A fruitarian diet, otherwise known as a frugivore diet or fructarian diet, is a type of vegan eating that consists entirely or almost entirely of raw, fresh fruits. Although the diet has several advantages, it also has serious potential drawbacks and is not a balanced eating plan to follow for any significant length of time.
There’s no universal definition for what constitutes a fruitarian or frugivore, but one commonality is that fruitarians get most of their calories from raw, fresh fruit. Some fruitarians eat only fruit and will only eat fruits that have naturally fallen from trees; others are not as strict and will occasionally eat nuts, seeds, vegetables and other foods. Many fruitarians follow a diet that is entirely raw.
The Beyond Veg website, while not in favor of fruitarian diets, acknowledges that they do have several potential advantages. One of the most significant is weight loss. People who are unable to lose weight on low-calorie eating plans or fad diets will normally consume far fewer calories on a fruitarian diet and will consequently lose weight. A fruitarian diet also provides significant amounts of essential vitamins and minerals that the body uses to function successfully.
A fruitarian diet is not balanced since it focuses so heavily on just one main food group. Sacrificing other groups at the expense of eating only or mostly fruit is likely to lead to nutrient deficiencies and may result in more serious health problems as well, explains Go Ask Alice, a service provided by Columbia University. For example, low levels of zinc -- a nutrient deficient in a fruitarian diet -- cripples your immune system, putting you at risk of disease. Another notable drawback of the fruitarian diet is that it is very high in sugar, but generally low in protein and fat. You need some fat in your diet to aid in vitamin absorption and promote brain function, and rely on protein for tissue maintenance.
The Fruitarian Worldwide Network states that most fruitarians eat all sweet and bitter fruits, some fresh vegetables, nuts and seeds and drink water or juice. Other foods are excluded from a fruitarian eating plan. A typical day’s breakfast might be a fresh fruit salad with watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew melon. Lunch could be another large bowl of fruit with sliced bananas, oranges, grapes and berries. For dinner, a fruitarian might eat a cup or two of sliced, raw spinach and bell peppers with a handful of nuts and two or three pieces of fresh fruit as an accompaniment.
A healthy, optimal diet includes daily servings of whole grains, nonfat dairy items, vegetables, fruits and lean proteins. The fruitarian diet is not a valid choice for long-term health improvement due to its limitations. Before beginning any new diet plan, talk with a physician about its details and safety.
- FruitNet.org: The Fruitarian Worldwide Network
- BeyondVeg.com: To Those Considering a Fruitarian Diet
- MyPyramid.gov: Inside the Pyramid
- Go Ask Alice: Fruitarian teens: Are They Stunting their Growth?
- McKinley Health Center: Macronutrients: the Importance of Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat
- Linus Pauling Institute: Zinc
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images