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The Banana Diet

Just when you think the world has seen every diet imaginable (who can forget the cabbage soup diet?), someone has to go and “invent” one that makes you shake your head in disbelief. Check this out:
Japan Goes Bananas for a New Diet
By Michiko Toyama Friday, Oct. 17, 2008

Keiko Akai is very annoyed. The attractive 21-year-old university student has been planning to do a banana diet for some time now, but she can’t get started — and not for lack of trying. “I keep going to OK Store, my local supermarket every single day,” she says. “In fact, I’ve just been there. There are no bananas on the shelves, and it’s been like that for a month.”

Akai has never weighed more than 100 pounds, and is so slim that her waist is swimming in Zara’s smallest size XS skirt. She doesn’t need to lose any weight. But Japanese girls obsessed with diets tend to jump at any trendy new ones, so, when Akai heard about a popular actress who’d lost 26 pounds through the Morning Banana Diet, she had to try it. And the dearth of bananas as her local supermarket, and many others, is testimony to the popularity of the new dieting fad.
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 and introduced the diet on mixi, one of Japan’s largest social networking services. Banana Diet books published since March have sold over 730,000 copies, and some have been translated and published in South Korea and Taiwan. The diet became even more popular after a TV program featured a singer who had lost 15 pounds in just six weeks. It was literally the day after that program aired that the shortage of bananas first became evident. “Bananas suddenly flew off the shelves, there was a 70%-80% increase in weekly sales compared to the same period last year,” says Takeshi Ozaki, a spokesperson of Life Corporation that runs 201 supermarkets throughout Japan.

When this article hit internet, I was contacted by a newspaper reporter, who wanted the opinion of a fitness professional for a piece she was writing on the diet. Judging by the leading questions the reporter was asking, it was obvious she wanted my to say that bananas are indeed the answer to the global obesity problem. But that’s not the case. I pointed out to her that any weight loss experienced by people on this diet, is mostly due to 2 of the 4 requisites for the diet.
  1. Breakfast. It’s been estimated that over 70% of Americans do not eat anything for breakfast. Most Americans eat their first meal between 2-3 hours AFTER waking up. Unfortunately, this practice causes undesirable hormonal fluctuations, that cause your energy levels to crash faster that my Pfizer stock and has you scrambling for the closest vending machine. The Banana Diet requires you to eat a banana (real food) or as many as you’d like, thus sparing your blood sugar levels and metabolism from hitting rock bottom. Don’t under estimate the importantce of breakfast when it comes to fat loss. The National Weight Control Registry (http://www.nwcr.ws/) has tracked the results of thousands of people who have lost an average of 66 lbs and kept it off for at least 5.5 years, and found that 78% of their members eat breakfast every day. There is nothing inherently magical about bananas, the people on the diet could’ve eaten apples and had the same results.
  2. Sleep. The Banana Diet requires that you got to bed before midnight. Sleep is another overlooked aspect of fat loss. The human body requires a minimum of 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep for optimum health and performance. Anything less and your body is producing cortisol by the bucket load. Cortisol is a catabolic stress hormone that will eat your muscle and cause your body to store body fat in your naval region. The less muscle mass you have, the slower your metabolism becomes. I have had numerous clients report increased fat loss from getting extra sleep on a regular basis, without any change to their food intake.

So, once I explained away the mystique behind the Banana Diet, the reporter politely told me that she had to take another “urgent” phone call. She hasn’t called back. But that’s alright…you now know something that 99% of her readers don’t.

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Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,
  1. May 19, 2010 at 13:00

    I agree with your balanced concept to health, obesity and weight loss. Continue your good, intelligent work, I am adding your advice to my site, pursuenatural.wordpress.com on suggestions on ‘suggested banana recipes’.

    • May 19, 2010 at 13:42

      Thank you for your kinds words, let me know if there’s any specific topic you’d like for me to cover.
      Cheers,
      Jess

  2. May 20, 2010 at 20:12

    would you be able to advice me on how to set up my comment section so that a person visiting my article may leave a comment without being required to leave their email?

    • May 20, 2010 at 20:41

      Not sure exactly how I did it…I set it up a long time ago. I believe you might find it under the “my account” section

  3. kobe
    October 17, 2010 at 23:43

    I think this diet was invented by the folks who import bananas into Japan
    http://www.japansugoi.com/wordpress/banana-king-japanese-tvcm/

  1. May 19, 2010 at 13:04

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