Monkeys Can No Longer Have Bananas

Monkey and modern banana – a bad combination?

Not even monkeys can eat any amount of modern fruit without risking health problems. An English zoo has stopped serving bananas to monkeys, as modern fruit is much sweeter and lacking in fiber – compared to the fruit that monkeys eat in nature.

The result? Monkeys eating too much unnaturally sweet bananas risk diabetes, stomach problems and bad teeth. Also they become anxious and aggressive. Like humans?

Western Daily Press: Paignton Zoo, Devon, ban monkeys from eating bananas

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31 comments

Top comments

  1. murray
    Yes, we have no bananas.
    Reply: #3
    Read more →
  2. FrankG
    Here we have input from trained zookeepers,animal nutritionists and vets who all have a professional interest in keeping their literally captive population, healthy and yet we still have folks dismissing what they say. Good grief! These folks spend hours each day carefully planning and preparing their charges meals, then recording and observing outcomes. This is as close to laboratory research as you may get in real life.

    Next you'll be saying we should ignore the farmers and experts in animal husbandry who have been telling us that corn and other starches are great for fattening livestock?

    One point I have not yet seen raised in this discussion of fruit and its impact on humans, is seasonal availability. Within my lifetime we seem to have gone from fruit only being around strictly in season or as an expensive import (I only ever saw an orange as a treat in my UK Christmas stocking for example) to being able to buy fresh strawberries even in the middle of winter. Even in the tropics, there is a seasonal change in what is available and when it is ripe.

    Read more →

All comments

  1. murray
    Yes, we have no bananas.
    Reply: #3
  2. Galina L.
    The list is growing - bread is not healthy for fish, oats for horses, grains for rabbits, now bananas are bad for monkeys. I am sure we will see comments how honey was beneficial for hunter-gatherers as a response. Probably, another post of The Paleo Guy "Endangered orangutans offer a new evolutionary model for early humans" http://thatpaleoguy.com/2011/12/15/what-can-we-learn-about-ourselves-... about monkeys from the Borneo will add to the whole picture. Monkeys there gorged on very sweet local (obviously) fruits when there were plenty of it, like once in 3 - 4 years,got fat, the rest of the time poor beasts survived in chewing bark and leaves."Orangutans prefer ripe, soft, juicy fruits but during the “off-years” on Borneo when nothing else is available, the orangs resort to eating very hard and tough foods. Dominy describes how they rip bark off trees and eat the starchy tissues behind the bark. They will also eat very hard seeds. This far less nutritious diet seems to supply just enough protein to get by."
  3. Lori
    And the monkeys have the yes, we have no bananas blues.
  4. Eric Anderson
    ANd stach seems to not be good for humans. I know on High Fat and Moderate proten my teeth look clean and bright. Time will tell as more people and young children eat more HFLC and less sugar, fruit and grain.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114112713.htm

    Starchy Food Led to Rotten Teeth in Ancient Hunter-Gatherers

    Jan. 14, 2014 — A diet rich in starchy foods may have led to high rates of tooth decay in ancient hunter-gatherers, says a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Research by a team from Oxford University, the Natural History Museum, London, and the National Institute of Archaeological Sciences and Heritage (INSAP) in Morocco challenges the long-held view that dental disease was linked to the advent of farming. Their research shows widespread tooth decay occurred in a hunter-gathering society in Morocco several thousand years before the dawn of agriculture.

    The research team analysed 52 sets of adult teeth from hunter-gatherer skeletons found in Taforalt in Morocco, dating between 15,000 and 13,700 years ago. Unexpectedly, they found evidence of decay in more than half of the surviving teeth, with only three skeletons showing no signs of cavities. Previously, scholars had thought that high rates of dental disease were associated with agricultural societies that grew domesticated plant crops.

    Archaeological deposits at Taforalt include a deep ashy layer with exceptionally well preserved charred plant remains. Excavations revealed evidence of the systematic harvesting and processing of wild foods, including sweet acorns, pine nuts and land snails.

    Professor Nick Barton of the Institute of Archaeology at the University of Oxford, and a co-director of the excavations at Taforalt, said: 'This study reveals for the first time that at both ends of the Mediterranean, hunter-gatherers had started to eat a variety of different foods and were becoming more settled long before the advent of farming. It is clear changes happened on a very wide scale and we must now consider whether climate change was the major contributory factor.'

    Dr Isabelle de Groote from the Natural History Museum said: 'These people's mouths were often affected by both cavities in the teeth and abscesses, and they would have suffered from frequent toothache.'

