Is 30 Bananas A Day Healthy? The Official Ben Greenfield DurianRider Interview

30 bananas a day diet
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Meet Harley Johnstone, AKA DurianRider, AKA the 30BananasADay guy.

harley_melonHarley (pictured right) spent the first 24 years  of his life battling issues such as chronic fatigue, asthma, Crohn’s disease, hypoglycemia, mild arthritis, sleep disorders, depression, drug addiction, alcohol abuse, anorexia, acne, and more. These challenges led him to explore veganism and eventually raw veganism. He is now a 100% high carb, low fat raw vegan who literally eats 30 bananas a day (along with watermelons, coconut sugar and dates) and also competes in cycling, running, duathlon, ultra-endurance and marathon races.

Audio interview with Ben Greenfield and DurianRider link below…

And he makes videos like this one below (let’s just say he doesn’t appear to be a big fan of guys like Ben Greenfield and Vinnie Tortorich):

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Today, I interview Harley, and we get into the nitty gritty of high carb vs. low carb, veganism, fruitarianism, bananas, fructose and more!

Topics we cover in this podcast include:

-How Harley came to be known as DurianRider…

-What a typical day of eating looks like for Harley…

-Whether he takes supplements…

-What high fiber intake does to his body…

-If Harley is concerned with deficiencies such as  B12, Creatine, Choline, Vitamin K2, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Amino Acids, or Fatty Acids…

-The “30 Bananas A Day” blood work and biomarkers…

-How much exercise Harley does in a typical week…

-Why he has a a video where he’s dumping cups of sugar on cereal…

-His thoughts about liver damage, candida, fungus, glycation end products and more…

-High carb vs. high fat…

-And even a special $50,000 dare to a prominent ketogenic physician…

Resources mentioned in this episode include:

-Testing: The WellnessFX Performance Panel Ben is going to be doing in 2 weeks

-Study: Can adults adequately convert alpha-linolenic acid (18:3n-3) to eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3)?

-Article: The Truth About Ketones and Ketosis

-Article: How Vegans Can Customize The Diet For Health

-Article: The Article on Heart Disease in Eskimos that Durian cites (and a very interesting commentary on it here and here)

-.pdf: DurianRider’s dietary intake – from http://paleozonenutrition.com/2011/03/05/30-bananas-a-day-durianrider-an-analysis-of-his-paleo-vegan-diet/

-Audio with Peter Attia: How To Turn Yourself Into A Fat Burning Machine By Fasting For 24 Hours Then Going Out And Do Monster Workouts Without Bonking.

-Video: DurianRider pouring sugar on his cereal

-Video: DurianRider raw vegan blood tests

-PDF: Ben Greenfield’s blood test results

Questions, comments or feedback about the 30 bananas a day diet, DurianRider, ketosis, veganism or more? Leave your thoughts below and we promise to reply!

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44 thoughts on “Is 30 Bananas A Day Healthy? The Official Ben Greenfield DurianRider Interview

  1. This was better than expected. I feared that you would end up fighting about how many carbs to eat but I think it turned out to be a good discussion.

    I hope that Harley will have the blood tests done and that Peter accepts the challenge.

  2. Excellent podcast; Ben is always a wealth of knowledge.

    I think the throw down between Peter Attia and Durian seems lacking. Why not make the challenge a little more about metabolic efficiency. Peter fuels to remain in ketoisis, Durian can only eat fruit, and perhaps add an additional restriction of X # of calories/hour/rider body weight for both individuals. Race 200 miles and finish it with the hill climb.

    1. Here's Peter's idea from an email he sent me:

      i) 10,000 people ("fans") put up $100 dollars each for a $1 million prize
      ii) the prize is awarded to the charity of the winner's choice (I pick NuSI; he can pick PETA or whatever he wants)
      iii) the competition takes place in San Diego. I travel 100 days a year already, so he can come to me for this.
      iv) the challenge is multifaceted and will be conducted over 3 days. It involves 1-on-1 competition between us in the each of these events:

      A — bike race up Mount Palomar (13 miles, about 5,000 feet of climbing)
      B — open water swim race from La Jolla cove to Scripps pier and back (3 miles in ocean)
      C — 200 IM race in pool
      D — 6 flips of 450 pound tire (for time, assuming he can do it once)
      E — Deadlift to failure with bar loaded to equal bodyweight (so, I do about 170 pounds, presumably he does 145 or so)
      F — same as E, but for squat
      G — SAT test, both mathematics and english
      H — 3 three-minute rounds of boxing (or kickboxing, his choice)

      Winner is the guy who wins more events (if we tie, I'll give him the win, and he can give his $1 million to his charity).

      1. I'm not intimately familiar with the SAT tests. Are they fair to use as Peter has a background in engineering? Wouldn't something like being in the control tower of Heathrow airport be a better test for 'mental capacity'?

