There is no doubt that one of the most controversial questions in the raw food world is whether cooked food is addictive or not.
Most people who eat a 100% raw diet, or close to that, usually admit that they believe that cooked food (and even some raw foods) are addictive in the same way that other substances can be. They talk openly about their struggles with giving up cooked food. Many struggled for a long time before finally getting on a 100% raw path long term. Often, they will not eat any cooked food as they know that it will lead them back to eating a lot of cooked food again.
However, many other people laugh at the notion that cooked food is addictive. They may counter that if bread is addictive then fruit is addictive too. That we have a drive to eat and that their preference for keeping cooked food in their diet is nothing to do with addiction but instead it is a choice they are making.
Of course, it is impossible to really assess this properly by just taking stories and personal experiences into account. What does and examination of the research around this topic suggest?
Let’s take a look in this article and see what conclusions we can come to.
What is the definition of Addicted?
So that we start off on the right foot. Let’s be clear on what addiction actually means. Here are some definitions:
Dictionary.com, Oxford Dictionary
– physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance.
– having a compulsive physiological need for a habit forming substance (such as a drug)
Wikipedia (American Society of Addiction Medicine, and Eric J. Nestler, MD, PhD* )
– Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences
We can also talk about addiction in an informal way. A person can be “addicted” to going to the gym, or “addicted” to running but these are more informal ways of using the word not intended to actually suggest the person has a true addiction.
So is food truly addictive like a drug or is it more likely that we simply love eating and are enthusiastic about anything we eat to the point of it looking like an addiction?
Can Food Be Addictive?
We commonly talk about people being addicted to food. We use words like “chocoholic”. Even in advertising we hear phrases like “once you pop, you just can’t stop”. Let’s look further into this:
Some researchers suggest that food is not addictive, the act of eating is addictive
This article, VIEW HERE, suggests that food is NOT addictive:
“Food is not addictive … but eating is: Gorging is psychological compulsion, say experts,” the Mail Online reports. The news follows an article in which scientists argue that – unlike drug addiction – there is little evidence that people become addicted to the substances in certain foods.
Researchers argue that instead of thinking of certain types of food as addictive, it would be more useful to talk of a behavioural addiction to the process of eating and the “reward” associated with it.”
It is clear that not all scientists agree with the notion that food is addictive. But when we look further into this it seems like the evidence in favour of the idea of food addiction is overwhelming.
Some Of The Largest Reference Websites In The World Support The Theory Of Food Addiction: WebMD, Healthline, Wikipedia
WebMD on Food Addictions
Full article: https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/binge-eating-disorder/mental-health-food-addiction#1
Researchers at Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Science & Policy have developed a questionnaire to identify people with food addictions. Here’s a sample of questions that can help determine if you have a food addiction. Do these actions apply to you? Do you:
End up eating more than planned when you start eating certain foods
Keep eating certain foods even if you’re no longer hungry
Eat to the point of feeling ill
Worry about not eating certain types of foods or worry about cutting down on certain types of foods
When certain foods aren’t available, go out of your way to obtain them
The questionnaire also asks about the impact of your relationship with food on your personal life. Ask yourself if these situations apply to you:
You eat certain foods so often or in such large amounts that you start eating food instead of working, spending time with the family, or doing recreational activities.
You avoid professional or social situations where certain foods are available because of fear of overeating.
You have problems functioning effectively at your job or school because of food and eating.”
Full article: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-overcome-food-addiction#section1
“The truth is… the effects of certain foods on the brain can lead to downright addiction.
Food addiction is a very serious problem and one of the main reasons some people just can’t control themselves around certain foods, no matter how hard they try.
What Is Food Addiction?
Food addiction is, quite simply, being addicted to junk food in the same way as drug addicts are addicted to drugs.
It involves the same areas in the brain, the same neurotransmitters and many of the symptoms are identical (1).
Food addiction is a relatively new (and controversial) term and there are no good statistics available on how common it is.
How This Works
Processed junk foods have a powerful effect on the “reward” centers in the brain, involving brain neurotransmitters like dopamine (2). The foods that seem to be the most problematic include typical “junk foods,” as well as foods that contain either sugar or wheat, or both.
Food addiction is not about a lack of willpower or anything like that, it is caused by the intense dopamine signal “hijacking” the biochemistry of the brain . There are many studies that support the fact that food addiction is a real problem.”
Addiction And Eating Disorder Sites
What do organisations involved in treating addiction have to say about food addiction?
“However, for many individuals, food can become as addictive as drugs are to a substance abuser.”
Food addiction can be recognizable by numerous signs and symptoms. The following are possible symptoms of food addiction:
1. Gorging in more food than one can physically tolerate
2. Eating to the point of feeling ill
3. Going out of your way to obtain certain foods
4. Continuing to eat certain foods even if no longer hungry
5. Eating in secret, isolation
6. Avoiding social interactions, relationships, or functions to spend time eating certain foods.
7. Difficulty function in a career or job due to decreased efficiency
8. Spending significant amount of money on buying certain foods for bingeing purposes
9. Decreased energy, chronic fatigue
10. Difficulty concentrating
11. Sleep disorders, such as insomnia or oversleeping
15. Digestive disorders
16. Suicidal ideations
Binge eating disorder is a medically recognised disorder that is characterised by excessive eating over long periods of time.
