Bananas, along with most fruits have long been a part of healthy diets and weight loss plans. But while they are nutritious, they do not have special weight loss properties.

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