    Jacob Morales, the team's palaeobotanist, added: 'We use the charred fragments to identify plants that were carried back to the cave, including foods items such as acorns and pine nuts, and grasses that were used to make baskets.'

    Lead researcher Dr Louise Humphrey, human origins researcher at the Natural History Museum, said: 'A reliance on edible acorns as a staple food could account for the high prevalence of cavities in the teeth found at Taforalt since eating fermentable carbohydrates is a key factor in the initiation and progression of this disease.

    'The acorns may have been boiled or ground to make flour; cooking the acorns would have added to their stickiness, and abrasive particles from grindstones contributed to rapid tooth wear so that caries started to form on the roots of the teeth.'

  5. Gigi
    Hi Andreas
    I recently started out on LCHF and I find a lot of good information on your blog - thanks!
    I just read your post "How to loose weight" and point 11 says, that one might consider the amount of dairy products as yoghurt, cream and cheese. It also says, that the only exception from this is butter.
    I'm a bit confused about this, because I thought that cream and butter is the same thing?
    In Denmark where I come from both butter and full cream is of 38% fat, and I remember my grandmother made her own butter just by whipping the cream until it turns into butter (I tried it myself, too, and it makes the best butter ever!)
    But why this distinction between cream and butter?
    Reply: #6
  6. andy
    Butter is made by churning fermented cream, during fermentation, milk sugars is converted into lactic acid.
    Butter is essentially just the milk fat, it contains only traces of lactose and cassein.
    Butter = 80 + % fat and water thats all
  7. Gigi
    andy: Thank you very much for your reply - it gives me a much better understanding of the subject. And now I also know, that the dairies don't make butter quite the same way as my grandmother did, haha! ;)
  8. Chupo
    Removing starch from gorillas' diets lead to weightloss and better health as well.

    http://gawker.com/5765862/got-a-fat-gorilla-make-it-eat-salad

  9. Rozzy
    Modern day meat, dairy and eggs are also bad for our health the animals are fed a poor diet, raised in poor and stressful conditions and they are given many types of hormones. Plus all the highly processed meats like cold cuts and canned meats are worse for or as bad for you're health as smoking. Guess we will all have to starve??!! I eat 2-4 bananas a day have never gained an ounce ever but certain animal products especially cheese go straight to my behind and thighs. This whole fruitphobia being spread by low carb gurus is beyond laughable!!! NO modern day food is as healthy or natural as it once was including fruits and vegetables. However fruit and especially vegetables are still a better far less processed options than 95% of the boxed, frozen, canned and packaged crap that passes for food these days. Just go to the typical american grocery store and its full of processed garbage its not even food anymore its more like a food byproduct!! Fresh fruit especially organic is still a healthy choice these days especially the lower glycemic fruits like berries.
    Replies: #16, #17
  10. allen
    Denise Minger did a long post examining this notion that modern fruit is much sweeter than what our ancestors ate, and her conclusion is that it's a bit of a myth. She found studies that recorded the sugar content of wild African and South American fruits that have never been cultivated, and their sugar content is just as high as supermarket fruit.

    For that matter, if you've ever eaten wild berries, they're always much sweeter than what you can find in supermarkets.

    The article also claims the sugar in the bananas make the monkeys hyperactive, and the idea that sugar makes one hyperactive is just a old wive's tale with no basis in science.

    Reply: #13
  11. murray
    "For that matter, if you've ever eaten wild berries, they're always much sweeter than what you can find in supermarkets."

    I pick wild blueberries every year in the wild (along with strawberries and raspberries, as they each ripen). They are way less sweet than supermarket blueberries. I don't eat fruit, generally, other than cranberries or wild blueberries, wild raspberries or wild strawberries. All of the wild varieties of berries (including low-bush cranberries) are not sweet. Also, a wild blueberry is about 1/5th the size of a cultivated one and is mostly skin, a wild raspberry about 1/8th the size of a cultivated one, and a wild strawberry is about the size of a wild blueberry, each with about the same amount of flavour per berry as its cultivated analog. Cultivated ones are pulpy, watery and sweet. Because I don't eat sugar or sweet foods, I am very sensitive to sugar taste, so vegetables like celery taste sweet to me. Wild blueberries are fine, but high-bush cultivated blueberries are like grapes to me. They are too cloying for me to eat. I even find the Ocean Spray cranberries to be too sweet. (I expect they are high-bush cultivated as well.) Perhaps the taste difference relates to fructose percentage rather than sugar per gram of fruit, but the taste difference is quite noticeable.

