Benefits And Risks Involved In Fruit Diet
Fruit diet, commonly called a fruitarian diet, is a highly restrictive vegan diet that excludes all the animal products, including dairy products. So, if we are skipping all the animal products, dairy products, cooked foods, processed foods, and vegetables, one main question arises in our mind is that “Is fruit diet healthy and safe?” To be frank, a fruit diet is not entirely safe and healthy because this diet may cause malnourishment. Several nutrients that are crucial for the body are lacking in this fruitarian diet. Additionally, this diet is also heavy on sugar, causing diabetes, pre-diabetes, or insulin resistance. Hence, most of the nutritionists around the world do not recommend following this diet.
A fruit diet or a fruitarian diet has no specific definition, but people who incorporate 80-90 percentages of raw fruits in their three-course meal are those who follow fruit diet. This diet is also called as a vegan diet because no animal products or dairy products are included in this diet. Some people who follow this diet only eat those fruits which are fallen from the trees, rather than those that have been picked. And Some others don’t eat seeds because they have the ability to become living plants. Some fruitarians include vegetables, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, and tubers in moderation, and cooking of any of these kinds is wholly avoided.
It looks like the fruit diet is healthy compared to all other diets, but this diet is quite dangerous if followed by a normal person. This is because this diet does not provide you with all the essential nutrients required to the body. For example, the mineral iron is found in leafy vegetables and beans. Iron is the one that helps the red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Iron is not found in the fruit diet, and this becomes tough for the body to produce iron.
Health Benefits Of The Fruit Diet:
Fruit diet is said to contain fewer nutrients that are required for the metabolism and development of the immune system. Apart from all this, the fruit diet has certain health benefits.
1. High Fiber Content:
Most of the fruits are considered to be rich in fiber content. This fiber helps in lowering the cholesterol levels in the blood and also encourages better bowel movements and reduces constipation. Blackberries, apple, raspberries, and pears are some of the fruits that are rich in fiber content.
Some fruits such as mangoes, bananas, cantaloupe, and guavas are high in potassium. This potassium helps in maintaining healthy blood pressure and regulating fluid balance in the body.
3. Vitamin C:
Fruits usually are a good source of Vitamin C, and some fruits such as Oranges, strawberries, and red peppers are very rich in Vitamin C. This vitamin supports the immune system and also helps keep the teeth and gums healthy.
Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit the process of oxidation, thereby limiting the production of free radicals. These antioxidants protect your skin and fight off any illness. Some fruits which are rich in antioxidants are prunes, black plums, and all the berries. These are sometimes called as free-radical scavengers.
5. Rich In Folate:
Tropical fruits such as mangoes, oranges are rich in folate, which helps the body to create red blood cells. This folate also supports fetal development.
6. Weight Loss:
Fruits are usually low in calories. Low-calorie intake helps in weight loss. If your goal is to reduce the weight, you can switch to this diet. But, don’t consider this as a real benefit, since any weight loss can disappear if you abandon the diet, and your weight will start bouncing back.
Risks Related To Fruit Diet:
While this diet has its potential benefits, this diet is also associated with some more significant risks.
1. Lack Of Vital Nutrients:
This diet lacks in critical nutrients that are required for the body. This includes fat, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, B Vitamins, including B-12, iron, Vitamin-D, Zinc, etc. Absence of these nutrients in the body may cause
- Weakened bones
- Dry skin and brittle hair
- Weakened muscles
- Low mood
- Immunity reduction
- Osteoporosis (Due to lack of calcium)
- Cognitive difficulties and
- Life-threatening complications
2. Lack Of Protein:
A person following a fruitarian diet may miss in enough protein required to the body. Some persons following this diet may eat nuts and seeds to meet the protein demand, but these are insufficient for the body to maintain health. Lack of protein can cause various health problems that include
- Physical weakness
- Stunted growth
- Cardiovascular diseases.
3. High Glycemic Index:
Sugars are naturally present in the fruits. Fructose, the one which has high sugars, is abundantly present in the fruits and has a high glycemic index. Consuming high glycemic index foods can increase the sugar levels in the blood, causing diabetes. Prolonged diabetes may cause serious heart problems.
4. Tooth Decay:
Some studies have proved that a person following the fruit diet has a higher risk of tooth decay. Fruits such as oranges, lemons, lime, and grapes are acidic that contain citric and fructic acids. These acids may dissolve the tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay and may also develop cavities over a while.
