The Morning Banana Diet

I just googled “morning banana diet” and got only a thousand hits. Surely that will change. It is the most popular diet in Japan right now, so popular, Mark Schrimsher of CalorieLab told me, that “You can’t buy bananas in Japan now. It’s crazy. We found some little green ones and some really expensive ones, but the rest are sold out.” Fytte, a woman’s health magazine, has covered it three months in a row. Three books have been written about it.

Like the Shangri-La Diet, it derives from (a) self-experimentation by (b) someone who was not a weight-control expert and (c) was spread by the Internet.

A cartoon.

30 Replies to “The Morning Banana Diet”

  1. This appears to be a intermittent fasting type diet. Basically, with the exception of the banana, the Morning Banana Dieter is restricting food intake to between midday and early evening (lunch and an early 6pm dinner). Eating according to this schedule provides a nice 18 hour fast, and will result in weight loss, provided the dieter doesn’t gorge during lunch and dinner.

    I bet one could substitute any 100 calorie low glycemic index food for the banana and observe identical results.

    I tried this (minus the banana) once over a fairly sedentary 2 month period, and lost about 10 lbs. I’m working right now on getting back into the habit.

  2. You can eat more than one banana. The inventor of the diet eats four bananas at 6 a.m. and a rice ball “o-nigiri” (maybe 200 calories) during his commute at 8 a.m. I think you’re allowed to eat something else in the morning if you wait 15 minutes after the bananas and are still hungry (which is defined as under the 80 percent full level, not just not being stuffed).

    Dinner is supposed to be by 8 p.m., and by 6 p.m. if possible. You need to go to bed by midnight or earlier and leave four hours before dinner and your bedtime, although here too there is an out clause allowing some fruit in the evening if you’re hungry.

    As you can see, the diet is not as simple as it first appears, and I suspect it works partly by just being so complicated that you end up not eating so you can avoid dealing with the complications … like many diets. 🙂

  3. Isn’t there a lot of evidence that a lack of sleep leads to obesity? And I know there is a lot of research which suggests that a high level of water intake leads to weight loss.

    As for eating the banana, itself, I wonder if any type of fruit would work. I know that vegetables and especially fruit help aid the digestion process.

    Yeah, I don’t think there’s anything magical about this diet. It works because it’s simple and it’s the right way to loose weight.

  4. I just noticed that I called the morning banana diet simple and a commenter above specifically said it isn’t simple.

    The morning banana diet has 4 or 5 principals to follow. But if you go to a barnes & noble and look in the diet section, you’d be shocked to see how difficult and challenging the diets are.

  5. Like Joshua said: “This appears to be a intermittent fasting type diet.” That is the first thing I thought of. The banana would not be a lot of calories, and would not be enough to really “break the fast”.

    On a similar note, I started eating no breakfast and low (or slow) carb for dinner to include a fasting period in my day. Or, as I view it, turn off the insulin machine for long periods of time. It is working great.

    I had a job in college that was 2nd shift and I felt great and lost weight, but I thought it was because I was so busy I did not have time to eat. After college I got a job on 2nd shift again, same thing lose weight- feel great. The thing in common: little or no breakfast.

    This fits in with the SLD because banana=not much taste.

  6. This doesn’t look like fasting at all to me. It doesn’t at all look complicated either. Whether it works is another story. They say you can eat anything you want for the other two meals, just banana and water in the morning. I’ll give it a try. Sounds like the least complicated diet I’ll have tried and it’s certainly not fasting.

  7. The Warrior Diet by Ori Hofmekler is similar, and essentially is a fasting diet, based on the theory that Roman Warriors, and the like, ate little or nothing during the day, and gorged themselves at night.

  8. Potassium Pump. Apparently there is a connection between metabolic rate and potassium in the body. If one ‘breaks the fast’ with bananas they also turn on the “potassium pump” in the body and food metabolizes more completely. With honest sensible eating I think this diet can work very well.

  9. Bananas help people lose weight because they contain resistant starch, which ferments in your large intestine, creating by-products that block conversion of some carbohydrates into fuel, so replacing ordinary carbs with the resistant starch in bananas can boost fat burning. And banana fiber bulks up in your stomach, so you feel full for longer. There’s a healthy way to do the banana diet which makes sense and includes exercise

  10. Not sure if this has been covered, but a doctor once told my grandmother she was eating too many bananas (she had dementia and was not realizing how many she was eating during the day). She was getting too much potassium in her body. I forget what he said it does, but it wasn’t good for her. Just like anything else: too much of anything is not good. For another example: Too much Vit C leads to diarrhea.
    Never do (or over-do!), without checking with your personal physician. Some foods even counteract medications, so please be careful.

