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Emily Baines
April 18, 2016 11:28 am

We at Hello Giggles don’t like to criticize other people’s lifestyles. But when we see a potentially unhealthy lifestyle, we must speak out.

A recent article in the India Times described nutritionist Yulia Tarbath‘s “banana island” diet. For twelve days straight Tarbath ate nothing but bananas. She went on this diet both to detoxify her body and to lose weight. Tarbath has been in the news before discussing her raw-vegan diet and lifestyle while pregnant.

Yes, research shows that bananas are actually a perfect fit in your weight loss diet plan. A six inch banana has about 90 calories, and the fiber in bananas is soluble, which means bananas can absorb water and slow down digestion. But to solely consume bananas for a consecutive twelve days? We’re not sure about this.

This fruity diet doesn’t just stop at bananas. According to Buzzfeed, others have followed  this diet (also called the Monomeal Diet), eating watermelons, orange slices, and apples.

Okay, first, let’s go over the specifics of what the banana-only diet entails:

  • You can eat all the bananas you desire. Yet, bananas (or whatever fruit you choose) are all you can eat. If you are desperate to shake things up, you can occasionally add lettuce.
  • You must eat your usual calories. No calorie-restrictions are allowed. This, at least, makes sense.
  • You must drink plenty of water.
  • This diet is no excuse not to exercise.
  • Allow yourself to rest, as your body will be experience a “deep detox and restoration,” according to Tarbath.

These are the symptoms Tarbath reported experiencing in her YouTube post and blog:

  • Absolutely no detox symptoms. She claims she “felt amazing throughout the whole journey.”
  • Clarity of mind.
  • “Beautiful, glowing skin.”
  • Improved flexibility.
  • “Energy, energy and more energy!” Tarbath claims the banana-only diet gave her the energy to attempt all kinds of fitness activities, including cross-fit, cycling, and weight training. In fact, she also says she ran over thirteen miles up and down the Thailand mountain Doi Suthep and recovered in half the amount of time, without any leg soreness whatsoever.

Please note, she has no scientific data to back up any of these claims. Most of these involve a state of mind.

We asked Dr. David Heber, Founding Director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition and Founding Chief of the Division of Clinical Nutrition and author of The LA Shape Diet, for his input. He said:

Curious about the phrase colorful fruits and vegetables? Nutritionists suggest eating “a rainbow of colors” because there are different micronutrients — like vitamins, antioxidants, and phytonutrients — in different kinds of food. If you restrict yourself to solely eating oranges or apples, your body isn’t getting, for example, the beta-carotene in carrots and sweet potatoes, not to mention the lycopene in tomatoes and red bell peppers.

And that’s just the tip of the essential nutrient iceberg! Combining different foods can help you absorb nutrients even more thoroughly. For example, eggs contain iron. If you eat foods with vitamin C, such as spinach, with those eggs, you’ll absorb even more of the iron. (This is why people love to combine beans and rice, which when eaten together work as a complete protein.)

Dr. Heber isn’t the only one to speak out against this diet. Shape.com spoke to holistic nutritionist Laura Lagano, R.D., about the banana-island diet. She, too, was quite firm in her disdain:

So, next time you feel like trying this mono-fruit diet — which, if Instagram is to be believed, has thousands of practitioners — think long and hard. Look into the actual science of the diet. And remember: being “thin” isn’t all there is to being healthy.

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