Going bananas for weight loss- The New Indian Express


Express News Service

In the pursuit of shedding those extra kilos, people often explore a multitude of methods—from herbal concoctions to fad diets that transform meals into uninspiring grub. Amid this weight-loss chaos emerges a unique and buzz-worthy approach—the ‘Morning Banana Diet’. Originating in Japan, its simplicity and principles have captured global attention. Conceived by Osaka pharmacist Sumiko Watanabe in 2008, the diet gained widespread popularity after her husband Hitoshi Watanabe shared his weight loss of 37 pounds (17 kg) on Japan’s social networking site, Mixi.

It encourages participants to commence their day with bananas, consuming up to four until they feel satiated. The number of bananas can vary based on individual capacity. Rich in fibre and nutrients, the fruit offers a healthy morning boost, contributing to prolonged feelings of fullness, and potentially curbing excessive food consumption. Alongside bananas, followers are advised to drink room-temperature water. The diet promotes balanced lunches and dinners, allowing flexibility for favourite foods in moderation and stopping when feeling 80 percent full. It advocates an early dinner, prohibits snacking after 8 pm, and discourages dairy, alcohol and caffeine consumption while stressing adequate sleep and regular water intake.

The diet’s appeal lies in its simplicity. Advocating for rice as a lunch or dinner option, it underscores reduced overall calorie intake, contributing to weight loss. It also highlights portion control, mindful eating and the prohibition of late-night snacking. Mumbai-based dietitian Kushboo Gupta says, “The reason this diet gained popularity is the fact that it is easy to follow.” She, however, underscores the need for comprehensive research on its impact on weight loss, and cautions that while the diet encourages healthy eating, its effectiveness may vary. “Relying solely on bananas might lack the necessary protein and dietary diversity for a balanced regimen,” she says. She advocates incorporating a range of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains for sustainable weight loss.

While the diet discourages sugary foods, sweets, ice cream, and soda, it also advises against ultra-processed foods like fried items, crackers, pizza, and fast food. It encourages walking for improved health, but raises concerns about the potential stress induced by exercise. 

Delhi-based dietitian and nutritionist Gunjan Mehta Sood emphasises, “Diet plans are not magic and our body’s metabolic systems are complex; hence, results might vary. Its success, however, depends on individual lifestyle, metabolism and physical activity levels. While it may serve as a beneficial starting point, sustained success necessitates a holistic approach, including regular exercise and a diverse, well-balanced diet.” One can treat it as a transitional step toward healthier eating and lifestyle practices.

While the Morning Banana Diet provides a healthy start to the day, it is crucial to complement it with a varied and nutritious overall diet. Consulting a healthcare professional is advised to ensure a safe weight loss journey.

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