The fruit diet or fruitarian diet is an extremely restrictive vegan diet, which excludes all animal products, including milk, and those following this eating pattern mainly consume raw fruits. You can also have vegetables, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds in moderate amounts. Whereas grains, legumes, and tubers are restricted or completely avoided. Even cooked food of any kind, including fruit, is eliminated.
People who follow this diet regimen are called fruitarians, there isn’t any particular way to adhere to a fruit diet. Basically, fruitarians tend to consume about 70-80% of their daily calories from fruits.
Health experts state that the fruit diet is one of the most restrictive diets and most notably, it is often not recommended or endorsed. In addition, adhering to this diet poses many health risks like malnourishment and nutritional deficiency. Also, a fruit diet is generally not suggested by dietitians, as it is not part of a healthy and balanced eating pattern. It is always advisable to talk with your healthcare provider before trying any new diet plan and about your needs, they can guide you on ways to meet your demands without any risk of adverse health effects.
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Potential Wellness Incentives Of Fruit Diet
Fruits are a treasure trove of nutrients, when consumed in moderation they can be a part of a wholesome and nutritious diet plan. Some of the possible benefits of having fruits include:
Packed With Fibre: Fruits are an abundant source of both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre that helps diminish cholesterol levels, reduce weight, and regularise bowel movements. Pears, apples, raspberries, and bananas are some of the fruits rich in dietary fibre.
Also Read: Breadfruit: Uses, Nutritional Facts And Health Benefits
Good Source Of Vitamin C: Oranges, bell peppers, and guava are loaded with ample reserves of vitamin C. The goodness of this water-soluble vitamin builds a robust immune system and maintains the gum and teeth healthy.
High In Folate: Grapefruit, papayas, bananas, and oranges are loaded with folate. This vitamin helps the body make red blood cells and supports the growth and development of the foetus.
Rich In Potassium: Bananas, guavas, and mangoes are rich in potassium. This vital mineral supports the control of blood pressure and regulates electrolyte balance in the human body.
Heaped With Antioxidants: Berries, plums, and prunes are a powerhouse of antioxidants. They combat free radical damage and shield the skin from oxidation and avert the risk of chronic diseases.
What Can You Eat In A Fruit Diet?
Well, to be a fruitarian more than half of your calories should come from raw fruit like bananas, papayas, apples, and berries. The other 25-50% of calories are met from nuts, seeds, vegetables, and whole grains. However, very strict fruitarians may only have 90% of their calories from fruit and the remaining 10% from nuts and seeds.
Also Read: Best Berries: 5 Must-Have Tiny, Tangy Fruits For Enhanced Health - Infographic
This diet typically comprises fruit and other food groups:
- Acid Fruits: Citrus fruits, pineapples, and certain berries
- Subacid Fruits: Sweet cherries, figs, grapes
- Sweet Fruits: Bananas, watermelons, musk melons
- Oily fruits: Avocados, coconuts, olives
- Vegetables: They offer a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Some of the vegetables that can be liberally added include green leafy vegetables, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash
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- Nuts And Seeds: They are ideally a part of the fruits, thus fruitarians can pile up their diet with hazelnuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Nuts and seeds offer a healthy source of protein and fat
- Beverages: Fruitarians are allowed to have tender coconut water, fresh fruit juices, and water
What To Avoid?
- Animal Proteins like eggs, poultry, meat, milk, and milk products are not permitted
- Grains and cereals are not allowed
- Beans and legumes of any kind are completely restricted
- Processed and junk foods are not allowed on the fruitarian diet
Pros and Cons Of the Fruitarian Diet
- This diet encourages followers to have wholesome and nutritious foods
- Promotes hydration and corrects the fluid balance
- Keep you satiated and supports weight loss
- There is a high risk of nutrient deficiencies
- Increases the risk of health complications
- Very restrictive and unsustainable in the long run
- May increase the risk of dental problems and tooth cavities
The fruit diet is deficient in many essential nutrients that are needed for overall health and well-being. This comprises protein, fat, calcium, B vitamins, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. As this diet pattern is highly restrictive, malnourishment is a severe health concern. The body may even go into a starvation state which slows down the metabolism as it tries to reserve nutritional stores and energy. Further, followers may have anaemia, fatigue, and poor immune function. Over the period deficiency of calcium may lead to osteoporosis.
A fruitarian diet is also high in sugar, even if it’s a natural source, which makes it a poor option for diabetics, prediabetics, PCOS, or those with insulin resistance.
As there are no strict rules to follow, those who wish to adopt the fruit diet may limit fruit content to 50% and add protein sources like nuts or vegetarian supplements, which may help a person correct the nutritional deficits inherent in this diet.
How To Start A Fruit Diet?
If you wish to follow this diet regime, start slowly, rather than all at once. It is important to make a gradual transition away from your regular eating habits.
You have to give up on these foods:
- Animal products
- Processed foods
You should start including:
- Raw fruits in abundance
- Nuts and seeds
Usually, fruitarians can eat liberally from several fruit groups or may wish to follow a three-meal day plan or have four to five smaller meals throughout the day.
The fruit groups to choose from include:
- Acidic fruits like oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, berries, plums, and cranberries
- Sub-acidic fruits like apples, apricots, raspberries, and cherries
- Oily fruits including avocados, olives, and coconuts
- Sweet fruits like bananas, dates, figs, and grapes
- Starchy fruits like squash
- All varieties of melons
- Vegetable fruits like cucumbers and bell peppers
You are allowed to drink tender coconut water or 100% fruit juice without added sugar as well as plenty of water throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated.
Can I Lose Weight By Eating Only Fruits?
Yes, you may be able to lose weight by consuming only fruits. However, it is not safe to only have fruits and avoid all other foods, as you may miss out on key nutrients that are essential for the normal functioning of the bodily process.
Also Read: 5 Best Fruits That Help You To Lose Weight -Infographic
Benefits Of A Fruit Diet For Weight Loss
A fruit diet for weight loss offers the following benefits:
- Fruits are generally low in calories and carbs when compared to snacks like processed or packaged foods
- Fruits are imbued with vital nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are essential for optimizing overall physical and mental health.
- Being high in water content, and fibre fruit keeps you satiated and curbs unwanted hunger pangs, and cut down on calories.
No matter what diet plan you’re following it should be able to help the body meet the needs to carry out daily tasks and stay healthy. Well, if the fruit diet is not offering you adequate energy to exercise and if you find this difficult, then it is time to modify your eating habits. Whatever your health goal may be - to lose weight, improve overall well-being, or have a natural way of life, it is essential to discuss it with your doctor before starting the fruit diet. Also, a fruitarian diet may have a negative effect on your overall health if you suffer from any pre-existing health condition or take any medications. Your healthcare provider may make you understand the aftermath of this diet and help you modify your diet regimen to suit your demands and needs.
Consult a registered dietitian who can help you create a customized diet plan that works well for you, while also guaranteeing that you have no nutritional gaps.