  12. Marcy
    I was watching Dr Oz the other day and even he says to only eat almost green bananas to avoid all the sugar in the very ripe ones. I do notice if I break down and even eat half a banana, I get one of my insulin attacks with the shakes and lightheadedness. My husband eats a banana every day for breakfast with his cereal and he was told his sugar was high at his last physical. I keep telling him a protein breakfast and berries not bananas but he is set in his ways and won't change. I fear he is heading towards diabetes.
  13. bonita
    a few years ago i found an grove of wild cherry trees near my apartment building. both sour and sweet cherries, they were tiny, maybe a third of the size of domesticated cherries, but they were absurdly delicious and sweet, though not sickly sweet. i love cherries--my favourite fruit by far and have been known to overeat them to the point where they rush right through me. interestingly, despite the unlimited quantity of these delicious cherries available to me for free (there were a lot of trees and few others seemed to know about them) i never ate too many of them. in fact, i ate less than i would have if they were store bought cherries.
  14. murray
    I might add that Nature has a way of limiting how many wild berries one can eat---mosquitoes.
  15. Galina L.
    From my experience, wild berries are often very sweet, but it varies from region to region and probably depends in soil, amount of precipitation , amount of sunshine and some other factors. I was surprised to find out wild raspberries in Alberta, Canada to be very non-sweet,even though summers there were very dry, unlike wild raspberries in Russia which tasted way better than store-bought ones. Blueberries in British Columbia was just sour and watered, but blackberries were sweet. Garden tall blueberries in my backyard are less sweet the store-bough.
    People who live in the areas with a lot of mosquitoes and get used to be outdoor a lot, are usually develop some sort of immunity to mosquitoes activities, as I observed in the Northern areas of Russia.
    Reply: #23
  16. Francois
    "This whole fruitphobia being spread by low carb gurus is beyond laughable"
    Catchall sentences lack nuances. And generalizing to everyone from one's personal experience also lacks scientific rigor. We are all different on a number of points and tolerance to carbs is one of them. While everyone (100%) of people can tolerate a low carb diet (if not, we would all die after a period of fasting of more than a few hours), it is not the case for carbohydrate tolerance.
    Around 10-20% of the population seem to tolerate nearly any amount of carbohydrate. This does not mean they should eat as many carbs as they want, though. They simply tolerate them quite well and seemingly should not develop a metabolic syndrome, regardless of how hard they try. At the other end of the spectrum, 30-40% of the population are very sensitive to carbohydrates and very insulin resistant. The smallest amount of carbs will have immediate detrimental effects on their health. Which leaves 40-60% of population in between these two extremes. (adapted from Peter Attia’s EatingAcademy blog).
    This being said, what has been clearly demonstrated is that regardless of how much people tolerate - or claim to tolerate carbohydrates, there is a level, about 40% of the total caloric intake, over which there will be an epigenetic change switching genes to inflammation and chronic disease. In 100% of people.
    Researchers Ingerid Arbo and Hans-Richard Brattbakk at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) fed different diets to slightly overweight people. They then studied the effect of this on gene expression.
    The study’s findings: a diet with 65 per cent carbohydrates, something common in the SAD diet, causes a number of classes of genes to overwork. The genes affected are not only those that cause inflammation, but also genes associated with development of the major lifestyle-related diseases: cardiovascular disease, some cancers, Alzheimer’s dementia and type 2 diabetes. The carbohydrate content of a healthy diet should not exceed more than one-third in terms of volume on a plate (or make up to 40 per cent of calories) in each meal. Anything over this will stimulate genes to initiate the activity that creates inflammation and obesity in the body (Arbo I, Brattbakk HR, 2011). This is extremely important. Though Vegan high carb low fat diets may be better than the Standard American Diet (anything is), it still promotes inflammation the very moment the carbohydrate content rises above 40% of the total caloric intake.
    So technically, for those who do seem to tolerate carbohydrates, it is OK as long as their intake does not go over this 40% of calories level. And I personally would rather choose fruits over grain products. Always.
  17. Galina L.
    Actually, from the weight gain perspective, processed meat is much better for me that bananas. I would choose eating conventional and processed meats and eggs and store-bought mayo any day over organic rice and beans and organic fruits. I try to choose as often as I can NZ lamb which is grass-fed, grass-fed organ meats because it is cheaper than muscle meat, and only pastured eggs and butter, but I don't feel any ill effect from eating deli meats from time to time - it is like a candy for me. - a treat.
    I feel better on a LC diet, for the people who count carbohydrates, carbs in fruits can't be disregarded.
  18. Joey b
    How do you explain fruitarians they gorge on fruit all the time and if anything there too skinny! Fruit is still mostly water! I highly doubt fruit is contributing to the obesity epidemic lol!
  19. Chupo
    Joey b,

    Have a look at this video: http://youtu.be/sTM47y6wziI

    Lots of people get fat on fruit. It's just that they are censored or banned on the sites that promote the diet.

