The Banana Diet AKA the Gremlin Diet

Today I would like to talk about fad diets. Korea is hyper vigilant about weight and fad diets come and go like street fashion. Some of the interesting fad diets I’ve heard of here have been the yogurt diet, the grape diet, the watermelon diet, and, recently, the black garlic diet. Oh, and the timeless one is the kim, kimchi, and rice diet. Now, I believe that the next big diet- and it’s already starting to build up steam is the banana diet.

Apparently, a pharmacist in Japan started it for her fat husband and he lost 37 pounds on this diet over the course of a couple weeks. They wrote a book and have since sold over 730,000 copies of it.

Then a famous opera singer, Kumiko Mori, in Japan then did this diet and lost 15 pounds in 6 weeks. This was on September 19th and the next day the craze began. And I mean craze! Like there were articles in every magazine and there are little plastic lunch box things that are in the shape of…bananas. It’s just crazy!

Well, because of this diet there is a huge shortage of bananas and banana prices have jumped up 20% in Japan and Japan is trying to buy up reserves of bananas from all other parts of the world.

The diet is pretty simple. When you wake up, you can eat as many bananas as you’d like with room temperature water. Then you eat a normal lunch, a normal dinner, and a snack. Oh, no desserts. And you must not eat after 8pm and you have to go to sleep by midnight.

Now if you do all of those things, then you’ll lose weight. If you miss one step… then you’ll turn into a gremlin.

These days, I’ve noticed that bananas are disappearing from the supermarket. Around the first week of November, I bought a bunch of bananas for 1,900 won. I specifically remember paying that price because I was writing a short story on bananas then. Then Thanksgiving weekend, I bought a bunch of bananas and the price was 3,000 won. Maybe it’s the currency exchange, or it’s the beginning of the fad.

You watch, as soon as a celebrity in Korea does the diet and loses weight, everyone in Korea will follow suit.

I’ve been trying to figure out how this diet actually works and I couldn’t really find any proof that it works or not. Everyone has a different theory. The bananas are supposedly full of fiber, so when they are in the stomach they bulk up get rid of hunger pangs. Other people say that green bananas have a “metabolism-boosting resistant starch.” The question then is: “Is there more of this metablism-boosting resistant starch in really green bananas?” Also, this idea of metabolism-boosting resistant starch should be bad, right? Because it boosts the metabolism but resists it? Geez, it’s like well-being Choco pies and pizza in Korea- it just doesn’t make sense.

Anyway, I really think bananas are going to take off as a fad in Korea but for a slightly different reason in Japan.

When I was 4 years old, bananas in Korea were really expensive and exotic. I used to run around the streets dreaming about the taste of bananas just because they were something unattainable.

One story I’ve heard is that US soldiers would hand them out to kids during the Korean war and this started the fascination.

Anyway, they cost like 5,000 won for one banana. People would buy these and give them
sick relatives because they thought they were the new miraculous cure for arthritis, impotence, old age, and cancer. I’m not kidding. I mention this story to other Koreans and they tell me the same thing. The banana was like something holy or…gold.
Kids would take them to School and they would just show off the yellow trophy. They wouldn’t eat it. The banana was a symbol of their importance.

So I bet you as soon as the banana prices go up, more and more people will get into bananas because they are just nostalgic.

So…start stocking up on bananas or, for some enterprising person, it might be a good idea to open up a banana café or restaurant.

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