Banana diet: principles, benefits, precautions

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Banana diet: principles, benefits, precautions

Contrary to what one might think, the banana diet, also called banana diet, is not about eating bananas throughout the day. If it is so successful in Japan and the United States, it’s becausehe promises to lose weight by betting on bananas in the first part of the day. Lunch, snacks and dinner should be balanced. Is it really possible and above all, without risk? Insights from Florence Foucaut, dietician-nutritionist, member of the AFDN (French Association of Dietitian-Nutritionists).

What is the banana diet?

The banana diet was theorized by Sumiko Watanabé, a Japanese pharmacist who originally wanted to help her husband lose weight. satisfactory weight loss. It consists, as its name suggests, of consuming as many bananas as you want as soon as you wake up, before having a balanced lunch and dinner.

How long does the banana diet last?

The recommendations are not entirely clear, but the banana diet is not advised for a long time. It is rather an express diet, which can last between three and fifteen days maximum. Some followers recommend renewing the experience as a cure, from time to time, provided that the diet suits our metabolism.

The main principles of the banana diet

The banana diet therefore consists of eating exclusively bananas for breakfast, as part of a varied and balanced diet. When you wake up, rather than betting on a croissant, refined cereals or toast, we therefore opt for this fiber-rich fruit. And if you lack the appetite, it is quite possible to keep your banana to eat it a little later in the morning. After your first banana, wait about twenty minutes, until satiety sets in. If you’re still hungry after that time, give yourself a second banana.

Several rules must therefore be scrupulously respected to benefit from this scheme:

  • Consume only bananas before lunch (raw or cooked, but without added sugar or fat);
  • Drink enough water at room temperature throughout the day;
  • Plan a balanced lunch and dinner (it is not enough to eat a banana to compensate for excesses, warns Florence Foucaut);
  • Do not exceed your satiety threshold;
  • Avoid alcohol, sugars and products that are too fatty;
  • Opt for a healthy snack if you feel peckish in the afternoon (ice cream, donuts, candies or crisps are not recommended);
  • Do not eat after 8 p.m. and go to bed early.

Banana diet: what does a typical menu look like?

  • Breakfast: bananas at will (within reason and allowing about twenty minutes to pass between each banana), accompanied by a large glass of water.
  • Lunch: a grilled chicken salad, served with tomatoes, asparagus tips and quinoa. Then a seasonal fruit for dessert.
  • The snack: a handful of oilseeds or a seasonal fruit.
  • Dinner: a velouté of tomatoes and peppers, accompanied by white fish and a julienne of vegetables and white rice.

Do bananas make you lose weight or gain weight?

The banana-based diet promises weight loss ranging from 2 to 3 kg per week. Because ? Bananas – especially unripe bananas – are high in starch, a carbohydrate that does not break down easily in the small intestine and quickly provides a feeling of satiety. One or two bananas is normally enough to feel full – and therefore to eat less.

According to its followers, this small yellow fruit would also contain lipase, an enzyme that would facilitate the burning of fat and the loss of superfluous kilos. Florence Foucaut rectifies, however, “lipase is produced by the body, in the pancreas”. As for its fat-burning properties… The dietician recalls that lipase transforms the fat ingested to digest it, like that of other foods ingested before or after the banana, then transforms it in glycerol and fatty acids. The fat is therefore not “burnt”, but transformed.

Furthermore, the expert recognizes that replacing the fatty and sugary products often assimilated to breakfast (cereals, pastries, cakes, etc.) with bananas and water may help to significantly reduce the number of calories consumed in the first part of the day. In fact, the negative energy balance can then initiate a small weight loss, which must be maintained through regular physical activity, “even if it’s thirty minutes of walking a day”, insists the expert.

How to choose the right bananas?

If you are looking to lose weight, go for unripe bananas, which do not yet have too many black spots. You will thus avoid too much starch, which gradually turns into sugar and significantly raises the glycemic index of the fruit, warns the dietician-nutritionist. As far as possible, choose bananas from organic farming insteadeven though their thick skin already protects them a lot from chemical exposures.

What are the pros and cons of this diet?

The benefits of the banana diet

  • The banana is a raw product, easy to consume (just peel off the skin), cheap and which is very satiating thanks to its starch content;
  • It is rich in B vitamins, potassium and fibre, interesting for digestion and transit (it soothes it in case of diarrhea and stimulates it in case of constipation);
  • This fruit accelerates the feeling of satiety and limits the risk of snacking ;
  • Meals are supposed to be varied and balanced, which limits the risk of deficiencies;
  • the method recommendsto listen to one’s feelings (hunger and satiety), which is not the case with all diets;
  • Food intake has no no impact on social life (no food exclusion, no eviction from restaurants, etc.);
  • Finally, this diet is simple to implement and potentially induces weight loss.

The negatives of the banana diet

  • High consumption of bananas can generate transit disorders ;
  • It involves a risk of hypo or hyperglycaemia in vulnerable people ;
  • In the long run, this diet can get monotonous : Simple bananas can quickly turn out to be frustrating.
  • The risk of rweight gain persists when the diet is stopped and requires monitoring and regular training, insists Florence Foucaut.

Banana diet: what risks and contraindications?

“It is not dangerous to have a breakfast based solely on bananas if the other meals are complete and balanced”, believes Florence Foucaut, who is not convinced:

In my opinion, this diet is of little interest, but it is relatively harmless, unlike many others.

The expert, however, recommends simplicity: “Better to eat two slices of wholemeal or integral bread, accompanied by a dairy product and a fruit, pressed or not. These starchy foods provide slow sugars, which satiate for several hours”.

Another factor to take into account: once the sugar peak has passed, this breakfast can cause counterproductive cravings. And as often with “slimming” diets, you have to beware of the yoyo effect. “Nothing beats a balanced and varied diet, combined with regular physical activity,” insists the dietician-nutritionist.

However, some contraindications emerge:

the banana diet is not recommended at people with glucose intolerance, type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, insists the dietitian-nutritionist. Because ? The banana is a fruit rich in sugar: eating it alone in the morning can lead to significant variations in blood sugar levels.

This diet is also not recommended for people who need controlled potassium intake, such as people suffering from renal insufficiency or failure, specifies Florence Foucaut. Finally, she does not recommend this diet to pregnant women.

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