On the Hunt for the Killer Banana

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On the Hunt for the Killer Banana


“It was the Fitness Instructor on the tennis court with the killer banana,” said Cluedo after much deliberation.  A banana, a weapon of deadly proportions?  Surely not.  The humble banana is the staple ingredient of any fitness-inducing, weight loss promoting smoothie.  It cannot be the case that there is even such a thing as too many bananas.  Well, don’t shoot the messenger, this is simply what I have been told.


I had a conversation some time ago with a Chiropractor who asked me where I got my energy from on an especially busy day in the fitness suite.  “Bananas,” I quipped, which isn’t always or wholly or completely strictly true, but I do like a banana or two.  I was immediately rebuked and it was suggested that my banana intake of no more than two a day was two too many.  Baffled, but with the word Hyperkalemia ringing in my ears, I headed home for a post-workout meal (sans banana) and a good night’s sleep.


You can imagine the sort of dreams I had.  Giant bananas rampaging through the gym after me, tormenting me with their large slippery skins like mutant fly catchers lying in wait to swallow me whole.  Well actually I didn’t dream any such thing, thinking that it must be utter nonsense.  I did however wake with a new purpose, the desire to find out just how many bananas is too many and really, how dangerous is the humble yellow fruit lurking in my unsuspecting fruit bowl?


The short answer is a dozen plus.  A day.  A day?  Yes.  Impossible?  Yes, I would think so.


The excessive eating of bananas can cause, amongst other things:

  1. Headaches
  2. Sleepiness (bananas contain the amino acid tryptophan, also found in turkey and apparently responsible for the post Christmas-lunch snooze. Usually I put that down to inactivity, boredom or a desire to escape present company, oh and, in my specific case, Doctor Who which I have never been able to take to, and which I sleep through every year completely on cue (apologies Who fans.))
  3. Hyperkalemia (triggered by the ingestion of too much potassium, causing nausea, changes to pulse rate and potentially cardiac arrest).
  4. Nerve Damage (linked to too much vitamin B6 but it actually takes approximately 100 daily bananas to induce this – I am definitely safe; I do believe even our very distant ape cousins in the forests of Borneo would also struggle with this).
  5. And finally (but not exhaustively no doubt), tooth decay. You would again need to consume an absurd number of bananas and have a very limited all round diet for this to really be a problem, especially given the array of foods we already know to be sugar laden and damaging to our teeth.


Phew, there you have it, a semi-prescriptive list of the perils of banana eating at a rate of approximately 12 a day.


The bottom line of advice being, keep your banana ingestion to ‘normal levels’ and try to maintain a healthy and varied diet of other fruit and vegetables.  Equally, given that bananas do not contain fat and very little protein, they should not necessarily be your post-workout go to meal unless you pair them with something such as yogurt, nuts or other protein-rich foods.  I think it remains only to say that a banana pick-me-up is still more than acceptable and, no doubt, race organisers will continue to stack banana boxes along the finish line of any endurance race for the foreseeable future.  As for me, I’m not often found without a banana and I won’t be changing that any time soon.  The nearest to peril this brings me is finding a forgotten banana half in my bag and realising the soggy contents have leached into my sports bra.

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