There’s A New Diet Trend Called Monomeals And It’s Pretty Bad For You

At least if you eat them for every meal. Seriously, who thought this was a good idea?

A “monomeal” is a meal that consists of just one type of food. Usually raw fruit or veg.

Like a load of orange slices.

Or a pile of bananas.

Or half a watermelon.

There’s also a thing called “banana island” where you eat nothing but bananas for days.

Flickr: thebarrowboy / Creative Commons

But let’s not talk about that.

It’s huge on Instagram. Thousands of photos tagged #monomeal have been uploaded.

So what’s the justification for monomeals? Some people think eating a meal with more than one food in it overtaxes the digestive system by making it multitask.


And that this can cause something called “leaky gut syndrome”. (The NHS says there is “little evidence” for leaky gut syndrome and it is not a recognised medical diagnosis.)

But there’s no reason to think monomeals are better for you than a varied diet. So why should you not base your diet entirely on fruit?

1. Well, fruit contains quite a bit of sugar.

A banana contains around 12g of sugar. If you eat 20 bananas in a day, that’s 240g. Now that’s not quite the same as eating 240g of table sugar, but still, it’s a lot.

2. The sugar in fruit is released when you blend it into a smoothie or juice, so drinking too many smoothies or juices is bad for your teeth.

matka_Wariatka/matka_Wariatka / Getty Images

Fruit can also be quite acidic. Dr Frankie Phillips from the British Dietetic Association told BuzzFeed you should eat a cube of cheese or some live yoghurt if you’re eating a lot of fruit, to neutralise the acid.

3. And you really should be eating a variety of different foods to ensure you get all the nutrients you need.


Apart from breastmilk, no single food contains all the essential nutrients the body needs to be healthy and function efficiently. […] A healthy diet is likely to include a large number or variety of foods, from each of the food groups, as this allows us to get all the nutrients that we need.

4. Eating different foods together can help you absorb some nutrients better.

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For example, eggs contain iron. But if you eat something with vitamin C, like spinach, alongside them, you’ll absorb more of the iron.

5. You should also base your meals on starchy foods.

Buzz Hoffman / Flickr: 34829087@N06 / Creative Commons

Like potatoes. From the NHS: “Starchy foods should make up around one third of everything we eat.” Most fruit and veg are not very starchy.

6. Protein is essential for growth and repair of the body.

Pablo Alcala/Lexington Herald-Leader / MCT

Women need around 45g of protein a day. A banana only has 1.1g – you do the maths.

7. And, really, your gut does not get tired or have trouble digesting different types of food eaten all at once.

ErikaMitchell / Getty Images

It’s almost like your body is adapted to do that very thing.

But that doesn’t seem to be stopping anyone posting their #monomeals on Instagram.

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