A person who suffers from the disorder will typically demonstrate the following symptoms:
1. Compulsions to eat when not physically hungry
2. Routinely eating past the point of feeling full
3. Routinely eating more quickly than others
4. A tendency to try and keep eating habits a secret
5. Feelings of guilt after eating episodes
6. Persistent feelings that one is abnormal
7. Persistent feelings that food is taking over one’s life
8. Routinely attempting to compensate for overeating through dieting or purging.
There is no doubt that food addiction is a serious problem that can lead to physical and mental issues. Not treating the addiction only makes matters worse. A person who is struggling with food to any extent, whether through bingeing or compulsive eating, needs to seek out treatment right away.
How Food Addiction Is Treated
Although food addiction, as exemplified by conditions such as binge eating syndrome and compulsive eating, does share many similarities with other kinds of addictions, it has one characteristic that makes it unique: human beings cannot live without food. We can live without drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, and so many other things; stop eating and you will die of starvation. Therefore, abstinence is not a cure.
The goal of food addiction treatment is to identify what causes compulsive thoughts and behaviours so that these can be managed. Some of the more common triggers of food addiction are:
underlying emotional stress
more and stronger cravings for food
a need for comfort that only food can provide
an inability to say no to food when entertaining or being entertained.
Articles In The Media
The Guardian- Food Addiction: Does It Really Exist?
About a decade ago, a group of American psychiatrists studying obesity decided to look into whether some people’s anecdotal claims of food addiction could be proven. They devised a series of studies in which rats were offered highly palatable sugary or fatty food (they had the option of their regular healthy food, too, but that didn’t get a look-in).
Nicole Avena was one of the researchers: “We found signs of tolerance, withdrawal, craving and measurable changes in neural chemicals such as dopamine and opioid release,” she says. In short, it looked very much as though the animals were addicted to a drug, even tolerating “foot shock” (running over an electric grid) to get their fix.
There have been surveys on the foods people say they find addictive. Many of the human studies into food addiction have been based around the Yale Food Addiction Scale, a questionnaire used to determine whether someone could be classified as a food addict. One of its questions is about which foods the subject finds most problematic, and Ashley Gearhardt, the co-creator of the scale, has shared the top 10 nasties.
Top 10 Most Addictive Foods
From 10 to 1 in a survey these were found to the foods people perceived as most addictive:
– White Bread, Donuts, Pasta, Cake, Cookies, Chocolate, French Fries, Candy, Ice Cream
Notice that all of these foods are cooked or processed foods. Most have either additional sugar, salt or oil making these foods highly palatable.
What constitutes addiction anyway?
“This is a subject of ongoing debate. Avena and colleagues used the diagnosis criteria in the standard American guide for psychiatrists, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This stipulates that three of the following must have applied to an individual over the past year to qualify them as addicts:
• The substance is often taken in larger amounts than intended.
• A persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down substance use.
• A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance.
• Important activities are given up or reduced because of substance use.
• Substance use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance.”
The Extraordinary Science Of Addictive Eating – New York Times
This article talks more about the things that food companies are doing to make foods more addictive to consumers. This is includes creating flavours that hit the ideal “bliss point” but without being so focused on one flavour that the brain is triggered to stop eating.
Moskowitz’s path to mastering the bliss point began in earnest not at Harvard but a few months after graduation, 16 miles from Cambridge, in the town of Natick, where the U.S. Army hired him to work in its research labs. The military has long been in a peculiar bind when it comes to food: how to get soldiers to eat more rations when they are in the field. They know that over time, soldiers would gradually find their meals-ready-to-eat so boring that they would toss them away, half-eaten, and not get all the calories they needed. But what was causing this M.R.E.-fatigue was a mystery.
“So I started asking soldiers how frequently they would like to eat this or that, trying to figure out which products they would find boring,” Moskowitz said. The answers he got were inconsistent. “They liked flavorful foods like turkey tetrazzini, but only at first; they quickly grew tired of them. On the other hand, mundane foods like white bread would never get them too excited, but they could eat lots and lots of it without feeling they’d had enough.”
This contradiction is known as “sensory-specific satiety.” In lay terms, it is the tendency for big, distinct flavors to overwhelm the brain, which responds by depressing your desire to have more. Sensory-specific satiety also became a guiding principle for the processed-food industry. The biggest hits — be they Coca-Cola or Doritos — owe their success to complex formulas that pique the taste buds enough to be alluring but don’t have a distinct, overriding single flavor that tells the brain to stop eating.
Wikipedia- Article: FOOD ADDICTION
As we have seen, Wikipedia can often be innacurate with it’s information or biased. We always must use it as just one source and not the be all and end all. The sources used in this article seem to be very strong which is why we share it here:
“Food addiction” refers to compulsive overeaters who engage in frequent episodes of uncontrolled eating (binge eating). The term binge eating means eating an unhealthy amount of food while feeling that one’s sense of control has been lost. People who engage in binge eating may feel frenzied, and consume a large number of calories before stopping. Food binges may be followed by feelings of guilt and depression; for example, some will cancel their plans for the next day because they “feel fat.” Binge eating also has implications on physical health, due to excessive intake of fats and sugars, which can cause numerous health problems.
