In The Mystery of Bananas – Conversation III, I talked about the “mysterious power of bananas”, that banana is the ideal food to eat before a workout. This is because bananas not only are loaded with carbohydrates, but they also have a relatively low GI, which means that they are digested slowly. Because of these properties of bananas, it is suggesting that bananas may improve exercise capacity if they are eaten two hours before exercising.
This time I am going to share with you another two random conversations I had with two other people regarding bananas.
On one hectic day in the office, I was so busy and I did not manage to have time to eat during lunch hour. When I was about to starve to death in the late afternoon, the generous Miss G at this very moment handed me a tasty little bun, I thankfully accepted it and ate it straight away. She was like Mother Teresa saving a starving child. Yeah, I know, I know what you are thinking, it is quite an exaggeration. Anyway, the next day, I gave Miss G my favourite fruit – a banana – so as to thank her for her generosity and for saving my life the day before.
The next day, Miss G came to me and told me that coincidentally someone else also gave her a banana to show appreciation for the favour she did for this other person. This is how our conversation about bananas started.
Miss G told me that she likes bananas but she does not often eat them because bananas contain exactly the same amount of carbohydrate as a bowl of rice, which, as Miss G believes, could easily make you gain weight and get fat if eating too much. Miss G also admitted that she is on the chubby side.
This is the moment when the Descartes side of me started to act out – I started to doubt about what Miss G’s comments on the carbohydrate content in bananas.
When I got home, I did what most people do when they need to look for information about anything. I went on Google and typed in “banana carbs”, and then I opened another Google page and typed in “rice carbs”. Here is what I discovered:
Let alone all the other nutritional contents not counted, I was amazed to see that the amount of carbohydrate exists per 100 grams of banana is exactly the same as that of rice, in other words, they both on average contain roughly 23g – i.e. 7% – of carbs.
Apart from the conversation with Miss G who believes that eating too many bananas would make one fat, I also had another similar conversation regarding weight gain with Mr M. But this time is not about banana, it is about banana…bread.
I love banana bread. It is very delicious especially when it is toasted and with a huge spread of butter. I once thought that banana bread is a healthy choice of food because it contains banana, until I had a conversation with Mr M about my love for banana bread.
Mr M told me that banana bread is absolutely not a healthy choice of food, and it should be considered as a type of cake rather. A cake with fruit in it is still a cake, he said, it contains a significant amount of sugar and fat, especially those you buy from coffee shops, therefore, it is not a health food at all.
Again, my Descrates side of me immediately started to act out, partly because Mr M does not strike me as one of those health conscious geeks who eat only natural food which contains no sweeteners, no preservatives, no this and no that, and who watch their calorie intake every time they eat.
As listed in Fatsecret.com,
in one slice of banana bread with margarine, there are 196 calories ,with calorie breakdown of 29% fat, 67% carbs, 4% protein;
while in a medium banana, there are 105 calories, with calorie breakdown of 3% fat, 92% carbs, 5% protein.
Oh well, given all the evidence, I shall admit that Miss G’s and Mr M’s comments on the unhealthy side of bananas and banana bread are worthy of consideration.
However, as for me, interested in making philosophy relevant to our daily life, I believe the concept of the “Golden Mean” can be applied to almost everything in life, including our diet.
I believe that for most food, including bananas, can be consumed by following the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean.
That is to say that…One does everything in moderation. One eats anything in an appropriate amount. Nothing in excess and nothing in deficiency. Preserved by the mean.
“…it is the nature of such things to be destroyed by defect and excess, as we see in the case of strength and of health; both excessive and defective exercise destroys the strength, and similarly drink or food which is above or below a certain amount destroys the health, while that which is proportionate both produces and increases and preserves it.”
– Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics