Are Bananas and Berries a Bad Combo? The Truth Revealed!

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘New Study Says ‘No To Bananas & Berries Together’ | Is It True?’ by Simnett Nutrition

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Written by: Recapz Bot

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How does it work?
Combining bananas with berries reduces flavanol absorption in the body.

Key Insights

  • A study conducted by the University of California Davis concluded that consuming bananas with berries reduces the absorption of flavanols found in berries.
  • Flavanols have several health benefits, including cardiometabolic benefits, improving insulin sensitivity, reversing age-related memory decline, and helping to prevent certain types of cancers.
  • Polyphenol oxidase, an enzyme found in high concentrations in bananas, reduces the absorption of flavanols in the body.
  • The study used participants who consumed smoothies made either with berries alone or with bananas, as well as a control group that took a flavanol capsule.
  • Participants who consumed the smoothie with bananas had 84% lower levels of flavanols in their bodies compared to the control group and the banana-free smoothie group.
  • The study suggests avoiding combining high polyphenol oxidase fruits like bananas with flavanol-rich fruits like berries, grapes, and cocoa if maximizing flavanol absorption is a concern.
  • The reduction in flavanol absorption doesn't make the smoothies harmful or toxic but simply decreases their effectiveness.
  • Bananas still offer nutritional benefits, and the study's findings are not significant enough to warrant changing one's eating habits unless maximizing flavanol absorption is highly important.
  • Other foods, including dark leafy greens, onions, chocolate, legumes, and grains, also contain flavanols.
  • The benefits of fruits, including bananas and berries, outweigh the potential decrease in flavanol absorption.
  • The limitations of the study include a small sample size, only male participants, exclusion of vegans and vegetarians, and the use of frozen bananas.
  • Polyphenol oxidase has potential therapeutic benefits for cancer therapy but should not be considered harmful.
  • The study was funded by Mars Inc., a chocolate company, which aims to study cocoa flavanols for health benefits.
  • The video creator will continue enjoying banana and berry smoothies and trust the larger body of evidence supporting the health benefits of fruit consumption.

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Hey everyone, welcome back to another video. I’m Derek from SimNet Nutrition and if you follow me, you will know I absolutely love my banana and berry smoothies. And I guess because of this and me being a nutritionist, a bunch of people have been sending me this study that recently came out on August 24th, asking my opinion on it, asking if it’s going to change things for me, change the way I eat.

And basically, the study concluded that if you want to maximize the amount of nutrition that you get from berries, you’re going to want to have them away from bananas.

So I’m definitely not like a nutrition scientist or anything, so if I make any mistakes or you think I missed anything, you have any questions or you have anything that you want to add, definitely put them in the comment section down below and I will add a link to the study in the description box.

This study that was done by the University of California Davis concluded that the enzyme polyphenol oxidase, found in high concentrations in bananas, reduces the amount of flavanols, which are found in berries, that we are able to absorb and utilize. Flavanols are good for us in a number of different ways. They’re mostly recognized for their cardiometabolic benefits. They can help increase nitric oxide production, they can improve insulin sensitivity, they’ve also been found to help reverse age-related memory decline, help ward off certain types of cancers. So they’re definitely something we want to have lots of in our diet.

Polyphenol oxidase is an enzyme that’s present in pretty much all fruits and vegetables, but is significantly highest in bananas. So here’s a chart showing polyphenol oxidase content of some foods, bananas obviously being the highest by far, followed by beet greens, then apples, then some other foods with considerably less. And you’ve all seen this enzyme work. It’s activated when it is exposed to oxygen, which is why when you cut open a food that contains this enzyme, it begins to turn brown.

So there are definitely a few different parts to this study and if you like to nerd out on this kind of stuff, definitely check the study out to see how they tested for all this stuff. But basically what they did was they took the study participants and they had them drink either a smoothie made from berries and other low polyphenol oxidase ingredients, or one similar that also included bananas that represented the high polyphenol oxidase smoothie. And then there was also a control group who took a flavanol capsule that contained a similar amount of flavanols to both the other smoothies. Before and after consumption, blood and urine samples were analyzed to measure how much flavanols were present in the body.