    Andrew Perlot (a low fat raw vegan) did an experiment where he ate low fat raw vegan ad libitum and gained weight. He needs to restrict calories to stay lean.

    http://youtu.be/ShmoS0AnPNA

    Fruit is just not satiating for many people, which causes over-eating and weight-gain.

    Reply: #20
  20. Joey b
    Depends on what you consider fruit if you're talking about fruit juice or dried fruit than yes you can definitely pack on the pounds! However fresh fruit is very difficult even people I know who are into low carb eating admit it would be very difficult to get fat strictly eating nothing but fresh fruit! When I did a self experiment eating nothing but fresh fruit i was always hungry, felt dizzy and hungry all the time and lost 5 and a half pounds in 2 weeks.
  21. Sarah
    @ Joey b "i was always hungry, felt dizzy and hungry all the time "

    I think that you are missing the point a bit. Yes you can lose weight eating nothing but fruit but at the same time you were hungry all the time. I think what Chupo was hinting towards is that fruit is incredibly easy to over eat on and if you do not specifically restric calories when eating it and instead eat until you are full you will in fact gain weight as opposed to losing it.

  22. FrankG
    Here we have input from trained zookeepers,animal nutritionists and vets who all have a professional interest in keeping their literally captive population, healthy and yet we still have folks dismissing what they say. Good grief! These folks spend hours each day carefully planning and preparing their charges meals, then recording and observing outcomes. This is as close to laboratory research as you may get in real life.

    Next you'll be saying we should ignore the farmers and experts in animal husbandry who have been telling us that corn and other starches are great for fattening livestock?

    One point I have not yet seen raised in this discussion of fruit and its impact on humans, is seasonal availability. Within my lifetime we seem to have gone from fruit only being around strictly in season or as an expensive import (I only ever saw an orange as a treat in my UK Christmas stocking for example) to being able to buy fresh strawberries even in the middle of winter. Even in the tropics, there is a seasonal change in what is available and when it is ripe.

  23. murray
    I must be in a non-sweet berry zone. Lots of flavour, just not sweet. We are fortunate in that sense. Picking a pint of wild raspberries makes incredible compote, but it takes a while to get a pint, as the berries are small.

    I get accustomed to some mosquitoes and don't swell from the bites, but when they exceed 20 bites per minute it is time to move on. Fortunately the berries ripen after the black flies and no-see-em's have passed their peak. There is a song, you know, about the black flies in Ontario.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjLBXb1kgMo

    I have seen moose go bonkers charging toward water or rolling in mud trying to escape the bugs.

    Reply: #25
  24. Doug
    Rozzy: your comment is so full of fallacies, I'm not sure where to begin. I'll begin by saying that I'm glad something works for you. There are outliers in all instances. Secondly, there is a difference between what normal bodied people do to stay slim (and eating fruit works for these folks) and what obese and/or formerly obese people must do to lose weight and/or stay slim (and avodiing fruits works for these folks). Fructose is a problematic carbohydrate for many.

    Your post is full of disningenuous and unprovable vegan/vegetarian lies, such as "modern day meat, dairy and eggs are also bad for our health the animals are fed a poor diet, raised in poor and stressful conditions and they are given many types of hormones." Really? Precisely how so? Also, all meat? What about pastured organic animals? And you set up a false dichotomy between eating either vegtables and fruits or "boxed, frozen, canned and packaged crap." Nonsense. I enjoy real fish,beef, pork, chicken, turkey, eggs, cheese, butter (I rarely buy ornganic stuff) as well as plenty of green vegetables and I lost 120plus pounds, and am as strong and fit as a fiddle.

    I eat NO FRUIT because it offers very little in the way of nutrition (google it! precisely what nutrients am I missing by not eating fruits if I am otherwise eating a varied and balanced diet?) and it does not help me reach my goals of getting and staying slim and healthy.

