The Fruitarian Diet
I came across the fruitarian diet many decades ago when I read Viktoras Kulvinskas’ book ‘Survival into the 21st Century’. I even followed it for awhile to see what it would do.
It wasn’t good for me and I think there is enough evidence now to show that it isn’t really good for anyone, especially in the long-term.
The human body is remarkably resilient and you can follow a variety of diets for quite awhile and even show improvement on them.
The improvement seems to be because of the diet you have adopted but it is not necessarily the new diet but often the fact that you have dropped foods that were doing you damage.
The macrobiotic diet and the fruitarian diet are both good examples of this. They both cut out many of the foods of the Standard American Diet (SAD)and health improves at least in the short-term.
Ideals of purity can lead to extreme diets
I think it is important to point out that some diets often have little to do with health and a lot to do with ideas of purity.
The fruitarian diet, especially, is one of these. There seems to be a belief that eating only fruit will lead to a purity of body and spirit unobtainable by those on more coarse and less pure diets.
Why do I think this? Because I was one of them. In my twenties I was going to achieve a higher level of consciousness and be more special than those around me by adopting an extreme diet that few other people could follow. The human ego is rarely absent from anything we do.
A few things to consider:
- Jesus, the Buddha, Mohammad and a host of other spiritual leaders and teachers including many yogis in India were not or are not fruitarians
- Hunter/gatherer groups and tribal people often praised for their spirituality, health and closeness to the earth were not fruitarian. Think of the Native Americans, Australian Aborigines and the Bushmen of the Kalahari.
- In fact no hunter/gatherer group known to exist was ever totally vegetarian, let alone lives exclusively on fruit.
The Jain symbol of ahimsa or non-violence
Some people like the idea of living on fruit because it implies a lack of doing harm to living creatures. An admirable trait but at odds with evolution.
To live is to cause harm. Your body kills off harmful viruses, bacteria and cells every day. You breathe in and you kill micro-organisms. Walking on the earth kills life that you can’t even see.
Sure to become a vegetarian, vegan or to live solely on fruit minimises harm to animals that you would otherwise have eaten and the treatment of animals in factory farms should be a concern to every human.
However, think about this. Hundreds of cattle species have become extinct because consumers and producers made decisions about what they wanted to eat or provide to consumers.
Interesting conundrum, choose to stop eating meat and contribute to the extinction of species. That must screw your karma.
Some fruitarians believe that by picking fruit (preferably from the ground after it has fallen),they are following a path of Ahimsa or non-violence but I guess it depends on how much credence you give to fruit or plants feeling pain.
What happens with extreme diets is that well meaning people read popular books about diet and they take what is written as gospel.
Sometimes the authors are not well-educated, often they repeat fallacies they have read in previous books and often they simply ignore the facts because those facts don’t fit into the nice little philosophy they have developed.
There is often also an element of conspiracy theory ideology thrown in as well.
With their egos and reputation riding on the information they have provided they will defend their opinion to the death (literally).
Two of the more common gems of wisdom you will read are that:
It has been established from skulls, hundred thousands of years ago, that man was a fruitarian. (not true. Yes a fore-runner to humans many millions of years ago may have been a fruitarian but humans evolved far beyond that diet over the millenia)
Our intestines are like gorillas. Gorillas eat only fruit so our natural diet is fruit as well. (not true. Our intestines are closer in proportion to that of the cappuchin monkey (Cebus species) which eats fruit, oily seeds and meat. Gorilla’s are now known to also eat small amounts of meat)
You should also be aware that the current fruit that is available to us is an anomaly. It was rare in the past to be able to obtain fruits of the size and sweetness of modern fruits.
I taught survival in many countries for 22 years and rarely found a really worthwhile fruit from a survival point of view. They are usually small and at the crab-apple stage of development .
By that I mean that the crab-apple was the ancestor of the modern apple. Crab-apples are neither as big nor as sweet. In fact, they often aren’t very appealing at all and are often sour or only slightly sweet.
Wild cherries and many other fruits available to our ancestors were in a similar state. They did often have higher levels of vitamins and minerals but had only a mild sweetness that was still appealing due to the lack of concentrated carbs or sweet things in the environment.
Occasionally, you find a large, sweet fruit in the wild but it is very rare.
In the short-term a fruit diet will do you no harm. A few weeks will give your body a break from the foods of civilisation but your body was not designed to live on fruit alone indefinitely.
If you want to change the world for the better don’t try and exist on fruit alone. Eat a diet that will sustain you so you will have the energy to change things on this planet. People on all fruit diets often complain of sleeping longer than non-fruitarians. No time for that. Change your diet and re-engage with the world.
And if you are considering bringing up your child on a fruitarian diet read
this story first
and then don’t do it.
For a good discussion of the problems of an all fruit diet read Dr. Bass's experiences
Yes I know I sound harsh and I don't really mean to. If you want to go down this path that is your choice and fruitarians make the world a much more interesting place. I honestly hope you make it.
We are all guinea pigs for dietary research because humans lost their handbook of how humans should live. Therefore we try everything. Some things work, some things don’t.
Many people have tried a fruit-only and it hasn’t worked for them, especially in the long-term. Those that claim the benefits often lied or cheated on the diet.
All choices have repercussions and unfortunately it will only be at the end of your life that you will have an idea of whether you made the right choices or not.
Some fruitarians died relatively young (in their 50’s) and others lived reasonably long lives but spent their final years with a host of health problems including cancer, teeth and gum problems, anaemia, heart problems and Parkinson’s disease.
However, people on the Standard American diet achieve the same result so in the long-term we all die but to maintain health and lifetime fitness neither the SAD diet or fruitarian diet is a good option. However, a short-term fruit or vegan diet can improve health because of what it leaves out.
To be fair though you should look at alternative views to get the whole picture. Some people are presently successful at fruitarianism. See
The simplest thing that you can do to improve health and longevity is to increase the amount of fruit and vegetables in your diet. However, that doesn’t mean that just eating fruit and vegetables alone is the way to go for the long-term
Before you say 'But I intend to include nuts in my diet because nuts are like a fruit' let me say that doing so will bump up your protein and fat levels and provide you with extra nutrients so it will be better than just eating fruit alone but it is still a long way from a well-rounded diet. Fruitarians also often binge on avocadoes and bananas because they are not getting enough nutrients. This is an indicator that you are on the wrong path.
An all fruit diet will lead to low cholesterol levels which sounds good but the Heart Program Study showed that having continuously low levels of cholesterol may lead to an early death. You are also likely to end up with lower bone mineral density, low Vitamin B12 levels, and insufficient omega-3 fatty acids.
Of course you can always use supplements but many are not absorbed well. Research carefully before embarking on this diet and good luck. Please also, read this
interview with an ex-vegan. Her diet was not as extreme as an all fruit diet and she had health problems. Good luck.
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