ST Scroll Back on 30,000-Big Macs man: Student consumes up to 500 bananas a month

An American ate burgers daily for 46 years, while Apple’s Steve Jobs turned ‘orange’ from eating carrots for weeks. Should we be worried about people eating like them?

British student Dane Nash, who’s on a fruitarian diet, said he ate more than 100 bananas a week.
British student Dane Nash, who’s on a fruitarian diet, said he ate more than 100 bananas a week.PHOTO: AFP

They would like to have more of the same food, please. Ditto for tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

Some of us crave certain foods on a regular basis - prawn-paste chicken for the weekend or boozy ice cream for binge-watching sessions.

For American Donald Gorske, it’s Big Macs twice a day every day. For the past 46 years. That’s more than 30,000 McDonald's burgers.

While his food habit sounds extreme, he does get meat, vegetables and carbs from the burgers. There are more strict dietary routines where people eat only a couple of types of food.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs ate only one or two kinds of fruit for weeks. Interest rose in an all-potato diet that illusionist Penn Jillette was on to lose loads of weight. 

The monotrophic or mono diet was one of the most-googled diets in 2016. 

Read on to get a taste of diets which are nearly mono, and also take note of the no-nos.

Mr Donald Gorske set a Guinness World Record for most Big Macs consumed in 2016. He had eaten 28,788 Big Macs by then. PHOTO: GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS

Bananas about bananas

British student Dane Nash said he expected his raw vegan fruitarian diet to give him “amazing health, endless energy and fantastic all-round well-being” according to BBC

He said that in a usual day, he consumed two large smoothies in the morning (over 200g of spinach blended with eight to 12 bananas), then a lunch of berries, pears or other fruit blended with another eight to 12 bananas. Dinner consisted of a salad with almost 500g of leafy greens mixed with other vegetables and sun-dried tomatoes.

Mr Nash supplemented his diet with vitamin B12 - found in most meat and dairy products - as well as a flaxseed and vitamin D supplement to provide fatty acids and omegas.

400 to 500
Number of bananas he eats a month.

$180 to $280
Amount he spends on bananas monthly.

31 tonnes
Amount of bananas he is projected to eat over the next 50 years.

No-no: Nutritional therapist Lucy Patterson at Southville Nutrition Clinic in Bristol said Mr Nash’s diet lacked some staple nutrients, reported Metro

She said: “This diet lacks very important nutrients, particularly protein and fat, micronutrients (especially fat-soluble nutrients) - and, very importantly, variety. 

“This will be giving him a large carbohydrate intake, with each banana containing around 27g carbohydrate, meaning a day’s intake will be around 567g. This could contribute to disrupted blood glucose levels, and possibly put him on the road to pre-diabetes in the long term.”

Apple and orange skin

A biography released after Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ death in 2011 revealed some of his dietary habits. BT FILE PHOTO

Tech pioneer Steve Jobs, who co-founded Apple, would spend weeks at a time eating only one or two kinds of foods.

Yes, one of them was the apple.

“I was on one of my fruitarian diets (and) had just come back from the apple farm.” The Guardian reported that this was Mr Jobs explaining the origins of the Apple company name to biographer Walter Isaacson, and revealing something of his dietary habits in the process.

Another kind of food which he ate intensely at times was the carrot, which was why some people described his skin as having turned “a sunset-like orange hue”.

No-no: Registered dietitian Elisa Zied, who’s the author of the book Nutrition At Your Fingertips, said that although apples and carrots are healthful and provide carbohydrates, they have very little protein. Unlike fat and carbohydrates, protein can’t be stored in the body, so it’s important to consume enough protein-rich foods each day, she told NBC News.. 

Actor Ashton Kutcher revealed that he went to hospital with pancreas problems after following a diet of fruit, nuts and seeds. He adopted Mr Jobs's strict diet to prepare for shooting a biopic called Jobs. The Apple co-founder died of pancreatic cancer in 2011.

“First of all, the fruitarian diet can lead to, like, severe issues. I went to the hospital like two days before we started shooting the movie. I was like doubled over in pain. My pancreas levels were completely out of whack. It was really terrifying.” - Mr Kutcher told USA Today.

Po-tay-to, po-tah-to

Illusionist Penn Jillette seen here hosting a game show called Identity. PHOTO: NBC UNIVERSAL

Number of days that illusionist Penn Jillette ate only potatoes. He later added vegetable stews into his diet. The goal of that first phase was “to interrupt his current relationship with food”, a scientist advising Mr Jillette told the New York Post. Studies show that when people eat the same food items and keep a structure, it seemed to help restrain their desire for excess sugar, salt, and fats, said NBC News health and nutrition editor Madelyn Fernstrom.

Number of potatoes he ate a day. He was eating around 600 to 700 calories, so he lost weight fast. 

Mr Jillette’s weight before he started his mono diet.

Weight that Mr Jillette described losing in his book, Presto! How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear And Other Magical Tales.

“I did a mono diet for two weeks, which could have been anything. I did potatoes because they’re funny.” - Mr Jillette wrote, according to People magazine.

No-no: While potatoes are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre, they are very low in protein. Ms Fernstrom said Mr Jillette was likely eating up to 75 per cent less protein than he needed for good health. After 24 hours, his body would have taken the amino acids it needed to function from muscle, which was unhealthy. Such a low-protein diet, even for two weeks, could impact brain chemistry.

An average lover of pizza might eat the item once every 10 to 20 days. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

Every day okay?

Is it bad to eat the same thing every day?

“It’s rare to see adults with that narrow of menu choices… There are two ways of looking at it. ‘I want the same thing all the time’. That can be obsessive. The other is avoidance. ‘These are the only things I feel safe eating.’” - Dr Ovidio Bermudez, the medical director for Child and Adolescent Services at the Eating Recovery Center in the United States, in a CNN report. He’s also a past president of the National Eating Disorders Association.

10 to 20 days
The average person cycles through his or her usual dietary menu every 10 days, meaning an average lover of pizza might eat the item once every 10 days. Ten to 20 days is the normal range, Dr Bermudez said. Eating the same thing every day is highly abnormal, he said.


Here’s another point of view: If you’re packing plenty of healthful, micronutrient-dense vegetables into your meals, you probably don’t have much to worry about, Dr Susan Roberts, director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at Tufts University, told Time. Just be sure the vegetables you eat come in lots of colours, which tend to correlate with different nutrients, she added.

Dr Roberts said the following sample menu would offer pretty much all your body needs even if you ate it daily (this is, of course, just one out of many ways you could structure your every-day-the-same meal plan):

  • Greek yogurt with fresh fruit for breakfast.
  • A spinach or kale salad with chicken and vegetables for lunch.
  • A fruit-and-nut smoothie for a snack.
  • A kind of vegetable-and-brown-rice stir fry for dinner.

Bon appetit.