Saturday, July 22, 2006

The myth of the fattening banana

I've been on a health binge recently, trying to make my fatties go away, and apparently I've been rather successful -- I'm now below 60 kg -- about 130 pounds! (When I started working for MNC, my co-workers and I first visited the company gym and weighed ourselves, and I was 66 kg). And this excites me very much, because it's been gradual and has come from working out five days a week, 30 minutes a day, and eating fewer sweets/fried street foods/outside food.

I feel really proud and happy when the office girls congratulate me instead of playfully slapping my ass and mocking my callipygian wonder (I have no idea why any of them thought this was a way to make their bumbling, quiet firang friend come out of her shell, but so be it). But sometimes, letting people know that you're trying to "reduce" is more a hazard than anything else.

Let's take lunchtime -- I try and stick to some a chappati or rice, a bowl of dal, and perhaps some juice for dessert. Once or twice a week I'll throw in paneer, because...paneer! Delish! To me, it seems sensible, small portions, protein, not too much fat. But Haha and Tata's eyes boggle when I meander over to a table of fruit and return triumphant, banana in hand.

"Oh, that is so fattening! Why do you even work out if you're going to eat this?" Tata remonstrates. Usually I let this fly, but earlier this week I lost it.

"Who told you this? Even if a banana has a high proportion of fat in it, the banana in and of itself has so few calories that for it to be a true threat to my waistline, I'd have to eat 10 or so," I spit, citing the wisdom of my stepbrother, a health nut who even majored in exercise science.

She looks a little confused, maybe even hurt. "Well, my fitness trainer, first thing, told me I couldn't eat bananas. Or rice. I haven't had the bananas or the rice for about three months. This" (pointing at Haha's plate of malpua, a deadly combination of sugar, milk, ghee, and fried goodness) "is just the same as eating a banana, he was saying."

"Bakwas!" I nearly shout, slamming my hands down on the table, disgusted that anyone would take the advice of a iron-pumping bohunk hired to oil his biceps and look down his nose at the mere mortals with, you know, body fat and curves and lusciousness.

At this point I'm feverishly rubbing the banana, dreaming of the months in Kerala when I would walk home, stopping at the corner shop to have a man hack three different kinds of bananas off the vine (or whatever you would call the...umm...banana stalk) and I would sip kaapi with the girls of Unity and shove them, two at a time, down my gullet.

Even if they are fattening -- which I don't buy (and many folks on the Internets agree with me) -- you can have SOME fat in your diet so long as you're also excercising and generally eating balanced meals. Where do these food myths come from? And why do we perpetrate them?

I suppose I should take Tata's reaction with a grain of salt; she was dishing out the critique over a duo of veg burgers (deep fried cutlets of potato slathered in mayonnaise and wrapped in a thick bun of refined white flour) and "franch fries" at during our power lunch. Sigh...


Venitha said...

LOL. I remember my husband years ago saying he felt he was gaining weight and he needed to stop eating so many bananas. I laughed until I realized he was serious. Where does this come from?

Anonymous said...

Hi There,

I am wondering why would anyone complain about 130lbs? is it that high?. I would trade my 185lbs for 130 on any day. If I remember well, you posted your pic longtime back. You looked svelte!!!

I think Indians lose their sleep over skin color, and americans lose sleep over weight watching!! not to mention the dreaded swimsuits!!!


Never Just An Ordinary Girl said...

I have no idea! I don't understand the myth of the fattening banana. Is it because its color/consistency is similar to lard? I donno.

Ah yes, 130 pounds -- well, it's not that high, but it's not where I'd like to be. I'm relatively short, so shedding just a few more kilos would put me in tip top shape.

ggop said...

A banana is almost fat free! Sure there is sugar/carbs but its got to be better for you than processed food or an energy bar. Amazing how both bananas and rice get a bad rap in India.

Anonymous said...

Wierd fact: Did you know celery has more potassium than a banana?! Careful, bananas are high glycemic and spike blood sugar levels thus disrupting long-term energy levels.

I would recommend eating one before physical activity for that extra burst of energy. As for fat? Check out this article: