Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Have you heard of banana milk?

8 Comments

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Image by Newtown Graffiti on flickr. Used under a Creative Commons Licence.

Have you heard of banana milk? Apparently it’s poised to be the next plant-based milk alternative. Except it’s not milk. It’s juice.

Maybe banana blended with water is tasty and maybe it makes a great stand-in for actual milk in a latte. I’d be willing to give it a try. But let’s be honest here, it’s banana juice. Nutritionally (and probably favour-wise) there is pretty much no resemblance between a banana blended into water and a glass of cow’s milk.

Of course, banana milk, like almond milk (or any other plant-based milk alternative) sounds a heck of a lot catchier than banana juice or banana water. Unless it’s being fortified like crazy, calling it milk is misleading and could lead to nutrient deficiencies.

When you think of milk you probably think of nutrients like protein, calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin D. Calling banana juice “milk” evokes the false perception that this water and banana mixture is also a good source of these nutrients.

According to a recipe I found online for banana milk one serving contains one banana, one cup of water, a dash of cinnamon, and a pinch of sea salt. Based on this, and assuming use of a medium banana, the nutrition profile would be: 0.4 grams of fat, 1.2 mg sodium (plus that coming from the pinch of salt maybe about 140 mg), 422.4 mg potassium, 3.1 g fibre, 14 g sugar, 1.3 g protein, 20% DV of vitamin B6, and 7% DV of magnesium. Compare that to the nutrient profile of a cup of 2% milk: 5 grams of fat, 100 mg sodium, 0 g fibre, 12 g sugar, 8 g protein, 29% DV calcium, 26% DV vitamin D, 27% DV riboflavin, and 19% DV vitamin B12. Both have nutritional value but the nutrient profiles for a banana and a glass of milk are also quite different.

Go on and enjoy your banana lattes and whatever other banana juice concoctions you like but don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s the same as drinking a glass of milk. It’s not, it’s the same as eating a banana and drinking a glass of water.

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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

8 thoughts on “Have you heard of banana milk?

  1. Hi,

    I read your post and found it interesting, I had no idea they were making milk out of banana juice! I will look out for that.

    I thought you might be interested to know some more information about milk, because it is not really as great as all that. There are some very well kept secrets about it.

    Did you know that dairy consumption causes osteoporosis? Or that drinking dairy milk has been linked to diabetes, schizophrenia, autism, cancer and autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis?

    Eating dairy products leaches calcium from your bones, encouraging its passage into the urine. Calcium from beans, grains and vegetables does not have this effect. Bananas don’t have much calcium in them, but the vitamins in bananas help us to absorb calcium.

    Dairy farming also pollutes the Earth, causing devastating amounts of CO2 emissions, land degradation, water contamination, not to mention water consumption.

    Did you know that it takes 1000 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of milk?

    And that 75% of the world human population are lactose intolerant and do not drink dairy milk.

    If you would like to know more, there is lots of information on the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine website.

    Any way, I don’t know anything about banana milk, but I know enough to know that drinking a glass of water and eating a banana are a heck of a lot better than drinking dairy milk.

    I hope this helps.

    Best wishes,

    Pokok xxx

    Like

    • Thanks for contributing your thoughts. While people can get all the nutrients they need without consuming dairy, unless someone has a milk allergy or lactose intolerance, milk and dairy can also be part of a healthy diet.

      I think the jury’s still out on milk and bone health. Most of the research to date has been biased.

      As far as I’m aware, the nutrients in bananas do not aid in calcium absorption. Also, unless you are consuming a source of calcium alongside the banana and water that’s neither here nor there.

      The links between dairy and the illnesses you listed above are pure fear mongering.

      I hope this helps.

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      • I would just ask yourself: is it natural for one species to drink the mothers’ milk of another species?

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      • I think that many of the things we do as humans are quite different than those done by other species. Is it unnatural to wear clothes? To drive cars? To read books? To live in houses? To cook and preserve our food? Perhaps. I don’t think that consuming dairy is really any different from any of these things. I don’t believe that there is anything inherently wrong with drinking cows milk either.

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      • I do, because of all the reasons I said, and because cows have to have new babies each year to supply milk, and they have their babies taken away from them, and the boys get slaughtered for burgers, and the girls get put into the same system of forced repeated impregnation and baby theft, and I just think that that is wrong, because I wouldn’t want to have my baby taken away, and I wouldn’t want to be murdered.

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      • Also, here is a quote from saveourbones.com explaining how bananas help you to absorb calcium:

        You see, bananas help your body to absorb calcium and other vital nutrients that promote healthy bones. Here’s how:

        This amazing tropical fruit is extremely rich in a compound called fructooligosaccharides, which nourishes the bacteria (some bacteria in your body is very beneficial) in your colon, allowing for an increase in the production of digestive enzymes and vitamins that help you absorb important bone-strengthening nutrients, such as calcium and magnesium.

        What’s more, green bananas, also known as plantains, contain one other key component, in addition to fructooligosaccharides. They contain short chain fatty acids (SCFA’s) which makes them TWICE as effective at strengthening your bones. This happens because your body lacks the enzymes to break down SCFAs, so they pass through your small intestine and are consumed by the bacteria that line the walls of your large intestine. The more SCFAs you feed to these cells the healthier they are, resulting in a more efficient absorption of bone-friendly nutrients.

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  2. Pokok I was coming here to say exactly the same thing. You explained my thoughts much better than I could ever though, so thank you! Cow’s milk also have a mixture of pus, antibiotics, growth hormones and blood cells, which is just another reason to find better alternatives!

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  3. I used to make a blended banana-water drink years ago – it sounds like the same thing you’re describing. I don’t want to call it milk though as the thought of putting this in my coffee makes me gag….just a little. I got the idea from the book Fit for Life (or one of its many sequels), which was all the rage 20 or so years ago. Amazing how things go in and out of fashion.

    Liked by 1 person

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