Weight Loss - ban the Banana?

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    Apr 16, 2008 11:40 AM GMT
    I've been trying to lose 10 Ibs for a while now with absoluately no success.
    I've decided to start using FitDay again and will try to stick to it.

    Thing is I just entered todays breakfast of a protein shake with a banana only to learn that a banana has 28g of carbs... what the heck!

    SInce I'm going on a low(ish) carb diet, should I BANana?

    I should mention that this is drunk POST workout, I can't workout with a full stomach...
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    Apr 16, 2008 4:00 PM GMT
    I don't think you need to necessarily ban it, although the banana is the one fruit that is often not on low carb or cutting diets. That being said bananas do have some redeeming properties, like a not to shabby 3 grams of fiber.

    I think if you are going to eat a banana eating it for breakfast is the time to eat it. Your body simply handles carbs better in the AM.

    In moderation a banana won't hurt you and it can be one of the best sources of carbs and potassium, prior to a cardio workout or endurance event or right after a heavy exertion. I keep them on hand for those occasional times when I have really over done it and my head is pounding and I feel sick. A banana eaten slowly is about the best medicine in the world for that.

    Like most things, its the moderation and timing that are key. Eat them if you enjoy them in the AM, just don't eat them multiple times per day. If you find its hard to hit your carb goals with them or you aren't losing at all them substitute an alternative that you enjoy; apples and oranges come to mind. But give the fitday tracking a week for your body to adjust before you whack them out all together.
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    Apr 16, 2008 5:01 PM GMT
    Im gunna be honest this whole low carb thing is crap. you lose weight by having a caloric deficit. I got into amazing shape when I was eatting three bananas every day.
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    Apr 16, 2008 9:18 PM GMT
    I try to keep my carbs limited, too, so I'd probably just eat half of that banana at a time.

    I find that limiting my consumption of carbs (eliminating added sugar, limiting carbs to no more than 20g at a sitting) evens out my blood sugar swings and thus helps me manage my hunger better. So while the calorie deficit may be the specific weight-loss factor, the fact is low-carb allows me to stay on my diet for long enough to lose weight, and so, for that reason, has been a more effective approach for me.

    Low-carb diets have been around for quite a while longer than Dr. Atkins. Maria Callas dropped all her weight in the 1950's using this approach, and I've been using low-carb for weight loss since I was in college (i.e., almost a decade before Chungo44 was born) and I was introduced to it by friend of mine who was an Olympic swimmer whose coach taught him how.

    So there really is no one-size-fits-all approach, and what works for one person doesn't for another for a variety of reasons.

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    Apr 17, 2008 1:08 AM GMT
    chungo44 saidIm gunna be honest this whole low carb thing is crap. you lose weight by having a caloric deficit. I got into amazing shape when I was eatting three bananas every day.

    Chungo is right. Low carb diets tend to treat carbs as one large food group which is misguided. You need to cut the junk carbs out of your diet. These mostly come in the form of starches and highly refined foods. Carbs in the form whole fruits and veggies are great and aren't going to make you fat or stand in the way of weight loss. Refined grains, breads, potato chips, soda, processed sugars and beer are all high in calories in the form of carbs and have little nutritional value. All carbs are not created equal and no one has ever gotten fat eating bananas or broccoli.

    That said I think bananas are the most vile thing I have ever tasted and would suggest no on ever eat them again.
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    Apr 17, 2008 1:28 AM GMT
    Build Better Bones with Bananas

    Build better bones by eating bananas? Yes, enjoying bananas frequently as part of your healthy way of eating can help improve your body's ability to absorb calcium via several mechanisms.

    Bananas are an exceptionally rich source of fructooligosaccharide, a compound called a prebiotic because it nourishes probiotic (friendly) bacteria in the colon. These beneficial bacteria produce vitamins and digestive enzymes that improve our ability to absorb nutrients, plus compounds that protect us against unfriendly microorganisms. When fructooligosaccharides are fermented by these friendly bacteria, not only do numbers of probiotic bacteria increase, but so does the body's ability to absorb calcium. In addition, gastrointestinal transit time is lessened, decreasing the risk of colon cancer.

    Green bananas contain indigestible (to humans) short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that are a favorite food of the cells that make up the lining of the intestines. When these cells are well-nourished and healthy, the body's ability to absorb nutrients such as calcium can increase dramatically.

