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Tangerines As a Diet

By Sharon Perkins

The tangerine, a citrus fruit, is a type of Mandarin orange. Tangerines peel and separate easily and come in three types: Tangerines, Tangelos and Mandarins. While tangerines do provide some valuable nutrients, they completely lack other vital ones. A diet consisting exclusively of tangerines--excluding all other foods--eventually would result in serious nutritional deficiencies.

Nutritional Value

Tangerines have high amounts of vitamin C, supplying about 50 percent of the daily recommended value. One medium tangerine contains 50 calories per fruit. It provides 3g of fiber, 15g of carbohydrates--12 of those grams from sugar--1g of protein and 0.5g of fat.

Missing Nutrients

Although a diet of tangerines theoretically could supply all the carbohydrates, calories and sugar you might need, your diet would sorely lack protein and fats. Since the average woman needs around 2,000 calories per day and a man around 2,600 calories per day, a woman would need to eat 40 tangerines per day and a man 54 to satisfy caloric needs. Tangerines lack a number of vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, potassium, vitamin D, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids.

Risks

Following a tangerine diet for more than a few days involves numerous risks. Your body needs 10 to 35 percent of daily calories from protein to repair cells and tissues, according to MayoClinic.com. Malnutrition results from a diet without protein. Fats, which also contribute to cell and immune system functioning, should comprise 20 to 35 percent of your daily caloric intake, MayoClinic.com notes. Tangerines contain very little protein or fat. Other nutritional deficiencies from an all-fruit diet, such as a tangerine diet, include lack of calcium, iron, B12 and zinc, warns Diet.com.

Benefits

An all-tangerine diet would supply an adequate amount of carbohydrates, fiber and vitamin C. Proponents of an all-fruit diet claim it cleanses the body of toxins and promotes weight loss, according to Diet.com. Since there's no scientific proof of any particular benefits of all-fruit diets, talk with your doctor before starting one.

Considerations

It’s doubtful you’d be able to eat all the tangerines required to supply enough calories every day. Even if your calorie intake was adequate, it would be impossible to obtain all the nutrients you need. Becoming a fruitarian would supply more nutrients to your diet. Fruitarians follow an all-fruit diet but don’t restrict themselves to one type of fruit. They add fruits that supply some fat and protein, such as avocados. Fruitarians also eat nuts, which contain protein.

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