Can Fruits And Vegetables Be Addictive?
It appears that we are pulling together evidence to show that food can be addictive. When we look closer into that we see that the foods that are found to be addictive are exclusively processed and cooked foods. But are fruits and vegetables also addictive?
Researchers at the University of Michigan studied addictive-like eating in 518 participants . They used the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) as a reference. This is the most commonly used tool to assess food addiction. All participants got a list of 35 foods, both processed and unprocessed.
They rated how likely they were to experience problems with each of the 35 foods, on a scale from 1 (not at all addictive) to 7 (extremely addictive). In this study, 7–10% of participants were diagnosed with full-blown food addiction.
What’s more, 92% of participants had addictive-like eating behavior towards some foods. They repeatedly had the desire to quit eating them, but were unable to. Below, you’ll see the results about which foods were the most and least addictive.
Once again we see a strong showing for cooked and processed foods. Animal products are among the most addictive also. However, we see no sign of fruit or vegetables in the most addictive group.
17 Least Addictive
Cucumbers (1.53), Carrots (1.60), Beans (no sauce) (1.63), Apples (1.66), Brown rice (1.74), Broccoli (1.74), Bananas (1.77)
Salmon (1.84), Corn (no butter or salt) (1.87), Strawberries (1.88), Granola bar (1.93), Water (1.94), Crackers (plain) (2.07)
Pretzels (2.13), Chicken breast (2.16), Eggs (2.18), Nuts (2.47)
We see clearly that the raw fruits and vegetables are all in the top 10 least addictive foods. The results here are a little confusing however. Water, for example, is showing as more addictive than crackers or pretzels! Some whole foods that are usually cooked are showing in the top 10 least addictive also. Salmon is showing as less addictive than Strawberries!
Broadly, the pattern we see here is that the raw fruits and vegetables are among the least addictive foods. Of the most addictive foods, cooked and processed foods make up the entire list.
The Opinions Of Vegan Doctors
Many vegans and raw vegans respect the advice of some of the well known vegan doctors. Whether these doctors can be truly said to be experts in nutrition is debatable but their opinion is influential in vegan circles. What do they have to say?
Dr Joel Kahn
Dr Joel Kahn is a cardiologist from the USA. Known as “America’s Healthy Heart Doc” he has been treating patients with a plant based diet for many years. In this article he wrote about animal products, sugar and fat as being addictive but also believe that wheat and rice have addictive properties:
6 Foods That Behave Like Addictive Drugs In Your Body
“Dairy– No food group has been studied more for opioid activity than dairy, particularly milk and cheese. The protein in dairy, casein, is digested into smaller peptides and there are a family of active agents called casomorphins. The desire for cheese can be blocked by the same medicines used to reverse drug overdoses in emergency rooms!
Meat- The blood in meat contains albumin, hemoglobin and gamma globulin and all of these chemicals activate opioid receptors. When meat eaters were treated with a drug used to block opiate receptors, ham consumption fell by 10%, salami by 25% and tuna by 50%!
Wheat and rice– Gliadin is a protein in wheat that has opiate activity and is sometimes referred to as gliadorphin. There is also a protein in rice that produces similar effects. If you can’t stop reaching for the bread bowl, it’s most likely because of this feel-good chemical trap.
Sugar and fat- Headlines worldwide last fall reported on a study in rats showing a preference for Oreo cookies, used for their high sugar and fat content, that was similar to providing the rats cocaine and morphine. Actually, prior studies in humans had already shown the opioid like effects of mixing sugar and fat (think: donut) that could be reversed with narcotic blockers.
Dr Michael Greger (NutritionFacts.org)
Many vegans look to Dr Michael Greger as the font of all wisdom when it comes to what is healthy to eat. In a number of articles he has confronted the idea of food addiction:
“Evidence from PET scans suggests brain activity changes from the overconsumption of sugar may parallel that of drug addiction. Diminished “pleasure center” dopamine pathway sensitivity in obese individuals may be analogous to that found in cocaine addicts and alcoholics.”
Circuits In Human Obesity and Addiction
“A reduction in dopamine receptors is associated with addictive behaviour irrespective of whether it is due to food or to addictive drugs. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter primarily involved in the pleasure and reward centre in our brain helping to motivate our drive for things like food, water and sex.
It was healthy and adaptive for our primate brains to drive us to eat that banana when there wasn’t much food around but now (with modern processed foods) this adaptation has become a dangerous liability.”
“People who regularly eat ice cream—sugar and fat—have a deadened dopamine response in their brains to drinking a milkshake. It’s like when drug abusers have to use more and more to get the same high. “Frequent [ice cream] consumption…is related to a reduction in reward-region responsivity in humans”—they’re talking about the pleasure center—”paralleling the tolerance observed in drug addiction.” Once we’ve so dulled our dopamine response, we may subsequently overeat “in an effort to achieve the degree of satisfaction experienced previously, which contributes to unhealthy weight gain.”
Consumption of a calorie-dense diet compared to the same number calories in a calorie-dilute diet leads to that numbing of the dopamine response. It’s like the difference between cocaine and crack. Same stuff chemically, but by smoking crack cocaine, we can deliver a higher dose quicker to our brain.