      2. could we have a smackdown between ben and peter and vinnie vs durian and roll and whoever where there is a neutral (if such a thing exists) doctor/scientist who can tell the audience who is winning the argument. it is extremely confusing to me and probably others like me to hear ben tell us good things and then here the opposite from the likes of roll, arnstein and durian. seems durian rather subdued on this podcast, but goes off on rolls.
        COLOR ME CONFUSED. Is there a test to tell us which path to follow based on our genetics and nuture?
        DAMN INTERSTING DAMN CONFUSING!

        1. Its Roll for me with his proven clean plant food power. Ben makes it all sound as if you need a doctorate degree in bio-chemistry to follow his approach.

          1. So well done on this one Ben. I can’t understand why the comments are focused on choosing sides when Durian was actually LISTENING at the entire section that began as a “wrap up” and by the end Durian was taking in as much as possible so he could learn how to make the switch. Ben you clearly had him thinking and the entire conversation was fantastic. This guy was cool and he completely got it. Great stuff…

      3. Sounds like Peter wants to complicate this to suit his strengthe

        1) Swimming? I don’t think Harley swims–so I don’t think that would be fair.

        2) Given the difference in body weight– to be fair all the strength portions should be body weight specific.

        3) An SAT?? Come on—-how does that make any sense?

  3. If a true test of a ‘diet’ is a race up some hill then surely we should all be eating what Alberto Contador is eating as then we would all fly up mountains..

    1. Nice try, fanboy. If harley had any substance he could put together more than accusatory remarks and put together a full argument.

  4. Harley, what’s your mental clarity throughout the day? Do you every drop dead from mental fatigue during the day, or is your brain revving on all cylinders all day long. One thing I’ve found with lower carb eating is the compete lack of mental bonks. For me, I image that a huge date smoothie would limit my ability to write, pay attention to a presentation, clearly analyze data, or discuss strategy with a coworker.

  5. Bummer, I was looking forward to this, but I'm not going to pay money for it. Since they are in such disagreement, I suppose it makes sense for "Gren Beanfield" to keeps this just for the BG insiders. I'm not a huge fan of DR's YouTube style, but I greatly enjoyed his interview with Rich Roll.

    I'm not sure what a grudge match between two very different individuals would prove, especially since Peter stacked the challenge in his favor. DR has no swimming background, nor dos he have an American university education. Surely a more level playing field could be designed? Regardless, the real issue with these competing lifestyles is not athletic performance, but long term health, and I don't see how such a Mano a Mano fight will settle that.

  6. I love how durianrider tries to pin ben down on cholesterol by attempting to dumb it down to a simple concept of "high cholesterol bad…low cholesterol good". It's such a complex subject, and I'm glad Ben has the knowledge to smack that argument down.

  7. Elite ultra marathon runners Michael Arnstein and Tim Van Orden are long term fruitarians. I've been fruitarian for 6 months and I've never felt better. I recently won the Antelope Island 100k with the second fastest time. Harley knows what he's talking about.

      1. You are 100% correct! I went fruitarian to increase my energy levels. I've been vegetarian for 9 years with perfect health. No headaches, digestive issues, nothing and have been injury-free for over 9 years even as an ultra runner. The one thing I always wanted more of was energy. And this lifestyle has given me high energy all day long, every day. You can check out my recent blog about it here… http://wp.me/p1HuQG-Ya
        Thanks for getting people to think about diet, exercise and lifestyle. Keep up the good work!

      2. Have your spent any time around older Japanese/Chinese/Indian people who subsisted most of their life on mostly plant-based foods (high carb and relatively low fat)???? Travel around Asia and see what people are like? I have…

        It is astounding how healthy, mentally sharp and disease free they are. I am not talking about the younger generations…I'm talking about 1-2 generations back.

        Betting your life on a high fat diet is playing russian roulette with your health as far as I am concerned.

  8. I like Ben’s comments about fitness/health balance. Heart disease is the #1 killer in the US. For optimum heart health, Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, AHA recommend roughly 30-45 minutes, 4-5 times per week at a 12 minute/mile pace. Much beyond that we step away from optimum health and move toward heart damage the further we get away from optimal. I’m curious what Ben’s thoughts about that would be.

  9. Ben, do we get to see your blood test results to compare with Harley’s? Thought you were going to publish them on Friday? Would be good to see a separate post from you going through them both and commenting on how they compare.

      1. Thanks for sharing your results Ben. Any chance you will do a post or podcast to comment on the results (anything surprise you, any dietary changes as a result, comparison with Harley's results…). It would be helpful to get your insights, as some of us (myself included) aren't familiar with all of the details a blood test has to offer.

          1. Thanks Ben. That was very helpful. Looking forward to the post on this as well. Perhaps you can do a second podcast with Harley to go over both blood tests as was mentioned in the first podcast. Sounds like both of you are game for another healthy discussion.

