The slip side of being a fruitarian
Did you know an all-fruit diet can lead to brittle hair, low blood pressure, even pancreatitis?
IN a week, can a diet of 30 apples, 40 bananas, and 15 green smoothies really work for your body? If you ask Ashton Kutcher at the moment, the answer would be a resounding “NO”! The actor, who plays the maverick Apple founder Steve Jobs in a biopic, had to be hospitalised recently after following a fruits-only diet. To get under the skin of the character, he followed the fruitarian diet like Jobs did. The result was intense stomach pain followed by hospitalisation, and a diagnosis of pancreatitis. Latest studies suggest that a fruits-only diet almost never works in the long run and plays havoc with the body.
In fact, according to alternate medicine advocate and supporter of rawism and fasting, Herbert Shelton, there were a few serious problems with people who attempted a fruitarian diet (even on high-quality seasonal fruits). He wrote in Hygiene Review, “Bad nails, gingivitis, dental caries, dry skin, brittle hair, lowered red blood cell count and low haemoglobin, were the problems that people following this diet faced. Many of them displayed serious signs of neurological disorders, emotional upsets and extreme nervousness. Another cardinal lack that occurs quite often is a distinct lack of vitamin B12.”
If you thought you could attempt a fruits-only diet for a few weeks to crash diet, dropping the idea immediately would be wise. Dietician Ishi Khosla warns, “It would be dangerous to go on a complete fruitarian diet. You can follow it for one or two days a week. Just having fruits is not a complete diet. They have high sugar content and aren’t good for diabetics. They also have a diuretic effect and can cause low sodium and low blood pressure, which can lead to fainting. Everyone needs a balanced diet and proteins for energy, or else it can really lead to fatigue.”
It’s not just glamouristas who are fond of this diet. Even M a h at m a Gandhi became a fruitarian for six months in the early 1900s, before reverting to a vegetarian diet. Fr u i t a r i a n Nisha Khanna, 28, from Bangalore, says, “I drink mango and banana smoothies for breakfast. My body is completely detoxed. I do it for four days every week. But I do experience weakness and hairfall along with complete exhaustion.” Raw food diet expert Dr Soorya Kaur from New Delhi, says, “I think you can go on a fruitarian diet a few days of a week or a few days in a month. But take professional advice. An only-fruits diet isn’t good, even if it’s the fad. You need vegetables and other things to sustain the body.” According to a research, there are many risks associated with a fruitarian diet. A person whose diet constitutes 75 per cent fruit is likely to have more health issues than a person on a diet comprising 50 per cent fruit. Diabetics can face serious risks since fruits have high sugar content. There are also the risks of serious nutritional deficiencies, including vitamin B12, calcium, iron and zinc.
B l ogge r Claude Vig n e a u l t , went on a fruitarian diet for six months. She says, “A fruits-only diet spoiled my teeth. It was a challenge to keep eating fruits for months. I also experienced an occasional upset stomach and light headaches.” Says weight loss expert Dr Shobha Kaul, “There’s disconnect between how we were designed to live and the way we are living now. But the answer to losing weight cannot be a fruitsonly diet. It can have a serious impact on energy levels and also the mind. A balanced diet is better than going on a fruits-only diet any day.” Adds Dr Kaur, “Juice is better than fruits. It cleanses and allows you to draw the maximum nutrition from fruits, even vegetables, while reducing the energy required for digestion. Juices help in releasing the physical and emotional toxins accumulated in our bodies from the stress of modern living.”
KNOW YOUR FRUITS
Acid fruits: Citrus, pineapples, strawberries, pomegranates, kiwi, cranberries, and sour apples
Sub-acid fruits: Sweet apples, sweet cherries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, pears, papayas, figs, apricots, and mangoes
Sweet fruits: Bananas, grapes, melons, and persimmons
Nuts: Pecans, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts, macadamias, pistachios, pine nuts, hazelnuts, beechnuts, and hickory
Seeds: Sunflower, sesame, squash, and pumpkin
Dried fruits: Dates, figs, apricots, apples, raisins, cherries, prunes, bananas, and cranberries
Oily fruits: Avocados, coconuts, and olives.