Rather than taking drugs, though, we can prevent the deadening of our pleasure center in the first place by sticking to foods that are naturally calorically dilute—like whole plant foods. This can help bring back our dopamine sensitivity, such that we can again derive the same pleasure from the simplest of foods.
Dr Neal Barnard
Dr Neal Barnard is known for his work with the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine and also his book on reversing diabetes with a plant based diet. He has written a book on addictive foods:
Breaking The Food Seduction
In this book he claims that sugar, chocolate, meat and cheese release opiates in the brain. You can view a presenation on this below:
PCRM addictive foods
Sugar, chocolate, and meat trigger the release of opiates within the brain. Researchers have proven that foods have opiate effects by using an opiate-blocking medicine called naloxone. Cheese produces mild opiates called casomorphins, as it digests.
These drug-like effects of foods help explain why we get “hooked” on some foods and not others.
Certain good habits help us reduce the lure of “addicting” foods. Having a healthy breakfast, getting plenty of sleep, physical exercise, and other steps can really help.
From these examples, we can see that these respected vegan physicians believe that food addiction is a real issue. They suggest sticking to whole foods which are less addictive. Obviously, fruits and vegetables are a part of that. Joel Kahn goes a step forward and offers evidence to show that even cooked whole foods like wheat and rice can be addictive.
1. The science tends to suggest that Food Addiction is a real concern
2. The consumption of certain foods can trigger the brain’s reward centres in an unhealthy way leading to an addiction to that food.
3. The most addictive foods tend to be processed and cooked foods, often with the addition of salt, sugar and oil
4. Fruits and vegetables tend to be rated among the least addictive foods.
The Symptoms Of Food Addiction
Though the science on which foods are addictive is not fully settled we can look at our own behaviour to see if we have the symptoms of food addiction. If you have experienced any of the following symptoms you may have a food addiction:
1. End up eating more than planned when you start eating certain foods
2. Keep eating certain foods even if you’re no longer hungry or eat to the point of feeling ill
3. When certain foods aren’t available, go out of your way to obtain them
4. You eat certain foods so often or in such large amounts that you start eating food instead of working, spending time with the family, or doing recreational activities.
5. You avoid professional or social situations where certain foods are available because of fear of overeating.
6. You have problems functioning effectively at your job or school because of food and eating.
7. Routinely eating more quickly than others
8. A tendency to try and keep eating habits a secret
9. Feelings of guilt after eating episodes
10. Routinely attempting to compensate for overeating through dieting or purging.
11. When you give in and start eating a food you were craving, you often find yourself eating much more than you intended to.
12. You sometimes make excuses in your head about why you should eat something that you are craving
Fruit and veg could become unaffordable for many people after no-deal Brexit
Could this be bad news for fruit and veg lovers in the UK? Research suggests that a “no deal Brexit” could lead to higher costs of fruit and vegetables. THis is according to an article released on Metro.co.uk which you can view HERE.
The article states:
Currently, the UK imports around 90% of the fruits and vegetables it consumes and almost half of all meat. If these levels were to decrease, it could lead to the deaths of up to 5,600 people per year by 2027 and cost the NHS an additional £600 million per year, the study suggests.
Most of these additional deaths would be due to cancer, coronary heart disease and stroke, all of which can be linked to a reduced consumption of fruits, vegetables and nuts. If we do not have a deal on trade by March 29, the day we officially leave the EU, then imports are expected to be more expensive, which could cause changes to the diet of millions of people.
The study, conducted by Dr Marco Springmann of the Oxford Martin School, wrote in The Conversation: ‘Brexit is expected to increase trade costs and make food imports more expensive, something that could lead to changes in diets and dietary risk factors that influence health. ‘Foods that are critical for good health would be especially affected.’
‘Given the UK’s import dependence, in particular for fruit and vegetables, any Brexit-related increase in trade costs will make it harder to get hold of foods that are critical components of healthy diets and chronic-disease prevention.
‘Whatever form Brexit might take, our analysis suggests that it will significantly impact the British food system and negatively affect the health and welfare of British citizens.’ The figures were worked out by comparing the forecasts for changes in the food chain with how disease risk is affected by dietary change.
This is not good news for fruit and veg lovers in the UK, many of who already believe prices for fruit and veg are expensive enough as it is.
It particularly interesting to note how connected the consumption of fruits and vegetables are to disease and health care spending. Would it not make sense to try to subsidise these foods for the population?
What are you thoughts? Is this just more scaremongering or are we in for a tough time after Brexit? Feel free to share the post and leave your comments below.
Fruitarian Anne Osborne Featured In UK’s Biggest Newspaper “The Sun”
The article, titled:
Mum who has only eaten FRUIT for the last 27 years claims she never gets hungry – and even brought her children up on the same raw diet
Can be read in full here: https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/food/7569677/mum-only-eaten-fruit-27-years-children-same-diet/
Recently, a journalist approached us to ask to speak to a Fruitarian. We said “you want someone who ONLY eat’s fruit?”
They said “yes!”
The best person we could think of was Anne Osborne.
