The Fruitarian Diet: Can Relying Solely on Fruits Be Healthy?

With all the diets that exist right now, many of you probably think you’ve seen and heard them all. But have you ever heard of the fruitarian diet?

That’s right. Fruitarian.

Basically, it’s a diet that consists entirely of fruits. You are also sometimes allowed some nuts and seeds. You just had to make sure you did not consume any animal products.

There are a few notable personalities who actually followed this diet. Steve Jobs was an advocate. Apparently, that’s why he named his company Apple. Also, the Indian political and spiritual leader Mohandas Gandhi went on the fruitarian diet for 5 years. And finally, actor Ashton Kutcher tried the diet for a movie role.

How It All Started

Many religious scholars argue that the fruitarian diet has been around since the beginning of time. They even say that Adam and Eve were the original fruitarians. Famous writer, inventor, and scientist Leonardo da Vinci, in his writings, said that he was a fruitarian.

In the past, a number of people were believed to be fruitarians based on the availability of food in their location and in their time.

The Fruitarian Diet: A Rundown

Most followers of the fruitarian diet make sure that at least 75 percent of their daily fare comes from raw fruit. Also, there are die-hard fruitarians who only eat fruit that fall from the tree or shrub or bush naturally. They snub picked fruits.

Plenty of those on the fruitarian diet believe that the quality of the fruits found in grocery stores and supermarkets is poor. This is because these fruits possibly underwent chemical fertilization, hybridization, chemical pesticides, and harvesting the fruit before it reaches its peak of ripeness.

Other fruitarians prefer buying their fruits from farmers’ markets, which they believe are more organic and natural.

This diet typically revolves around the 7 basic fruit groups. These are the following:

  1. Acid fruits (pineapples, citrus, strawberries, kiwi, cranberries)
  2. Subacid fruits (figs, raspberries, sweet cherries, mangoes, blueberries)
  3. Sweet fruits (melons, grapes, bananas, persimmons)
  4. Oily fruits (olives, coconuts, avocados)
  5. Dried fruits (raisins, dates, prunes, figs)
  6. Nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias)
  7. Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, squash, sesame)

According to the Fruitarian Foundation, you should not mix fruits as you eat. You have to wait at least 90 minutes between consuming different types of fruit. Also, you can eat as much fruit as you want, until you feel satisfied. However, you should limit the amount of dried fruits that you take in. And lastly, you should not eat at all if you are not hungry.

Take note that there are certain fruits that are recommended for certain times of the day. There are also fruits that you can eat at any time. These include, bananas, avocados, coconuts, olives, lemon juice, raw chestnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, pine nuts, hazelnuts, and cashews.

The Benefits

Take note that the benefits you get from the fruitarian diet are expressed by practitioners of the diet, and not from third-party scientific research.

According to Michael Arnstein, he feels superhuman ever since he started the fruitarian diet. “I’ve evolved into an elite marathon runner, and I recently ran 100 miles in 12 hours and 57 minutes. I also haven’t had a cold or a cough during that time.”

Another long-time fruitarian, Tom Billings, lists numerous benefits of the diet. These include cleansing the body of harmful toxins, weight loss, improved function of the respiratory system, and sharpening of the senses (especially taste and smell). He also adds that this is environmentally friendly as most fruits consumed are grown and sold locally.

There are other physical benefits of the fruitarian diet, according to the Fruitarian Foundation. Some of these are the prevention and cure of cancer, treatment of digestive problems (like constipation, bloating, etc.), treatment of insomnia and depression, and an increase in sexual vitality.

Other benefits include a stronger immune system, reduction or elimination of menstruation, improvement of muscle coordination, the ability to control addictions (like alcohol, tobacco, and drugs), and better appearance of hair, skin, nails, and eyes.

The Risks

This type of diet is restrictive and can cause a few side effects and issues. Read on below for some of them.

Increase in Food Cravings

The fruitarian diet restricts your fare to just fruits (and maybe a few nuts and seeds thrown in). Just eating one kind of food will make you long for other types to add to your diet. You might start dreaming and craving about that juicy cheeseburger a lot more.

Starvation Mode

Another negative side effect on relying solely on fruits to nourish you is it may push your body to starvation mode.

With the fruitarian diet, you are depriving your body of a lot of necessary vitamins, fats, and proteins. This leads to starvation mode.

And when your body feels that it’s starving, your metabolism will slow down. This is your body’s way of conserving energy for vital functions.

Nutrition Deficiencies

It’s been noted that fruitarians usually have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, vitamin D, iodine, as well as calcium.  

Take note that other food sources, like soy protein and dairy cultures, provide all these nutrient deficiencies. And unfortunately, these types of food are a no-no to those who are on this particular diet.

This then makes malnourishment quite common in the fruitarian community.

Take it from Gaynor Bussell from the British Dietetic Association, who says, “It’s virtually impossible to get all the nutrients you need. You would miss out on essential fatty acids. One of the big ones is B12, and you can get anemia if you don’t get enough. And deficiencies in calcium, protein, and iron would lead to tiredness and lethargy. You would be prone to osteoporosis. The immune function would probably be quite low. We have to have things from all the different food groups for a reason.”

Weight Gain

If you thought that just eating fruits would ensure a very fast weight loss, you thought wrong. Fruits are very heavy in natural sugars. Eating too much fruits actually puts you at risk of gaining weight.

Other Issues

The fruitarian diet is quite dangerous to diabetics or pre-diabetic patients. Again, the natural sugars found in fruits is to blame for this. Eating too much fruits will negatively affect blood sugar levels.

Also, just eating fruits can be dangerous for people with kidney disorders or pancreatic disorders.

Tooth Decay

Here’s another disadvantage caused by natural sugars. They will put you at high risk for tooth decay as well as cavities. Citrus fruits, like oranges, are highly acidic. This can erode tooth enamel. Also, did you know that apples actually have the potential to be as corrosive as soda or candy? Scary, huh?

Final Thoughts

Before you try out the fruitarian diet, make sure to consult your primary physician. He or she will tell you if you are physically healthy enough to take on this restrictive diet. They may also prescribe some dietary supplements that you can use in order to overcome these various nutrient deficiencies.

Kate B. Forsyth is a writer for Be Healthy Today, who specializes in health and nutrition. Her passion is to help people get an overall transformation of health that lasts a lifetime. In her blog posts, she goes beyond research by providing health-concerned citizens doable and simple tricks to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

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