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RESPONSE to article “Eating Only Fruit Might Be Trendy, But It’s A Really Bad Idea”
A recent article posted on refinery29.com has put together 3 major reasons as to why a Fruitarian diet is a bad idea. You can read the whole article here:
Let’s have a look through the article to confront the issues it raises and see if we can offer any helpful commentary on this.
The first problem with the fruitarian diet is:
Reason 1: “You need other nutrients”
This section, though recognising the many benefits of fruit, makes the claim that “fruit can’t provide all of the vital nutrients your body needs to function.”
This is true. But this is true of all foods and all variations of diet. The reason for this is that there are nutrients that we require that are not provided by food. Vitamin D comes from sunlight on our skin and vitamin B12 is created by bacteria. Other essential nutrients are created by our body once we have consumed the building blocks from food.
Therefore it is truthful to say that fruit doesn’t provide all of our required nutrients….but this is not giving the whole story. The author then goes on to say:
“For example, you need foods with protein to transport, build, and repair tissue, and fat to protect your organs and help your brain do its job.”
This comment implies that fruit does not contain protein. Although this is technically true, protein is not a required nutrient either as the body synthesises protein from amino acids. All whole foods, including fruit contain amino acids. The real question is whether there is enough amino acids in fruits to fuel our repair and growth?
Fruit contains roughly the same proportion of protein as does mother’s milk. Mother’s milk is the food we consume when we do the most growth in our life, doubling our body size in a short space of time. If nature has provided us with adequate protein in milk, then the amount of protein in fruit should also be adequate.
This is hard to disprove as cases of protein deficiency have never been found. Conditions which are confused with protein deficiency such as kwashiorkor only occur in situations in which there is inadequate total calorie intake. In other words, the person is actually consuming their own protein (and turning it into calories) due to a lack of food rather than because of a lack of protein.
No study has proven that a fruitarian diet is inadequate for protein in humans. Our best way to evaluate this would be to look at other similar animals that consume a fruitarian style diet. What we find is that these animals do not suffer from protein deficiencies despite their diet’s being almost entirely made up of fruit.
Reason 2: It’s restrictive.
In this section the author talks about the issue of restrictive eating. Restricting what we eat is difficult to do long term and can lead to harming our relationship with food.
Although there could be some truth to these things the consequences of not restricting our diet in some ways are very severe. We now know that people are much more at risk from eating to excess than eating restrictively. The number of people suffering from problems related to unrestricted eating is far greater than those suffering from restrictive eating disorders.
Therefore, it makes sense that we should to some degree restrict our diets. The alternative is to eat the standard diet that we know for sure contributes to the major diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Though a fruitarian diet is difficult, it is made more difficult by the fact that we condition people to eat a poor diet from birth. If people were brought up in a different environment with a different diet, then no one would have an issue sticking to that diet as it would be second nature to them.
The issue to stick to is whether a fruitarian style diet is healthier. Though there is little research on people trying fruitarian diets in the long term this is something that will hopefully be studied more in the future. For now we can look once again to animals that share our biology, who all seem to thrive on a fruit based diet.
Also, is eating fruit truly restrictive?
How many varieties of food does the average person consume per week? Grains and grain based products, types of meat, dairy based products…it’s not a huge variety? A fruit lover can eat hundreds of completely different types of fruit each year. As the seasons change, entirely new fruits appear for us to enjoy.
Reason 3: It could be pretty bad for you.
In order to back up this claim, the author has relied on an anecdotal story of Ashton Kutcher’s attempt at eating an all fruit diet to prepare for his role as Steve Jobs:
“he attempted to eat Jobs’ infamous all-fruit diet to get into character, and ended up in the hospital due to low pancreas levels.”
There is no explanation here as to what “low pancreas levels” means. When someone goes to hospital, is it usual for doctors to test for “pancreas levels”? Perhaps they are referring to insulin levels but we do not really know.
This is a pretty poor source to quote from. Once again, there are no studies showing a connection between fruit and an impairment to the function of the pancreas. There are none showing a connection between fruit and pancreatic cancer (which Steve Jobs died from).
What is also unusual is that Kutcher’s former partner, Demi Moore, has been famously said to be essentially a raw vegan:
She is known to have worked with Dr Doug Graham, author of the 80/10/10 Diet and one of the main people responsible for the rise in popularity of a fruit based diet. It is unusual that he would not have turned to her for some advice on how to try this diet out.
“Additionally, for people with diabetes who can’t create or utilize insulin, an all-fruit diet could be harmful, according to the Cleveland Clinic.”
Any diet is harmful for a diabetic if they are not taking insulin. Therefore once again, this statement is a half truth. But is a fruit diet going to be more harmful for a diabetic.
What has often been found, though not yet fully studied, is that people on a fruit based diet actually require less insulin if they are diabetic. A great example of this is Robby Barbaro from “Mastering Diabetes”. Robby has been on a fruitarian style diet for over 10 years and has had no problems with controlling his diabetes on this lifestyle.
“So, if you’re still intrigued by what an all-fruit diet entails, ask your doctor — chances are they’ll tell you to stick to “an apple a day,” and a variety of other foods as well.”
Of course this is really what everyone wants to hear. Just keep eating whatever you are eating…move along, nothing to see here.
Doctor’s are not qualified to give nutrition or dietary advice. The diet advice out there in the world of healthcare is pretty poor and often not in line with the latest science on nutrition.
Much of it has been influenced over many years by the agenda and lobbying power of various food industries. This information has led to mass confusion in the public consciousness about diet.
We would encourage you to give a fruit based diet a try. Don’t jump in over night but set it as your destination and start to move towards it by making gradual changes. Many people start with fruit for breakfast, then they continue from there.
You may be amazed by the health improvements it brings as well as the change to your body, mind and spirit. If you want to learn more about this kind of lifestyle consider coming to UK Fruitfest taking place from the 21st to the 28th of July, 2019.
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