Anne has been a speaker at the UK Fruitfest for the last 5 years and works full time for the Woodstock Fruit Festival. She authored the book “Fruitarianism: The Path to Paradise” and has spoken at many festivals and events around the world on her Fruitarian path.
She has also brought up two children on a fruit diet who showed no signs of poor health as a result.
Here is a clip of Anne Speaking at the UK Fruitfest (you can find more clips at our youtube channel):
What’s Wrong With The Wikipedia Page on “Fruitarianism”
by Ronnie Smith
Many people who are researching Fruitarianism or Raw Veganism for the first time may end up reading Wikipedia. Wikipedia is an online dictionary which is made up by contributions mostly from volunteers. I am not sure exactly how this is policed, but obviously the system has some flaws.
I have tried to edit the page on “Fruitarianism” in the past, but it seems to always have been edited back again. For this post, I will go through the page and point on what I see as being wrong with it. I will post the Wikipedia information in BOLD and my comments in ITALICS.
Mostly so far this is accurate, though some would suggest that nuts are not a part of a fruitarian diet.
Fruitarianism may be adopted for different reasons, including ethical, religious, environmental, cultural, economic, and health. There are several varieties of the diet. Some people with a diet consisting of 75% or more fruit consider themselves fruitarians.
I haven’t met anyone who became a fruitarian for religious, cultural, environmental or economic reasons. It tends to be a choice made for ethical or health reasons primarily.
I had no idea where the 75% figure came from but apparently it was a survey by Tom Billings from a very old website called “Living and Raw Foods”…this doesn’t seem to be the best source.
Some fruitarians will eat only what falls (or would fall) naturally from a plant: that is, foods that can be harvested without killing or harming the plant.
No fruitarian eats only fallen fruit. This is an unusual myth that seems to have been spread by the book “Fruit Hunters”. This practise would be impossible unless you had a very large personal orchard.
Some do not eat grains, believing it is unnatural to do so,
The reference for this link is not a fruitarian website as far as I can see and I am not sure why this is connected. The point is probably true though.
and some fruitarians feel that it is improper for humans to eat seeds as they contain future plants,[page needed] or nuts and seeds, or any foods besides juicy fruits. Others believe they should eat only plants that spread seeds when the plant is eaten. Others eat seeds and some cooked foods.
I’m starting to realise quite a few sources come from Tom Billings, who runs a site called Beyond Vegetarianism and who is clearly anti Fruitarian: “The material on this site is predominantly (but not totally) critical of fruitarianism.”
There is no clear definition of Fruitarian that is completely agreed upon. Most use the word casually to mean that they love to eat a lot of fruit and they may believe it to be the best and healthiest diet.
Others believe that Fruitarian should mean a completely raw diet based on fruit and others believe it should mean a strictly fruit diet with a particular philosophy towards not harming plants being connected to it. Until the community of Fruitarians grows larger it is unlikely to have a clear definition anytime soon.
Some fruitarians use the botanical definitions of fruits and consume pulses, such as beans, peas, or other legumes. Other fruitarians’ diets include raw fruits, dried fruits, nuts, honey and olive oil, or fruits, nuts, beans and chocolate.
These are all vague ideas taken from unreliable sources. Few people would classify beans and legumes as being fruits. Most fruitarians are vegan and would avoid honey.
Some fruitarians wish, like Jains, to avoid killing anything, including plants, and refer to ahimsa fruitarianism. For some fruitarians, the motivation comes from a fixation on a utopian past, their hope being to return to a past that pre-dates an agrarian society to when humans were simply gatherers.
The first sentence I believe to be mostly true however there is no clear source for people talking about “ahimsa fruitarianism” and it is not something I have heard many people mention.
The bit about the “utopian” past was written by a lady that attended the Woodstock Fruit Festival years ago then wrote a slightly negative article about it. I think there is some truth in what she is saying, though we are mostly looking towards a better future. Once again, this is showing that sources are not coming from experts or from research but the opinion of a journalist.
Another common motivation is the desire to eliminate perceived toxicity from within the body. For others, the appeal of a fruitarian diet comes from the challenge that the restrictive nature of this diet provides.
Once again this comes from THIS ARTICLE. Eliminating toxicity is definitely a desire among many fruitarians. Some also may like the challenge but it is very unlikely that they perceive it as restrictive in any way.
According to nutritionists, adults must be careful not to follow a fruit-only diet for too long. A fruitarian diet is wholly unsuitable for children (including teens), and several children have died due to having fruitarian diets imposed on them.
The first source for this was a report about a couple who’s baby died after they fed it a fruitarian diet. This is the report here
In this case it is very unclear what the issue was. Firstly, the baby died at 9 months old. It is recommended that babies live purely on breast milk for the first 6 months of life, then solid food starts to be added to supplement the breast milk. After 6 months, slowly, solid foods are introduced but breast milk is still the main source of nutrition. This is from the NHS website:
“Your baby’s first foods can include mashed or soft cooked fruit and vegetables – such as parsnip, potato, yam, sweet potato, carrot, apple or pear – all cooled before eating. Soft fruits, like peach or melon, or baby rice or baby cereal mixed with your baby’s usual milk are good as well”
Therefore, it would not be at all unusual for a baby to be on a diet mostly consisting of breast milk and fruit up to 9 months old. The other foods in this example (yams etc) are not providing nutrition not already found in fruit.
