Monday, April 18, 2011

Worst Diet Tip #1: Don’t Eat Bananas, Carrots, Grapes

On this week’s Good Day Alabama nutrition segment, I talked about some of the worst diet tips I’ve heard. My number one pick was “don’t eat bananas”. Years ago, I overheard a conversation as I was trying on clothes in the dressing room of my favorite vintage/consignment shop (Zoe’s in Forest Park in Birmingham, Alabama). A well meaning but ill-informed patron was advising someone who wanted to lose some weight to give up bananas. She went on to explain that bananas were high in sugar and would make you fat. Somehow, I resisted the temptation to run out of the dressing room screaming “don’t listen to her, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about”. But why would she make such a ridiculous recommendation? Is there any truth there?

It is true that the calories in fruit come from sugar. That sugar is fructose. But that doesn’t mean that fruit is bad for you or will make you gain weight. There is solid research that foods that are low in calories that weigh a lot (meaning high water content and fiber) are filling and can lower the number of calories you eat. Whole fruits and vegetables – including bananas, carrots, and grapes – fall into this category. This is the basis for the very successful weight loss of the Volumetrics diet and our own UAB Eat Right program. The research shows that we eat the same weight of food every day. So if you want to lose weight, eat food that weighs a lot and is low in calories. You’ll fill up fast, get fewer calories, and over time, probably lose some weight!

Bottom line: bananas are nutritious, low calorie, travel well, and make a great food for people trying to lose weight.

The other bottom line? When it comes to weight loss, everyone thinks they are an expert. But beware of well-meaning experts – you could end up with bad advice.

Beth Kitchin, MS, RD

Assistant Professor, Nutrition Sciences
University of Alabama at Birmingham

14 comments:

  1. How do you know what diet to follow? Determining the right diet can be extremely confusing. Now you'll learn common sense reasons for what type of diet is the best to follow.

    Ostaderm Kaprex

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  2. Thank you so much. I've just started Weight Watchers and with the new Points Plus program, fruit and most veggies are 0 points. So I have many bananas as a go to snack when I'm feeling hungry. Of course I have apples, blueberries, strawberries and other fruits too. Feeling discouraged today, I've been surfing the net to find tips and advice. And of course I came across articles saying not to eat bananas. I was ready to donate them to my neighbor until I read your article. :)

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  3. When I'm dieting as I am now, bananas are my friend! They're tasty and convenient. I eat them sliced and mixed with yogurt and other fruits in the morning, and I'll usually have another by itself during the day. They're just under a calorie per gram, and come in one of the handiest, ready-to-eat packages nature has developed.

    My personal, non-expert approach in dieting is rigorous calorie counting, but not worrying about the source, so long as it's basically good food, and I'm getting more or less an equal mix the three basic nutrients: fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Or, more accurately, I avoid big disparities in the three.

    I'm careful about breads and rice, due to their "calorie density" and not the carbs as such. I use butter and oils, but very sparingly. I make it a point to eat some nuts each day - walnuts are my current favorite - but in very limited quantities, since they are high-calorie and high-fat.

    The one thing I do rigorously avoid is cheese pizza. I just love it, but sadly it's very high in calories, and having just one slice is very unsatisfying.

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  4. HEARING THIS SUCKS . MY DAILY RITUAL OF EATIN BANAS AND MILK FOR BREAKFAST IS NOW A THING OF THE PAST. I WAS DOING THIS TWICE A DAY AS SUBSTITUTES FOR MEALS. I WORK OUT TWO TO THREE HOURS A DAY , SEVEN DAYS A WEEK AND NOW I KNOW WHY I WAS NOT LOSING WEIGHT. SCREW YOU BANANAS AND MILK

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    Replies
    1. hi Anonymous! I think you misread the message! In this article, what I am saying is that "don't eat bananas" is a diet MYTH - it's a bad tip that well-meaning people make that is simply not true. Your bananas and milk ritual is healthy and a good choice! So keep eating/drinking your bananas and milk!

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    2. NONSENSE what you write! Do a better reading about the stuff. I am 85 and eating bananas almost my whole life, every single day!!!
      They are wonderful food, including my breakfast, never made me fat, neither I had to diet!!! etc. Don't worry, go back to your daily routine!

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  6. Hi! Thanks for resolving the banana controversy. You might want to note that if a person has been on an Atkins-type diet for any time at all, their metabolism is out of whack and when they inevitably return to a balanced diet their pathways will, ahem,"go bananas" and gratefully convert carbs to fat replacement. Claude Bernard lives! So to speak!

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  7. i love bananas, when i am on the smoothie diet i eat many every week, I use coconut milk, powdered peanut butter( health food stores), bananas, other fruits, nuts, sometimes ice..and I do fine. it also gives me the feeling of a treat with protein. jar it and take to work!i lose weight. mix it with a healthy meal in between and myfitnesspal.com and feel better!
    it's the coffee/ tea diets i gain weight on. i get so hungry in the eve. and tired.

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  8. Losing weight can be a difficult challenge. Proper guidance and a strong commitment are key to a successful weight loss diet plan.

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  9. I am trying to lose a few lbs 5-7 would be great! I have a thyroid disorder called Graves disease s my metabolism is out of wack, plus the medications I take haven't helped either. I am petite and was always a size 4, but now a size 6 is snug and an 8 is too big! I strength train with free weights, walk and dance, so I am active! The pills I take are beta blockers, anti depressants, Methimazole to regulate thyroid gland, and also Amphetimines called Adderall, these are all scripts that control symptoms of my disease! I have gained 10lbs, and I quit smoking a couple of months ago. My Dr said this is a minimum amt of weight to gain as most people gain 50 -100lbs with what I have! I have never been overweight in my life, and now have a muffin top which is driving me crazy! What can I do with a slow metabolism that was a high metabolism before I got sick after a robbery by gunpoint! I would appreciate any suggestions I am going on 60 yrs old, but am taken for being in my 40's Thank you!
    Lynda

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  10. so bananas are good or not? for dieting?...

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  11. I have been eating lots of carrots and grapes for my diet ! And I'm 12 ! I got invited to a pool party this Friday and Saturday ! And yea ! They are mostly my really good friends and they probably won't make fun of me(: But I just want to look skinnier and thinner for the party ! I usually wear tankinis and one pieces. But I thought that since I'm older, I should start wearing bikinis ! So I'm planning on wearing one(: Do you have any advice on making myself look skinnier and thinner in two days ?! Because I have been on a diet for a little while. I've been eating fruits and vegetables for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and I have been exercising for 30 minutes a night ! Nothing has been working !! Do you have any more advice I could have ? Like I said, I only have two days until the pool party !! Thank you so much !

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