  11. For breakfast, you should eat one or more bananas and drink a glass of lukewarm water. You can have as many bananas as you like until you are full. The reason for the water to be lukewarm is not known and has come under much speculation on the Internet. Most diets suggest that you can burn more calories by drinking cold water. Lunch can be just about anything you like. This diet places no restrictions on what you can or cannot eat. you can eat one snack around 3:00 pm if you are hungryDinner can be anything you like as long as you eat before 8:00 pm. Avoid ice cream and other dairy products, as well as dessert after dinnerOne other rule of the diet is that you must go to bed before midnight each and every night. This makes sense because studies have shown that a lack of sleep leads to obesity. And finally, Yes I’m definitely going to give it a try.

  12. I tried the banana diet after hearing about it on the news. Thats all I did was have a banana and warm water ( I warmed mine and had in coffee cup, I didn’t know it was supposed to be room temp ?) but the first day I started it I didn’t weigh myself and I ate bananas and had a fast food hamburger and fries and regualar coke. ( Large hamburger). Then the next morn I weighed my self and I counted calories all that day , did the same for one more day-got on the scales and lost almost 5 lbs..I want to wait until saturday to find out the real loss since saturday wil be a week for me ! I love this diet it really works..

  13. Monkeys are laughing at you right now. This was a diet they discovered thousands of years ago and they have lean bodies to show for it.

  14. I’m looking forward to starting this diet…. just one question… do you have to have water? or could you substitute coffee and splenda instead?

  15. I agree the morning banana diet is not really suitable for westerners. Having tried it myself I found I was too hungry allot of the time and so I made some modifications to it which works better for the bigger western chap like me! I have still gone from someone that is clinically obese to normal weight within 18 months. I didn’t think it would work either. Who’d think it, eating a few bananas would do that lol 🙂

  16. I’ve been on the banana diet since November 1 and have lost 8 pounds (in 50 days). I have not done the diet perfectly but I have eaten a banana and water at least 45 of the days. I didn’t do the diet around Thanksgiving (and gained 2 lbs or so that I had to re-lose). I’ve also probably eaten more sweets than I should have (due to the holidays).

    The rules and how I do on them:

    1. Eat a banana and lukewarm water (pretty faithful).
    2. Eat whatever at lunch. I’ve had something sweet after lunch probably 1/3 of the 50 days so far (so…I would say partly faithful).
    3. Eat a snack at 3 PM (pretty faithful).
    4. Eat whatever for dinner (sometimes have sweets; probably 10 days out of the 50–so, more faithful than not).
    5. Eat before 8 PM (pretty faithful).
    6. Go to bed by midnight (pretty faithful).

    I guess if I didn’t eat the sweets after lunch or dinner, I’d be doing better. I also exercise on average of 4 days per week. I try to walk with some jogging 4-5 miles on some days; lift weights (1 set of about 12 exercises) some days.

    Losing 8 lbs for me in less than 2 months is amazing as I’ve gone on every diet imaginable with not great results. My pants are getting looser and my stomach is flatter. Most of my “muffin top” is gone (just a slight amount of spillover).

    I’m not sure how/if this will work the same for you as it seems to be working for me. I wish everyone luck with their fight against the bulge!

  17. All i can say is that as crazy as this diet seems it really works, its all just common sense i guess, things you should be doing already, but most of us don’t. Like going to bed at a decent hour, drinking, lunch and snack. Anyways, my quality of life has improved even if it is just a fad diet. Also, after 16 days i had lost 5lbs 🙂 I blog about it if your interested at all.

  18. This is my 3rd week on the banana diet and I’ve lost 4 lbs. I took the “eat whateveryou want at lunch and dinner” very literally and still lost weight. However, one of the rules is no chips, sweets, ice cream, etc., so I did not eat those for snack or meals. But I did eat chile dogs, hamburgers, etc….things I kind of laid off just having finished 4 months on WW and only losing 10 of the 70 lbs I need to lose. I also have a slight underactive thyroid and get edema (water swelling) in my ankles that is very painful. But, since eating the bananas (potassium, I suppose), that has gone away and I feel much better. I eat 3 bananas. Sometimes I get hungry between breakfast and dinner, but I saw a site that said to also eat a handful of nuts. That would help and I think I will start trying that, but now that I have gotten the junkfood thing out of my system, it’s back to whole grains, lean meats, and more veggies for me just because I feel better when eating that way. If you want to know if it works, it has for me. I suggest giving it two weeks.

  19. Correction to my prior post: “Sometimes I get hungry between breakfast and lunch” not dinner. I did not mean to imply that I am skipping lunch because I am not. I eat until I feel satisfied whatever I feel like that day (sans sweets).

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