Some vegetarians and vegans take vegetarianism a step further by eating a fruitarian diet. What is a fruitarian diet plan and is it healthy?
Vegetarian and vegan diets are growing in popularity as people discover the health benefits of eating a meat-free diet. Some studies show that vegetarians lead longer, healthier lives than their meat eating counterparts – and, for many, it’s a diet that’s more compassionate. On the other hand, some people find vegetarian and vegan diets to be too restrictive. There’s another form of vegetarianism that has its share of followers – people who eat a raw fruitarian diet as their form of sustenance.
What is a Fruitarian Diet Plan?
A fruitarian diet plan is one where a person eats only raw fruits and seeds – and the fruits and nuts are never cooked or exposed to heat. Fruitarians only eat what comes from the plant – rather than the plant itself since this would involve harming it. Raw fruitarians believe that cooking food destroys its nutritional value, weakens the immune system, and indirectly increases the risk of diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Although fruitarians don’t eat vegetables, there are some “vegetables” that a fruitarian can eat such as cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers because they’re actually fruits from a botanical perspective.
Is a Fruitarian Diet Plan Healthy?
A raw fruitarian diet of nuts, seeds, and fruits would certainly circumvent some of the problems associated with the high carb, overly processed diet most people eat in America. On the other hand, this diet is so restrictive that there’s a real risk of nutritional deficiencies. A fruitarian diet is completely devoid of vitamin B12 – a vitamin which is vital for red blood cell production and for maintaining the myelin sheath which surrounds the nerves. A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to irreversible neurological damage.
People who follow a fruitarian diet are also likely to be deficient in iron, calcium, protein, and vitamin D. These deficiencies can lead to anemia and bone loss. Fruitarians are able to get some protein from the nuts and seeds they eat, but it’s unlikely they’ll get the amount needed for good health. A deficiency in protein leads to poor immune function and an increased susceptibility to infection – and even death.
A Fruitarian Diet Plan Isn’t Appropriate for Children
Children on a fruitarian diet would be at higher risk of growth problems and there have been cases of children following a fruitarian diet who died as a result of malnutrition. Children and teens that follow this restrictive of a diet may have lower bone density and may never reach their true height potential.
The Bottom Line?
Fruitarian diets are too restrictive to be healthy and are difficult for the majority of the people to follow. Children and teens are especially vulnerable to deficiencies from a diet that’s so nutritionally limited. It’s great to eat raw fruits and seeds, but don’t make them the sole foundation of your diet.