Bananas and water: A deadly combination?

Bananas and water: A deadly combination?

In the course of my recent Internet research wanderings, I came across an essay so outrageous I couldn’t believe the mainstream press hadn’t pounced on it already. Of course, not a word of it was true, but that never really stopped the media before.

Anyway, the essay was about bananas. You wouldn’t think someone could get a whole essay out of bananas, but this one had enough imagination behind it to make it work. Apparently, the author says, bananas may be lethal under certain circumstances.

Thanks to the work of researchers led by Professor Buddy Finkilly, who works at the Institute of Public Safety in Relation to Structural and Chemical Stability of Produce, we now know that bananas’ high potassium content can react violently when mixes with dihydrogen monoxide-that’s H2O. In fact, the essay says, this chemical reaction caused one poor sap’s head to blow right off when he ate a banana and chased it with a glass of water.

Now, let me stress again that this essay was pure fiction-a hilarious satire definitely worth a read (I’ve listed the link at the end of this article). But it’s just this sort of eloquently worded joke that confuses dim-witted sources like the government and mainstream media. And, subsequently, things like this have a very real chance of getting passed off as fact to an uninformed public. No, it didn’t happen in this specific instance, but who’s to say what other “urgent” messages about harmless substances (like, oh tobacco) have their roots in fiction.

As perfect as a plant can be

The truth is, bananas are good for you. I know I don’t often talk about the virtues of fruits, but bananas are about as close to an ideal food as you can find in the world of flora. Although they don’t contain some of the essentials such as fat, sodium, or cholesterol, bananas are a rich source of nutrients.

They’re also very digestible and unlikely to cause an allergic reaction, which is why bananas are often the first solid food given to a baby. And speaking of their digestibility, bananas have also been reported as an effective ulcer treatment because they contain a natural protease inhibitor that can kill the harmful H. pylori bacteria that cause ulcers.

On the down side, bananas have a high carbohydrate content, so if you stuff yourself with them, you will get fat.

Action to take:

I have calculated the risk of your head exploding from eating bananas and drinking water, and it’s roughly one in a million quadtillion-about the same odds as contracting lung cancer from secondhand smoke. I recommend you take the risk and eat bananas whenever you feel like it. Just don’t overdo it.


“Scientific Study Results: Do Not Eat Bananas,” Afflatus: Selected writings (website-, accessed 2/13/03