It seems like the doctors warned that the mother’s breast milk was deficient. Why was this the case? Was it because of the mother’s fruitarian diet? What exactly was it deficient in? We don’t know exactly, but I would suspect that the mother was perhaps not creating enough breast milk to fully satisfy the child.
Later the article suggests the child had a vitamin D deficiency, however it is not clear when this was determined or who by.
Later on the article quotes nutritionists saying that a fruitarian diet is unsuitable for a young child. Certainly for a child this young, they should be on breast milk almost entirely, so a fruitarian diet would not be recommended. But this one unclear scenario should not be used to discredit a fruitarian diet as we don’t know exactly what the parents did wrong.
The statement that several children have died after having fruitarian diets imposed on them is not backed up by a source.
The other source is a Columbia University website called Ask Alice that provides no sources for it’s assertions.
These assertions are not based on studies of people on long term fruitarian diets and this is one of the weakest parts of the whole article. This comes from the opinion of a Columbia University website but does not prove any of it’s statements with reference to any science.
Personally, I have yet to see major deficiency problems exist among fruitarians and this is mostly scare mongering. Until a proper study is done we can not determine whether these opinions are correct.
In reality, the best way for us to determine if this would likely be the case in humans would be to study other animals that have the same digestive and anantomical design as us. We see these animals, such as Bonobos, thrive on a diet of of mostly fruit. This would suggest that we would be perfectly capable of doing this as humans.
Although fruits provide a source of carbohydrates, they have very little protein, and because protein cannot be stored in the body as fat and carbohydrates can, fruitarians need to be careful that they consume enough protein each day. When the body does not take in enough protein, it misses out on amino acids, which are essential to making body proteins which support the growth and maintenance of body tissues.
Very poor source for this. An article about Steve Jobs in which a nutritionist has been asked for an opinion. Our requirement for protein is very low and similar to that of other apes that subsist almost entirely on fruit. The ratio of protein in fruit is similar to that in mother’s milk. Eating enough calories each day will ensure enough protein.
Consuming high levels of fruit also poses a risk to those who are diabetic or pre-diabetic, due to the negative effect that the large amounts of sugar in fruits has on blood sugar levels.
A Fruitarian (raw vegan) I know that is a diabetic is Robby Barbaro from masteringdiabetes.com. He is helping people to reverse diabetes through eating fruit. By the way, he has Type 1 Diabetes which developed for him in childhood.
A lot of information out there is telling diabetics to be careful with fruit. In reality people should be moving away from the foods which cause diabetes, the high fat animal products that people are consuming to excess in the standard diet.
These high levels of sugar means that fruitarians are at high risk for tooth decay.
Many fruit eaters have experienced tooth decay but many have not. It is unclear as to whether the fruit is the problem or a lack of personal hygiene sometimes displayed among fruitarians. Many will give up using toothpaste or brushing teeth for a while and damage can set in without them realising leading to future problems.
Dried fruit can certainly be a big part of this problem as it is more likely to stick to the teeth which is a major contributor to tooth decay. Modern dentistry allows us to live a comfortable life even if our teeth have become damaged.
Another concern that fruitarianism presents is that because fruit is easily digested, the body burns through meals quickly, and is hungry again soon after eating. A side effect of the digestibility is that the body will defecate more frequently.
It is unusual to make an argument that the problem with fruit is that it is easy to digest. This is actually a benefit. Why would we want to eat something hard to digest?
Many people suffering from constipation would see defecating more frequently as a benefit, not something to be feared.
Once again this is a very poor source. The Guardian article written by a newcomer to the diet who did not know how to eat enough fruit to satisfy her self. Most people feel very satisfied on a fruit diet.
Once again another poor source. A Fruitarian diet is not based around restriction but embracing the abundance of fruit. As for eating disorders, these seem to be triggered more by the standard diet than any other diet.
The source here is not making any reference to any particular study on this. Giving up addictive foods will lead to cravings, but that is not a bad thing. Food obsessions are displayed throughout all dietary types.
Vitamin B12 deficiency exists across all diets and also exists in farm animals. People who become b12 deficient are not recommended to eat more animal products but to supplement with b12. In general, vegans are recommended to take b12 as their levels are lower on average that the majority of the population. However many fruitarians do not supplement with b12 or any vitamin.
Growth and development issues
In children, growth and development may be at risk. Some nutritionists state that children should not follow a fruitarian diet. Nutritional problems include severe protein–energy malnutrition, anemia and deficiencies including proteins, iron, calcium, essential fatty acids, raw fibre and a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
The source for this is a book that I don’t have access to reading right now. It is hard to know where the evidence for any of these assertions comes from.
One thing we know is that when people say “protein deficiency” it is not clear what they mean as this is not a known medical condition. Usually protein deficiency actually means a deficiency in calories, leading the body to consume it’s own protein to survive.
Studies on fruitarian children suffering from any of these deficiencies do not exist to my knowledge.