  10. That was a great interview. Thanks, Ben for making it available for everyone. Like Vinnie Tortorich, I much prefer to hear them interviewed than on their own. I agree with Ben that long term health is more important, but I am not convinced by his methods. Like Durianrider, I am convinced by Esselstyn, Barnard, and McDougall. I come here to hear something different., so thanks Ben for providing something different.

  11. Thanks for a balanced, respectful interview. I was glad this didn't disintegrate into a slanging match even though after watching the video post by Harley above, you had reason to be irritated with the tone of his comments. You certainly got his attention with presenting the facts however and gave him something to think about with respect to long term outcomes of a specific eating regime.

  12. I think this points very well to the fact that everyone is different, and our bodies do not all work exactly the same. What works for some, does not work for others. I was a raw vegan for two years and felt like shit, I did a high fat/low carb diet for 8 months and felt even worse. For me the balance is in between. there is no one answer for everyone

  13. Ben… you have to stop talking so god damn much… I think Harley was just being polite most of the time to not talk over you but you kept piping in when he had something to say which was annoying

    was a pretty shit podcast… by reading some of the comments, people think this was a good one? all I heard was Ben talk about free radicals and his long term concern for Harley lol

  14. “Super Starch is a non GMO corn product cycled in a laboratory.” Anyone see the irony in this statement. It’s not a genetically modified/engineered product developed in a laboratory….

  15. hi was super impressed with your first R Roll interview, more so this one which led me to hear your Harley podcast. I'm middle aged recovering SAD absorbing all the good info I can find, thanks for your good work and perspective.

    Like another commenter here I'm persuaded by the result Esselstyn et al, cardiovascular being a personal concern. Your comment the result is perhaps exclusion rather than inclusion is interesting and plausible, but you didn't directly address Harley's question: where are the studies showing high fat diet and heart disease reversal? IMO this would be the single most convincing evidence Paleos could put on the table.

    Meanwhile the points of commonality between Paleo and 80/10/10 are significant 1) exclusion of the worst of SAD, and 2) neither camp uses high level of carb and fat together. Seems pretty obvious both are on to something… but what exactly?

    Would love to hear you perspective on these points, will keep ear to the ground!

  16. Durianrider is an intellectually dishonest vegan ideologue/zealot.

    His biological knowledge would not fill the back of the world’s smallest postage stamp.

    Why anyone would take this benighted fools advice seriously is beyond me.

    I’m a type 2 diabetic and have been doing a LCHF diet and all of my metabolic markers and health markers (total cholesterol/HDL ratio, HbA1c etc.) have improved massively. I have also lost around 10kg without doing exercise.

    I still have about another 10-12kg to lose and I am starting to incorporate physical exercise into my life.

    If I had eaten 30 bananas a day for the last 4 months (how long I’ve been doing LCHF) I think my medical condition would have become much, much worse.

  17. Great interview. Yeah glad you guys didn’t fight. Interestingly I have been trying both ways of life over the past few years. I learned of Harley through Freelee’s Youtube videos. Before that I was on a Paleo diet. Actually I participated in Freelee’s first 30 day challenge cold turkey eating only fruits and no cooked foods. Lost a lot of weight quickly, felt great, had tons of energy at 50. Played soccer professionally as a teenager and actually got back to that level of fitness. Literally would just roadbike a couple hours a day and kick the ball at a lacrosse net for hours, shorts, barefoot, sun, sprint after sprint. It is a great lifestyle and I know what Harley means when he talks about the feeling. Stayed that way for about 14 months.

    Ran across Ben after that and learned a lot as well. I do find it interesting about Ben’s concerns over long term effects, but, like Harley when you are totally HCRV you do have this overwhelming confidence and innate feeling that what you are doing is right and optimal.

    On the primal diet there is always reticence for me. I think the takeaways on that is that most people who do the primal lifestyle, do not do it right. And doing it right is problematic.

    Staying in Ketosis; most people do not realize that it takes great discipline to stay there. A couple hundred grams of carbs too many and you are actually hurting yourself as sugar molecules bind with protein.

    I have to say, after a couple of weeks on 100% fruit, it was simple to stay there. I no longer craved meat, fats or cooked food until the winter.

    I do think there is a seasonal component to each diet that you guys should explore. I have tuned my diet to allow for seasonal and local produce and fruits availability in relation to

    seasons.

    For instance, fruits are not readily available in winter climates, so I introduced yams, greens, rice etc …

    It seems to me that there should be some focus on seasonal rhythms and climates.

    Great interview again and I have learned a lot from both camps.

  18. The whole argument is either proved or disproved by answering the following: ‘does fat coat the insulin receptor and thuscause increased bllod sugar?’ Can anyone answer this?

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