    There are no lies to big for the Veg crowd to tell.

  25. Galina L.
    There are definitely much worse bugs than mosquitoes capable to drive even a moose crazy. Wild plants are almost always smaller and more fragrant. I especially love wild strawberries.
    I hope somebody from a tropical region comment about the taste of their wild mangoes and bananas.
    I live in Florida now, and there is surprisingly small variety of eatable plant foods here, I even went to a special field trip led by a specialist in eatable wild plants of North Florida to check it out. Not much to eat in a wild except muscadine grapes which are so desirable by a wild life, even by foxes, that I never saw one single berry since we moved here 2000. Acorns are eatable after serious preparation, wild pecans with shell hard as a rock, 6 top inches of growing vines during growing season, middles of some palms, mushrooms. Even though there are some wild blueberries, they are extremely scarce, especially when I compare it with what I saw in Northern forests, especially in Russia. It was normal to collect half of a gallon without spending too much time, and a cup of blueberries or wild strawberries could be collected in 20 minutes. We used to collect and preserve wild berries for a winter time making it into a puree, mixed with sugar 1:1, and kept it in a refrigerator. We thought we would be sick without vitamins and ate that with tea. Luckily, not too much. During winter we had only fresh root vegetables and cabbage , fermented and canned produce,+ some apples could be kept whole winter in a cool place, and was a treat, not a staple food.
  26. Doug
    I also live in Florida now, and have since 1999, in the Southwest penisular part of the state. native plant foods are probably not as plentiful as they are in more temperate regions, due to the nature of the soils here (mostly thin, low in organic matter). I'm no expert. The folks at ECHO in North Fort Myers are, however. Google them.

    But the Calusa and other native people lived here for centuries. I'm guessing the abundant fish, turtle, amphibian and other game resources (deer, gator, turkey and rabbit are abundant, not to mention manatee and later wild cattle, goats and pigs) must have given them adequate nutrition to thrive.

    Reply: #27
  27. Galina L.
    Yes, there are a lot of animal sources of nutrition around in Florida (turtles, fish and shellfish, oysters cover bottoms of countless estuaries, deer and alligators), plenty of insects to feed creatures higher on a chain because climate is hot. It is impossible to grow many normal garden plants like tomatoes and cucumbers without fighting aggressive insects infestation.Somehow insects ignore blueberries and pomegranates, and normal insects just stay away from citruses and fragrant herbs , like they contain pesticides.
  28. Chupo
    I also live in Florida and I can tell you that I could live off fish alone if I had to.

    I was on a nature tour once and the guide pointed out all the edible plants. Most were herbacious and not a good source of sustenence. There were acorns of course but there was also a root that had to be cooked. Native Americans used to eat it. I want to say it was saw palmetto root but I don't really remember exactly if that's what it was.

    Wild grapes grow all over the place but they are very small, seedy, not very sweet, and they only fruit for a very short time.

    The problem I've had with growing blueberries is that the birds eat them before they are even fully ripe! I suppose they are sweet enough to a bird's palate at that point.

  29. Galina L.
    I was told by a person interested in the subject that soils in very hot places were often very poor quality because decay happened too fast due to the high temperature, and abandon rainfall washed away minerals. Soils in Florida are poor indeed. Just from my observations it looks like that for animals it is unpractical to need fruits and berries to be necessary foods to survive. Even in the areas which are green year round fruits are the rare treat, available couple months a year, plus there is a competition with other animals, birds and huge amount of insects. Animals who eat insects, other animals and/or green leaves have food all the time. How healthy/natural could it be for monkeys to eat treats every day?

    @Chupo, so far birds do not eat too much of my blueberries. My #1 problem is squirrels, but they mostly concentrated on a peach tree and acorns. I never have peaches because of squirrels, and I put up with it as a LCarber, Blueberries are more valuable.

  30. RichardLDL
    Andreas,

    I use to eat lot of fruit, but nowadays only maybe 2-3 fruit per day for me. I've shifted to a more starch-based diet; rough, uncutted oats, rye bread with tahini, whole-grain pasta, and some green thrown in.

  31. Donald
    What should we do about keeping our gut biome healthy if we're not eating fructooligosaccharides (FOS) from not eating bananas and wheat. This seems to be the only downside I am having with LCHF. Without it doesn't our good bacteria like Bifidobacteria get starved? I have heard a lot about eating fiber or maybe not getting a lot of fiber with LCHF but I am beginning to think we are not getting the right kind of fiber.

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