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The fruitarian diet is an extreme raw food diet. A fruitarian diet derives at least 75 percent of its calories from fruit. Fruit is defined as the juicy, reproductive parts of plants and can include sweet fruits, such as pineapple and non-sweet fruits, such as tomatoes and peppers. The rest of the diet is made up of nuts and seeds. Advocates of the diet state that this style of eating is the most natural because early humans ate a fruit-based diet. They also claim that cooked foods, meats, dairy and grains cause mucous that leads to illness. There are several pros and cons to a fruitarian diet 2.
Pro: Fiber Rich, Vitamin and Antioxidant Rich
Fruits are naturally high in fiber, which contributes to healthy bowel function. Dietary fiber also helps lower blood cholesterol levels by binding with bad cholesterol and helps control blood sugar levels by making you absorb sugar more slowly. The fruitarian diet is also rich in vitamins A, C, E and K and many of the B vitamins. Vitamins A, C and E are also powerful antioxidants and help prevent tissue damage from free radicals. A fruitarian diet will also provide all of the minerals you need provided you consume leafy vegetables and avocados, which contain zinc.
- Fruits are naturally high in fiber, which contributes to healthy bowel function.
- A fruitarian diet will also provide all of the minerals you need provided you consume leafy vegetables and avocados, which contain zinc.
Con: Nutritionally limited
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Although fruits contain several antioxidants and vitamins, they do not contain all of the vitamins and minerals that you need to survive. Fruits do not contain vitamins D, B-12, thiamin or niacin. B-12 is only available in meat and is essential for nerve function and red blood cell production. Your body makes vitamin D naturally with sunlight, but people who live in colder climates are at risk for deficiencies and must get it through diet. Vitamin D, essential to bone health, is only available naturally in dairy, fish oils and egg yolks. Thiamin and niacin are both responsible for energy production and are only available in animal products, dried beans and grains, which are excluded from the fruitarian diet. The only exception is peanuts, which contain niacin. If you do not eat foods that contain these vitamins, you must get them through supplementation or through fortified products, such as nutritional yeast.
- Although fruits contain several antioxidants and vitamins, they do not contain all of the vitamins and minerals that you need to survive.
- Thiamin and niacin are both responsible for energy production and are only available in animal products, dried beans and grains, which are excluded from the fruitarian diet.
Pro: Low Karmic and Environmental Cost
Because you are only eating fruits, seeds and nuts you are contributing to sustainable farming because you do not have to kill the plants to harvest the fruits. You are also not contributing to the cruelty that animals experience in the conventional farming system in meat, milk and egg production. By eating organic fruits, nuts and seeds you support organic and sustainable farmers and you can also grow and raise your own food by planting a home or community garden.
Con: Financially Expensive
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If you live in a colder climate, many fruits and vegetables are not available year-round and you will have to spend more money to buy foods shipped in from distant locations. Even in the summer months, your ability to eat locally depends on what is available in your area. A fruitarian in Ohio could have local access to strawberries in the summer months, but not avocados.
Pro and Con: Weight Loss
People on a fruitarian diet lose weight because it is difficult to consume too many calories on this type of diet. Because this is a raw diet, you'll no longer consume processed and cooked foods that can have additives that contribute to weight gain. Unfortunately, you can also lose too much weight because it is also difficult to consume enough calories. The foods in the diet have high water content and clear your digestive tract quickly. The high fiber content also makes these foods filling so while you might get hungry often, you will be full before you can consume all the calories you need in one sitting.
- People on a fruitarian diet lose weight because it is difficult to consume too many calories on this type of diet.
- The high fiber content also makes these foods filling so while you might get hungry often, you will be full before you can consume all the calories you need in one sitting.
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- Living and Raw Foods: Types of Raw Food Diets; Tom Billings
- Fruitarianism: Pro and Con; Tom Billings
- Mayoclinic.com: Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet
- Kids Health: Vitamins
- Kids Health: Minerals
- Should you get your nutrients from foods or from supplements? Harvard Health Letter. May 2015.
- Causso C, Arrieta F, Hernández J, et al. Severe ketoacidosis secondary to starvation in a frutarian patient. Nutr Hosp. 2010;25(6):1049-52.
- Choose My Plate. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- Dietary Guidelines 2015 - 2020. Appendix 2. Estimated calorie needs per day, by age, sex, and physical activity level. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
- A converted “Fruitarian.” BMJ. 2000;321(7272):1331.
- Moynihan P. Sugars and Dental Caries: Evidence for Setting a Recommended Threshold for Intake. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.). Published January 7, 2016.
- Koebnick C, Garcia AL, Dagnelie PC, et al. Long-term consumption of a raw food diet is associated with favorable serum LDL cholesterol and triglycerides but also with elevated plasma homocysteine and low serum HDL cholesterol in humans. J Nutr. 2005;135(10):2372-8. doi:10.1093/jn/135.10.2372
- Slavin JL, Lloyd B. Health benefits of fruits and vegetables. Adv Nutr. 2012;3(4):506-16. doi:10.3945/an.112.002154
Andy Jackson has been writing professionally since 2010. He is a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor in Cincinnati, Ohio. Jackson is also a lifestyle and weight management consultant whose work has appeared in various online publications. He holds a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology and health, and a Master of Science in sports studies from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.