The researchers found that those who drank the high polyphenol oxidase smoothie, the one containing the bananas, had 84% lower levels of flavanols in their body compared to the control and similarly lower levels to just the banana free smoothie. The lead author reported that they were really surprised to see how quickly adding a single banana decreased the level of flavanols in the smoothie and the levels of flavanol absorbed in the body. This highlights how food preparation and combinations can affect the absorption of dietary compounds in foods. He also went on to say that bananas remain a great fruit to be eaten or consumed in smoothies. For those who want to consume smoothies with bananas or other high polyphenol oxidase activity fruits and vegetables such as beet greens, the suggestion is to not combine them with flavanol rich fruits such as berries, grapes, and cocoa.

So knowing this, am I going to change my ways? Am I going to stop having banana and berry smoothies? Heck no. I’m going to continue having them. I absolutely love them. I feel great after having them and I still think it’s an extremely healthful thing to consume. So it’s not that the flavanols were completely blocked from being absorbed. They were just reduced. So you’re still definitely getting some of those benefits and it’s not like it turned into some harmful chemical that’s going to make you sick or it’s going to be toxic or anything like that. No, it just reduced the absorption. But I will admit, the findings are interesting and I definitely learned something.

The thing I love about bananas is that they are always available in stores, they ripen on the counter, they’re relatively cheap, they’re one of the highest calorie fruits that you can buy, and they are just so delicious and they make smoothies so good. So yeah, maybe sometimes I’ll consider having like mangoes as that high calorie fruit that I have in my smoothies rather than bananas just to like maximize the amount of flavanols that I’m going to absorb from my smoothie, but it’s honestly not going to change much for me. And besides, flavanols are not the only health promoting component that are in berries. They’re also full of other vitamins and minerals, other antioxidants, fiber, and it’s not the only time that I consume berries. I have berries as a snack, I have them with like a salad at dinner sometimes, and berries are not the only flavanol-rich foods that I consume. There’s flavanols in lots of the foods that we eat, including dark leafy greens, other fruit, onions, chocolate, legumes like beans and lentils, it’s also in grains. So it’s not like my banana and berry smoothie are the only place that I’m getting these flavanols. So I’m not going to worry too much about it. You probably shouldn’t either, unless you’re like recovering from some cardiac event or something like that and you really want to maximize the amount of flavanols that you’re absorbing. Yeah, it might be something you want to pay attention to, but otherwise, I’m not too worried about it.

So the thing with these studies and why I don’t review them often is because if you get too caught up in these minute details of what inhibits the absorption of this and how this affects this, the things that shouldn’t be eaten together, it’s really easy to get like analysis paralysis. And that’s when you just like have too many things to consider. You don’t really know, you know, you just end up having all these roadblocks. You don’t know what to do. And then you just like throw up your arms and you’re like, okay, I don’t even know what’s healthy anymore. I’m just going to have like a burger. I’m just going to have pizza. I’m not even going to care about my health because everything’s going to kill us. No, that’s not what you want to do. So just know that, you know, fruits, bananas, berries in whatever combination that you’re going to have them, however you’re going to have them prepared are still going to be extremely healthful foods, whole foods for the win every time.

But you’ll have to let me know in the comments down below, is this going to change the way you eat? Are you going to stop having banana and berry smoothies? I hope not because they’re amazing.

Just quickly before I close this video off, I figured it’s worth mentioning some of the limitations of the study. So obviously the people that did this study are much smarter than me. UC Davis is a well known school that has a very good reputation for doing good studies. So I’m not saying it was badly done or anything like that, but there’s some stuff that was pretty obvious to me. It was a very small study size sample. In part one, there were eight volunteers and in part two, there were 11. They were all males and for whatever reason, vegans and vegetarians were not part of the study as per the exclusion criteria. So I don’t know why that was, but it would have been interesting to see them as part of it because we know that vegetarians and especially vegans have very different microbiome to people who eat an omnivorous diet.

So they did find that the enzyme starts to break down those flavonols before it even enters the intestines, before it hits your microbiome and all that. It actually happens right when you blend it and then also in the stomach. But it still would have been cool to see some vegans or vegetarians involved in the study.

Something else that I noticed is that they used frozen bananas. So if you have ever frozen a banana and then let it thaw, you will know that it turns brown and pretty nasty very quickly. So I almost wonder if that didn’t like

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘New Study Says ‘No To Bananas & Berries Together’ | Is It True?’ by Simnett Nutrition