WE are often told to eat a lot of fruits because of their many benefits to the diet, including adding essential vitamins and antioxidants. But dietician and nutritionist Jenelle Solomon says that going on an all-fruit diet may not be the best decision, especially if you intend to follow said regime for an extended period.
“Fruits are very important in our diets. They are low in many unhealthy components such as sodium, fat and bad calories, but rich in essential vitamins and minerals that are often underconsumed — such as potassium which is good for controlling high blood pressure, dietary fibre which is good for the heart and blood pressure, vitamin C and folate (folic acid). And while these are important, we must understand that there is a reason we encourage foods from the different fruit groups, because they simply cannot give us all we need,” Solomon advised.
She explained that most all-fruit dieters or fruitarians consume fruits when they leave the tree and generally do not eat any processed fruits. In fact, in most cases their diet revolves around the seven known fruit groups, particularly acidic fruits (grapefruits, mangoes and pomegranates); oily fruits (ackee, coconut and avocado); sweet fruits (cherries, jackfruit and bananas); sub-acid fruits (apples, plums and grapes); seeds (sesame, flax and chia); dried fruits (raisins, cranberries and prunes); and nuts (almonds, cashew and pecans).
She advised that when we go on a fruit diet we miss out on essential vitamins and minerals such as proteins, which are important to build almost everything in the body — from the skin to the nails; calcium which is essential for bone building; and vitamins B and D-12, as well as iron and zinc.
Solomon said that another drawback of the fruit diet is that it is very high in natural sugars. That continuous intake over a period will lead to an excessive level of sugar in the blood, which will destabilise the blood sugar levels. Also, this high level of sugar has the potential to cause lethargy, and impact a person's ability to concentrate.
A few experts have also suggested that with fruits so rich in carbohydrates, it is possible that an excess amount could cause the pancreas to overwork. Solomon explained that since the pancreas secretes insulin whenever carbohydrates enter the body, then it would be taxing on the pancreas since fruitarians are constantly eating fruits. In fact, when well-known fruitarian Steve Jobs died of pancreatic cancer, a major speculation was that it was linked to his life as a once dedicated fruitarian. Similarly, in 2013, actor Ashton Kutcher fell ill with pancreatic issues associated with his all-fruit diet. Inspired by Jobs, he had begun an all-fruit diet as he prepared for a role in the movie of Steve Jobs' life. However, it was never confirmed that the all-fruit diet had anything to do with any of their illnesses.
A third known drawback of an all-fruit diet is that it can leave you feeling very hungry. You will find that you are constantly craving something to eat, especially since fruits do not provide enough proteins to satisfy the stomach.
Compounded by the presence of very few calories, this can put the body into starvation mode, and could lead to a number of medical complications such as severe dehydration and even heart failure.