    Research published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences underscores just how much bananas can improve nutrient absorption. In this study, 57 male babies (5-12 months) with persistent diarrhea of at least 14 days duration were given a week's treatment with a rice-based diet containing either green banana, apple pectin or the rice diet alone. Treatment with both green banana and apple pectin resulted in a 50% reduction in stool weights, indicating that the babies were absorbing significantly more nutrients.

    Also, to check how well their intestines were able to absorb nutrients, the babies were given a drink containing lactulose and mannitol. Lactulose is a compound that should be absorbed, while mannitol is one that should not be. When the intestines are too permeable, a condition clinicians call "leaky gut," too little lactulose and too much mannitol are absorbed. After just one week of being given the green banana-rice diet, the babies' were absorbing much more lactulose and little mannitol, showing that their intestines were now functioning properly.

    Some banana cultivars are also rich in provitamin A carotenoids, which have been shown to protect against chronic disease, including certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. How to identify which bananas contain the most carotenoids? Check the color of their edible flesh. Bananas whose flesh is more golden contain the most carotenoids.

    Cardiovascular Protection from Potassium and Fiber

    Bananas are one of our best sources of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Since the average banana contains a whopping 467 mg of potassium and only 1 mg of sodium, a banana a day may help to prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis.

    The effectiveness of potassium-rich foods such as bananas in lowering blood pressure has been demonstrated by a number of studies. For example, researchers tracked over 40,000 American male health professionals over four years to determine the effects of diet on blood pressure. Men who ate diets higher in potassium-rich foods, as well as foods high in magnesium and cereal fiber, had a substantially reduced risk of stroke.

    A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine also confirms that eating high fiber foods, such as bananas, helps prevent heart disease. Almost 10,000 American adults participated in this study and were followed for 19 years. People eating the most fiber, 21 grams per day, had 12% less coronary heart disease (CHD) and 11% less cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to those eating the least, 5 grams daily. Those eating the most water-soluble dietary fiber fared even better with a 15% reduction in risk of CHD and a 10% risk reduction in CVD.

    In addition to these cardiovascular benefits, the potassium found in bananas may also help to promote bone health. Potassium may counteract the increased urinary calcium loss caused by the high-salt diets typical of most Americans, thus helping to prevent bones from thinning out at a fast rate.


    Weight Loss Diet


    Obesity is one of the most significant public health problems facing the United States. Excess weight is associated with increased risk for many diseases including diabetes, certain types of cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

    Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet for weight loss, and many overweight people struggle for years to shed unwanted pounds. Researchers now believe that successful and permanent weight loss is only possible with comprehensive lifestyle changes that address eating behaviors, physical activity, and psychological factors such as goal-setting and self-esteem issues.

    Losing weight is virtually impossible without cutting back on calories, but calorie restriction should not be so severe that you are hungry all of the time or that you are unable to attain sufficient amounts of essential nutrients.

    The best approach is to moderately restrict calories and increase physical activity, so that you are able to burn more calories than you take in. A healthy weight-loss diet should include lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans. To help reduce caloric intake, cut back on sweetened beverages, and high-fat, high-calorie desserts and snack foods.

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    Apr 17, 2008 1:46 AM GMT
    Bananas make my mouth all hurty.icon_sad.gif
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    Apr 17, 2008 5:04 AM GMT
    JockTrainee said(eliminating added sugar, limiting carbs to no more than 20g at a sitting)

    I'm no expert, but only 20 carbs per sitting seems far to little! When I started dieting, I modeled my diet after a diabetics' diet. I work with handicap people, and several of them have different stages of diabetes. Even though they are not allowed to have much sugar, they are required to have carbs. So that is what I started watching. Basically, every 15 carbs is counted as a point, and for breakfast, there are 3 points, lunch 4, and dinner 4. Snacks in between should be 1 no more than 2. Last week, I ignored these rules with one of my client, and actually got in trouble because he only ate salad, which doesn't have any real carb values.

    A banana can easily fit into any diet, but make sure that you are counting it at it's value. I've been on this diet for a few months now, and with regular exercise, I've lost over 30 pounds. Granted, that's not your goal, but I've found it an easy system because I don't ever feel hunger except for right at the time of a meal or late at night.

    Good luck on your goal. Hope this helps you!