In an effort to lose weight and stay healthy, we’ve all tried every diet in the book, from the Weight Watcher’s diet to the South Beach diet, but this self-proclaimed "diet guru" believes the key to being fit and healthy is in eating up to 51 bananas a day. Australian YouTube sensation, Freelee the Banana Girl, captures the reputed benefits of a raw, vegan-based diet through video diaries of what she eats every day. Freelee’s diet involves consuming approximately 91 percent fruit — raising some eyebrows from medical experts and her followers.
“You don’t have to eat this many bananas; I’m just trying to show you that you have to eat big to be lean,” said Freelee in a YouTube video diary where she ate 51 bananas spread out over breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Freelee started her morning with a 20-banana smoothie for breakfast, 10 for lunch, and another 20 for dinner, which totals up to about 5,000 calories. Despite some initial bloating directly after having each smoothie, the diet guru’s stomach remains completely flat throughout the rest of the day. “There are so many people out there saying restrict your calories to lose weight, but it’s not true,” she said.
The Australian diet guru was inspired to jump-start her diet regimen after battling with eating disorders such as bulimia, which led to her always dieting, binge eating, and vomiting. Freelee credits her low fat, high carbohydrate, raw, vegan-based diet for her 40-pound weight loss. “Even though I smiled for the camera I was dying on the inside,” she wrote on her Instagram caption for a past and present photo.
Although the diet guru can have up to 51 bananas a day, her extreme diet usually consists of mono meals — made up of a single fruit — such as two entire pineapples in a sitting, or five mangoes, two liters of orange juice, or as many as 20 bananas at a time, News.com.au reported. Freelee also has a health mantra: raw until four. “Raw until four,” means the Australian woman cannot consume cooked or heated food until the afternoon, which is when she will bake potatoes in the oven. The low-processed and high-carbohydrate diet is not low on calories, as Freelee typically consumes 2,000 and 5,000 calories per day.
“There are some benefits to the diet. For example, a well-balanced vegan diet can be extremely healthy if managed correctly, however all vegans should pay particular attention to their iron and calcium intake in addition to a Vitamin B12 supplement,” Pigott told the Daily Mail. Freelee’s diet contains no food sources of vitamin B12, limited calcium, and little iron which can cause deficiencies in these nutrients and lead to an upset stomach, poor skin color, and easy bruising. Moreover, Pigott refutes Freelee’s claims and states the lack of portion control is unlikely to lead to any weight loss if the foods are consumed in these qualities.
Even trying the diet guru’s 51 bananas a day challenge could lead to serious health issues. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a banana contains 422 milligrams of potassium, which the heart could be particularly sensitive to. Eating excessive levels could eventually put a strain on the kidneys which will then require consumers to filter out the excess. The sweet fruit also contains 14 grams of sugar, which if consumed in great abundance — in combination with a high carbohydrate diet — can result in poor dental health and poor blood sugar control for those who suffer or are at risk for diabetes.
Others who have been under scrutiny for intense diet regimens include Australian blogger, Loni Jane Anthony, who eats up to 20 bananas a day on an 80:10:10 diet that is made up of 80 percent carbs, 10 percent fat, and 10 percent protein mainly consists of fruit and water. Anthony maintained her strict diet regimen while pregnant and recently gave birth to a baby boy by the name of Rowdy Nash. She told she is “living proof that you don’t have to become a whale when you’re pregnant,” News.com.au reported. The new mom still plans on doing the exact same things she’s doing now, such as eating big meals and lots of carbs, lots of fruit, veggies, big salads, pasta — except she’s consuming more good fats because she’s breastfeeding.
While Freelee and Anthony still have opponents who criticize their lifestyle choices, they still aim to promote what they consider healthy eating habits heavily contingent on fruits and vegetables. The Harvard School of Public Health suggests a diet of mostly vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, healthy fats, and healthy proteins, and to replace surgery beverages with water. A 2,000 calorie diet per day is used by food and drink companies to provide a general reference for calories on the Nutrition Facts label.