Some notable advocates of fruitarianism, or of diets which may be considered fruitarian, or of lifestyles including such a diet, are:
Actor Ashton Kutcher was hospitalized and said that his pancreas levels went “all out of whack” after following a fruitarian diet in preparation for his role playing Apple Inc. CEO and onetime fruitarian Steve Jobs, in the film Jobs. Jobs died of pancreatic cancer.
August Englerhardt actually tried to live on Coconuts. He is not a well known name in the Fruitarian world.
Arnold Ehret is for many seen as a pioneer of the fruitarian movement.
Raymond Bernard and Hereward Carrington wrote about the diet but are once again not particularly well known in Fruitarian circles.
Essie Honiball is a fairly well known pioneer of Fruitarianism.
Ashton Kutcher went on a short term fruitarian diet in preparation for this film. It seems like he did not seek any advice on how to perform this. This is unusual as his wife at the time, Demi Moore, is well known to have experimented with a high raw vegan diet and to have worked with Dr Doug Graham, one of the experts on a fruit based raw vegan diet. There is absolutely no connection between eating fruit and pancreatic cancer.
An unusual set of writers to reference, none of which particularly lived on a fruitarian diet long term.
Author Morris Krok, who earlier in his life lived “only on fruits”, allegedly advised against a diet of “only fruit”, although it was subsequently reported that Krok’s diet consisted of “just fruit”, with dietary practices of fruitarians as varied as definitions of the term “fruitarianism”. Diet author Joe Alexander lived for 56 days on juicy fruits.
It is unclear as to what Morris Krok ate and whether he was raw vegan or fruitarian for very long. Many people like Joe Alexander have done experiments with just eating juicy fruits for similar periods of time.
This section is missing many well known adherents within the movement such as Anne Osborne. Others that could be said to be in the ball park of fruitarian could be Michael Arnstein, Ted Carr, Dr Doug Graham, Kristina Carillo Bucaram, Freelea The Banana Girl and others not mentioned here despite being much better known to the Fruitarian community worldwide.
Seriously, this is the first historical figure mentioned? Violent, blood thirsty dictator Idi Amin!
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, better known as Indian political and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi, sustained a fruitarian diet for 5 years. He apparently discontinued the diet and went back to vegetarianismdue to pleurisy, a pre-existing condition, after pressure from Dr. Jivraj Mehta.
Gandhi had read the works of Herbert Shelton and experimented with fasting also. Doctors often advocate against certain diets despite the fact that they often have no qualification or education in nutrition.
I know very little about this man and have NEVER heard him mentioned in any books on Fruitarianism or by anyone in the fruitarian movement. This seems to be a very obscure reference and almost seems like the author of the article wants to connect the fruitarian diet with crazy people.
Steve Jobs, who named his company “Apple” because he was experimenting with a fruitarian diet.
Probably one of the best known. Did not follow a fruitarian diet long term but was a long term vegan. In his last days doctors tried to convince him to consume meat despite the fact that this practise has no scientific connection with helping to fight cancer.
Other historical figures missed out could be Adam and Eve (more allegorical but worth mentioning). Some claim Pythagoras was a raw vegan and some also say St Francis Of Assisi was also raw vegan.
What we can find is evidence suggesting that our ancestors were fruitarian due to studies on the teeth of discovered fossils and skeletons.
This article clearly needs to be changed. The sources are weak and it is written in such a way as to show the fruitarian diet in a bad light. Well known adherents of the diet are missed out completely along with scientific information pointing to positive aspects of the fruitarian diet.
Are you willing to help change this article? Feel free to contact us with your suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can follow Lisa @missjumpingjackfruit on instagram
Raw vegans come in all shapes and sizes and embrace life in all sorts of different ways. What’s important about this story is that her scare with health made her decided to live a life based on finding happiness and well being.
Have you ever tried mermaiding? We at Fruitfest had never heard of this concept before. We don’t tend to spend much time in the sea as there is no fruit there!
If you are looking to learn about raw veganism, please feel free to check out the blogs on this site or click on the link below to get your free raw vegan recipe book.
“People love to hear GOOD THINGS about their BAD HABITS”
In the diet industry, authors are handed large advances from publishers to do just that. In the article above, a newly published author is “fighting back” against the “clean eating brigade”. She is not fighting against terrorism, against human trafficking or against poverty and starvation around the world.
No, no, my friends.
This noble warrior is fighting back against that most heinous of crimes: “clean eating”
Because, of course, there are just too many healthy people in this world. Too many fruit and vegetable guzzling maniacs, getting to bed at 9pm and up at 5am for their 10 mile run followed by yoga and meditation. Avoiding all the vices of the world; cigarettes, alohol, drugs and casual sex in favour of saying their prayers and eating their vitamins.
But seriously, where is the fight?
Dr Doug Graham used to say “The war on drugs is over. The drugs won!”
Well, the war on Junk Food is over. The Junk food has well and truly won.
The idea that there needs to be a fight against clean eating is so preposterous it’s not even worth thinking about. This phrase “clean eating” has taken on a negative connotation. It is connected with eating disorders like orthorexia, anorexia and bulimia. It is connected with an obsession with what one is eating and obsession with going to the gym and how you look.
Of course, these are not good things.
