30 Bananas a Day!

Banana Mono Diet: Too much potassium and not enough sodium?

I know I'm doing a lot of banana posts but this is something I'd really like to clear up, especially since a lot of us are doing [the best we can on] the banana mono diet.

A friend sent this to me earlier today:

"If the sodium gets to low and the potassium too high, it throws off the human electrolyte system, and can cause problems from mild gastrointestinal problems to kidney problems, to severe cardiac problems (cardiac arrest-death if) if the NA (sodium) gets too low (below 120 for too long) and the K+ (potassium) gets too high. (above 7-7.5)."

Any and all feedback appreciated, thanks family:)

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Potassium and Vitamin K are two different things (although most people do seem to use them interchangeably...) Potassium is a mineral, and vitamin K is a vitamin. For a full description of each, go to http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter and check under "vitamins" for K and "minerals" for potassium. Your friend referred to potassium's function as the concern. Under Potassium, it says "The diets of Western industrialized cultures are quite different from those of prehistoric cultures and the few remaining isolated primitive cultures. Among other differences, the daily intake of sodium chloride (salt) in Western industrialized cultures is about three times higher than the daily intake of potassium on a molar basis, whereas salt intake in primitive cultures is about seven times lower than potassium intake (6). The relative deficiency of dietary potassium in the modern diet may play a role in the pathology of some chronic diseases." (In other words, stop eating salt, and eat more bananas!;-)) The link above goes on to say that symptoms of "too much" potassium (taken orally, by supplement) began at about 18g. If the average banana has 422mg, and you eat 30/day...that's only 12.99g. And everything else it says about high potassium intake is positive! Prevents stroke, kidney stones, high blood pressure, osteoporosis...and these were all studies on SAD eaters, who only increased their intake modestly by supplementation. Draw your own conclusions, but I'm betting that it's all good!
To quote from 'Nutrition and Athletic Performance' bottom of page 19.

'A diet dominated by fruits and vegetables is extremely high in potassium. The Kidneys are extremely well equipped to eliminate any excess potassium. There is no possibility of experiencing an overdose of potassium, regardless of diet, except in the case of kidney failure.'
yea, DT seems right here. 3 days into a banana mono diet, the thought of tucking into another ripe banana, unless it was smoothied with fresh mangoes and spinach, made me feel sick. variety is definitely the "spice" of my life.
I would be more concerned about excess phosphorus in the long term, with regards to calcium balance, rather than potassium.

Take care

Adam x
No, from bananas. Bananas have a very imbalanced phosphorus:calcium ratio. Its fine if you have other foods in your diet that can balance the picture. And its fine in the short term, but if it was something that went on for a little while, it could start to pose problems.

Take care

Adam x
Any recommendations for a balance? I've been consuming upwards of 20-30lbs of bananas per week for the last 8 months (since started going raw)

Been a simple matter of cost, though I have been having the question of how healthy in the long run eating this many bananas is. Recently been losing their appeal so I'm assuming that I'm beginning to get off balance...

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