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Page last updated at 16:58 GMT, Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Snack stand-off: Banana v KitKat

Bananas and KitKats

By Denise Winterman
BBC News Magazine

Gordon Brown is reportedly weaning himself off his four-KitKats-a-day habit and is now eating nine bananas instead to get fit for the election. So which is the best snack?

From chocolate-coated wafer biscuit snack to the bendy that comes with its own packaging - the prime minister is reportedly changing his snack of choice.

Gordon Brown
Brown makes his allegiance clear in the two v four fingers debate

It's been reported that Gordon Brown habitually ate three or four KitKats a day until his wife put her foot down and nudged him on a healthier diet.

Downing Street will neither confirm nor deny the PM's switch in snacking allegiance. "The numbers are a matter of speculation," says his official spokesman, who does, however, add that bananas help ensure "good health and radiance".

Both are giants of the snack world, but how do they measure up?

picture of a banana picture of a kitkat
The United Kingdom's best-selling fruit by far: 231 bananas eaten every second on average. The UK's best-selling confectionery brand: 47 KitKats are eaten every second on average.
105 in a medium banana (CalorieKing) 230 in a traditional four-finger bar (Nestle)
0.4g fat (1% daily recommended intake)/0.1g sat fat (1% daily recommended intake) 12g fat (18% daily recommended intake)/7g sat fat (36% daily recommended intake)
Rich source of potassium, essential for good blood pressure and heart function, and fibre. A medium banana has roughly 400mg of potassium, 11% of your daily recommended intake and 3.1g of fibre, 12% of your daily recommended intake. Also helps regulate blood sugar levels and slowly release energy. Not brimming with vitamins and minerals, but has some calcium - good for bones and teeth - and iron, good for blood and transporting oxygen around the body. One four-finger bar provides 6% of recommended daily calcium intake and 8% of recommended daily iron intake. Also has 1g of fibre.
Unripe bananas can cause constipation. High fibre content means eating too many can cause bloating and wind. Gives a sugar rush but not very filling. Even has 0.1g of trans fat, the food nasty that is bad for the heart.
Limited satisfaction - it's simply fuel for most people. The banana experience can be spiced up if thrown in a fruit smoothie, or baked in a tasty muffin, but the latter is not so healthy. Mmmm. Good mouth-feel. And snapping off a finger can be a very satisfying sound, particularly if it is the sound of friends sharing the snack. Rare all-chocolate finger is bliss.
Lionel Blair
Lionel Blair
Girls Aloud's Cheryl Cole
Cheryl Cole
Comes in three sizes - small, medium or large. Colour, texture and taste varies as the banana ripens from woody and green to mushy and nearly black. Dried banana chips add an extra frisson to the selection. Four fingers or two. Chunky. Dark chocolate. White chocolate. Mint. Orange. Caramel. Cappuccino. Apple (Japan). Hazelnut (Germany). Even banana flavoured in Canada. The list goes on and on...
Fishermen associate bananas with bad luck. One popular theory suggests this is because venomous spiders hitched rides in banana crates - and once onboard would bite and kill crew. Parents in Japan swear by KitKats when their youngsters are taking exams. The phrase "Kitto Katsu" apparently translates as "you will surely win". The bars are often given as a good-luck gift.
A slip on a banana skin is painful and very embarrassing. Dunkers run the risk of burning their actual fingers on hot beverages.
The banana-skin slip has been a comedy classic for generations and across cultures. It's made the world laugh. It's a global chocolate bar, that cuts through cultural differences. The world shares the UK's love of KitKats.
Easily battered about and squashed. Can look obscene in a trouser pocket. Flat and slips very neatly into pockets or bags, but easily melts and snaps.
Mentioned in Buddhist texts in 600 BC. Alexander the Great discovered the fruit in India in 327 BC. Organised banana plantations could be found in China back in 200 AD. Launched in 1935 and was originally called Chocolate Crisp. From 1945-47, sported a blue wrapper when plain chocolate was used due to milk shortages after the war.
One in every four bananas sold in UK supermarkets is now Fairtrade, with sales topping £150m. But there has been a long-running international trade dispute, with tariffs on some countries that produce the fruit for European markets. The four-finger KitKat was certified as Fairtrade in the UK and Ireland in January 2010. Although parent company Nestle does have a chequered reputation for ethics, with consumer boycotts over the years because of its promotion of baby milk formula in Africa.
Christian activist Ray Comfort says bananas are proof of God's existence - they are so perfectly suited to our hands, God must have created them expressly for our benefit. A Dutch website reported last April that a man had claimed to have seen the face of Jesus in the centre of a KitKat Chunky he had just taken a bite out of.

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