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Posted by on Aug 30, 2009 in Commentary | 0 comments

Fad diets in Korean newspapers

Fad diets in Korean newspapers

Koreans are not immune to the appeal of trendy new diets, it seems. Despite the fact that only 3 percent of Koreans are obese, they have become very alarmed at the prospect of ballooning to American-esqe proportions. Fad diets have seem to be more popular than ever.

The newspaper Chosun-Ilbo, published an article about the Banana Diet, which originated in Japan and is now becoming increasing popular in Korea, thanks to the internet.

The Morning Banana Diet owes much of its massive popularity to its simplicity: a breakfast of one banana and warm water as soon as you wake up in the morning, and you can eat lunch and dinner as usual.

The diet equation is one banana plus one glass of room-temperature water at breakfast equals weight loss. This diet was so popular in Japan that there were nationwide banana shortages, according to the Chosun Ilbo. (I’m sure that made Chaquita, Del Monte and Dole happy.)

There’s even an English language forum for Americans who want to use this diet as a part of their weight-loss or -maintenance regimen. Do Americans really need another excuse to eat bananas? According to the official Dole Food Company website,

Bananas are the most popular fruit in the United States. Americans eat an average of 28 pounds of bananas per person per year. That equals about 112 bananas per person per year.

To be successful on this diet, the average American, who already eats lots of bananas, would need to triple their banana intake per year. However, according to Culinate.com, Ugandans eat 500 pounds of bananas a year.

The Japanese inventors of this diet claim that the reasons for the efficacy of this diet include:

Easy digetibility

“The key to the Morning Banana Diet is to have a regular intake of food that is easy on the stomach, at least for breakfast,” the Watanabes say.

Rehydration

Bananas have a high percentage of water — 70 percent. Adding a glass of room-temperature water to the mix helps rehydrate a person after eight hours of sleep.

Vitamins, enzymes and amino acids

Bananas are also rich in serotonin, which calms the nerves, reduces stress, and curbs the appetite.” The abundance of potassium found in bananas also helps relieve edema, while the fruit’s fiber and antioxidant polyphenol are good for the skin and prevent constipation.

Bananas are also a good source of vitamins C and B6, both of which are beneficial to the immune system.

However, there are several reasons that this diet is not a one-size-fits-all recipe for long-term weight loss.

Calories

Although a banana only has about 105 calories, a lot of those calories are in the form of sugar. That can cause an increase in insulin production, which can contribute to weight gain, rather than weight loss. My grandfather, of blessed memory, developed type 2 diabetes during the last 10 years of his life. He used to enjoy eating bananas every morning with his bran-flake cereal. After his blood sugar started spiking, the first food the doctor told my grandfather to cut out were his morning bananas.

Glycemic index

Bananas are in the medium range on the glycemic scale — 51–54 — and they are higher in carbohydrates — about 27 grams per serving — than recommended for high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets, like the Atkin’s Diet or even the South Beach diet in early phases.

According to Nutritiondata.com, about 93 percent of the calories in a banana comes from carbohydrates. High carbohydrate levels in bananas were blamed for the spikes in my grandfather’s blood sugar.

Allergies

For people who are allergic to natural latex — used in surgical gloves, condoms, etc. — may be allergic to bananas as well. It’s called latex-fruit syndrome and can also be found in people with allergies to other tropical fruits such as avocado, mango and kiwi. Reactions range from skin rashes and hives to anaphylaxis, which is life-threatening.

Some people may also have an intolerance for the banana protein chitinase. The symptoms can be similar to those of lactose intolerance, including diarrhea, cramps, indigestion and vomiting.

In conclusion, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diet. Some might call this a fad diet, but it’s not nearly as dangerous as the cabbage soup or grapefruit diets of previous generations. Bananas are quick, portable and easy to eat. The wrapper is biodegradable as well, and make an excellent rose food.

The above opinionated views and information serves to educate and inform the consumer. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. It should not replace professional advise and consultation. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.

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