As seen above, the fruit diet is considered riskier even though it has some potential benefits. Still, if this diet appeals to you, don’t rush into this diet all at once. Proceed slowly and make a gradual transition away from your regular diet. Initially, start with raw fruits, nuts, seeds, and raw vegetables.
Include And Avoid Foods In Fruit Diet:
Fruits that have to be included in this diet are
- Sweet fruits such as bananas, mangoes, dates, and figs
- Starchy fruits such as squash
- Acidic fruits such as grapefruits, oranges, plums, and cranberries, etc
- Sub-acidic fruits such as apricots, apples, cherries, and raspberries
- Oily fruits such as coconuts, olives, and avocados
- Watermelons and musk melons
While following such a strict and restricted diet, one should keep in mind that there are some foods and beverages that have to be avoided during this diet. They are
- Milk, curd and any type of dairy products
- Canned and processed foods and caffeine
- Medium cooked or fully cooked foods
- Foods containing high oil in them
- Alcohol and Smoking
- Any kind of animal products
- Any type of carbonated drinks
A sudden transition into this fruit diet from a regular diet is quite risky, hence proceed slowly and start initially with semi-cooked vegetables till your body gets habituated for this diet. In the beginning, with every meal, steam or soak the fruits and vegetables before eating. Your body also requires a certain amount of fat to transport fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). Hence incorporate oily fruits such as avocado in the diet. Similarly, eat enough nuts and seeds with each meal to meet the demand of protein for the body. Continue this for a week or ten days and then slowly change your diet to complete raw fruits only if your body responds to this diet. Don’t forget to include fruit juices in every meal.
Fruit Diet Plan:
Fruit diet typically does not follow a particular plan. Any fruits can be consumed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But, to have a balanced meal, one should develop a strict plan.
This is considered as the principal meal of the day. Hence include three bananas, dates, blueberries, and a cup of coconut milk. Bananas with the milk kill your appetite and give you the feeling of a fuller stomach.
Handful of dried peaches goes well the morning snack. Morning snack is usually eaten to decrease hunger during lunch.
Two big bowls of fruit salad filled with bananas, apples, grapes, berries, guavas, oranges, watermelons, and musk melons, etc. You can have your preferred fruits for lunch.
A cup of dried figs will satiate your hunger.
One massive bowl of chopped avocado, tomato, cucumber with lemon, salt, and pepper. You can also opt for mangoes, chopped cabbage, carrots for dinner. Avoid eating fruits containing high water content for dinner, as these may disturb your sleep with frequent visits to the washroom for the toilet.
Any diet is incomplete without a dessert in it. A handful of raw almonds is perfect for dessert.
A prior doctor’s advice is necessary before quickly starting any type of diet. If your main goal is to reduce weight or increase the overall health, and if you are interested in following the fruit diet, check with your doctor or professional nutritionist and understand the individual risks involved in following this diet.
With a plethora of diets available, this fruit diet is less recommended by most of the doctors and nutritionists because of the nutrient deficiencies and serious health problems that may occur. The fruits are considered to be rich in Vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants, which are beneficial for the body, and this diet is proven to reduce the weight. But, that is not all; eating only the fruits can cause adverse effects on the overall health of the body. Strict caution is that please consult your doctor or a registered dietician before thinking of starting the fruit diet. If you have benefited from this diet without any serious health issues, please share your experiences and diet plan with us.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educational purposes and should not be taken as a piece of medical advice. Please consult your doctor before starting this diet. We will not be responsible for any type of adverse effects that happened in your body.
Frequently Asked Question’s:
1. Does Fruit Diet Help In Weight Loss?
Ans: Yes, fruit aids in weight loss. This is because the fruit diet contains low-calorie intake, and eating more fruits makes your stomach full, killing your appetite.
2. Can We Eat Vegetables In The Fruit Diet?
Ans: Fruit diet or fruitarian diet is a diet wherein you eat only raw fruits as your meal. Sometimes vegetables are also eaten to meet the demand of certain nutrients for the body. Only raw vegetables are eaten in fruit diet.
3. Can A Pregnant Woman Follow The Fruit Diet?
Ans: No, a pregnant woman should not follow the fruit diet. This diet lacks the vital nutrients required by the body. Incorporate fruits in your regular diet during pregnancy, but do not transit completely to fruit diet during pregnancy. This will lead to serious health problems for you and the unborn baby.