London - A zoo has banned its monkeys from eating bananas – after nutritionists said it was the equivalent of humans eating cake and chocolate.

Amy Plowman, head of conservation at Paignton Zoo in Devon, said: “People usually try to improve their diet by eating more fruit, but fruit cultivated for humans is much higher in sugar and much lower in protein and fibre than most wild fruit.

“Giving this fruit to animals is equivalent to giving them cake and chocolate. It can also cause gastrointestinal problems as their stomachs are mostly adapted to eating fibrous foods with very low digestibility.”

Instead the monkeys are being given vegetables. “Lots of them, especially leafy green veg,” said Dr Plowman.

The change has not only led to improvement in physical health, but also behaviour.

Senior head keeper Matthew Webb said: “Smaller monkeys such as tamarins and marmosets are highly-strung animals. Reducing the sugar in their diets has calmed them down and made their groups more settled.” - Daily Mail