But it is not raw vegans that are obsessed with their food. It is the junk foodists that are obsessed with food. Food is the main and sometimes the only pleasure in their life. People eat badly at the expense of feeling good and looking good. They eat badly and put themselves at huge risk of disease. It goes beyond obsession, it is an addiction.
The thing that we all know about addiction is that an addict never admits to being addicted. They don’t admit to the power that their addiction has over them. They are in complete denial. They are also in complete denial about how bad the addiciton is for them.
If you question their decision to carry on with the addiction they often become very angry. Food is such a sensitive subject!
But tell them good things about their addictions and they will love you for it.
For me, I think it is much more compassionate, much nobler and much more important to give people reasons why they must change rather than encouraging them to stay on a deadly path.
What’s The Real Reason Someone Is Miserable When They Are Eating “Clean”?
Well, just because someone is eating clean does not necessarily mean they are eating healthy. We would have to know exactly what they were eating. If they were eating raw perhaps they were not eating enough carbohydrates and too much fat. Did they ever get any good coaching or advice on thriving on a raw vegan diet? We don’t really know but it seems unlikely.
One big reason a person might be miserable is that they don’t have a community or support network. She mentions leaving lectures late so she wouldn’t have to go to the pub. I have known raw vegans who have went back to eating the standard diet simply to fit in with the friends that they are around.
It is really hard to stay on a raw vegan path in a world in which is going in the opposite direction. We have a desire to be part of the crowd and to be like everyone else. We all want to fit in. There is nothing wrong with that, but do we really want to fit in at the expense of our health?
Sometimes I have reflected on my life and wondered how different it would have been if I had made different health decisions.
Like, if I have started drinking with my friends when I was 16. My youth would have probably been completely different and maybe a lot more fun. Perhaps I would have had more friends, more girlfriends, made more connections that would have helped in various career paths.
I honestly don’t know. I have chosen to stay on a healthy path and continue to advance down it. I like to think that the best of my life is yet to come and that if I stay healthy I will be able to enjoy that so much more. The sacrifices of eating “clean” will not really seem like sacrifices then.
Let me share a vision:
I want to wake up in a beautiful house, surrounded by fruit trees, not too far from the ocean. Fresh morning air breezes through the room. I am surrounded in community with friends, family and colleagues who all thrive on a raw vegan diet and live in close harmony with nature.
Is that not a wonderful vision for the future?
I just can’t imagine how depressing it would be to give that up in favour of going to dark and depressing pubs and gorging on fast food every day, getting fatter and sicker in the process.
Clean Eating Is The Way To Go!
If there is to be any fightback, it is a fight against the fast food companies, the pharmaceutical companies and the various lobbies that allow them to continue to promote disease-causing products to billions of people every day. The fight is to help the human race wake up and go vegan to avoid a complete environmental catastrophe on this planet.
I don’t really see it as “clean eating” I see it as “eating”. Or “common sense eating”. It makes no sense to continue to eat something to excess that you know will kill you eventually. It makes no sense to eat things that lead to the environment being harmed. It makes no sense to subsidise an industry which kills billions of animals every year when we have no requirement or true desire to eat animals.
Clean eating should not be strange it should be the norm!
Don’t Let The Diet Gurus Scare You
Diet and nutrition is really simple. Fruits and vegetables are the healthiest foods, whatever you do, eat as many of those as you can. Then eat more.
There is no other healthy diet plan. There is no science to suggest you should eat eggs, cheese, bread, pizza, meat, fish, processed foods, salt, sugar, coffee or alcohol for your health. There is plenty of noise and confusion created by the food industries and the authors that are supporting them.
Break free of the nonsense. Go raw vegan to give up all your food addictions and embrace a healthy life for the future!
Around about September 2011, I had just come back from a trip to New York with my then girlfriend.
I remember she asked “Would you ever go back to New York?” and I said “Probably not”
A week later I was back home scrolling through facebook when a friend posted a film called Earthlings. At that time I was vegetarian but I had noticed that I was slowly moving away from the last remaining animal products in my diet.
I was ready to watch this film and it really shocked me. I decided to go vegan immediately.
This brought up a lot of questions. How do you go Vegan? What do you eat? How do you get enough protein?
I started to research on youtube and I came across a video with an intriguing title:
“The Protein Myth”
I had always been into conspiracy theories so the idea that our need to eat animal products to get protein being a myth was compelling to me. I watched the video and I was stunned.
It is just a short excerpt from a talk with US Masters Runner of the Year Tim Van Orden
He says that people always ask him “where do you get your protein?”. They assume it is from nuts and seeds, legumes or soy.
The he says that he doesn’t eat ANY of those. He DOESN’T eat protein. What he eats are fruits and vegetables and they give him the building blocks that he needs to make protein. If he wasn’t getting enough protein, how come he was able to build muscle without effort?
For me, this was like a light going off. It was like I was hearing an idea that I always knew was right at the back of my mind but no one had ever put it into words. It seemed so right to me as other apes ate just fruits and vegetables and they were super strong.
This opened the doors for me to start experimenting with the raw vegan lifestyle. Funnily enough, it took me almost a year from then to really “get it”.
In spite of what I had told my then girlfriend after leaving New York, I ended up going back a year later to attend the Woodstock Fruit Festival. There I met Tim Van Orden in real life for the first time.