This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
There are a lot of different diets for weight loss out there. One of them is the fruit diet. Is it good for weight loss or not?
The fruit diet which is also called fruitarianism is a diet that’s mainly made up of, you guessed it, fruit.
Is this another crazy diet or does it actually make sense to try out the fruit diet?
Rules of the fruit diet
Some diets have very measurable or clear guidelines on what you can or can not eat and in which quantities.
For example on the paleo diet, you can only have certain foods and on the keto diet about 70% of your calorie intake should be fat (25% protein and 5% carbohydrates).
This is not really the case on the fruit diet. There are multiple ways to do it.
In the general sense it is a vegan diet with the main focus on eating raw fruits.
Some people consider a diet only fruitarian if 75%+ of the calories come from fruit. Others go as far as only eating things that naturally fall from a plant with the intent of never harming or killing a plant for their food. Others don’t eat seeds because they “have the ability to become a plant”.
Most versions of the fruit diet allow vegetables, nuts and seeds in moderation.
This is a highly restrictive diet so it’s very important to know what you’re getting yourself into before you start.
“Vegetables” that are actually fruits
Some food is considered a vegetable because of how it’s used in the culinary world. However, the botanical world doesn’t classify “vegetables and fruits” the same way.
Here are some examples of “fruits” that are botanically still allowed on the fruit diet:
The fruitinarian diet doesn’t really pose a limit to the amount of vegetables you can eat.
Risks of the fruit diet
The fruitinarian diet is very restrictive. Excluding and limiting that many food groups can pose risks to both short term and long term health. Some of these short term health effects may also negatively effect weight loss.
Micronutrients on the fruit diet
The human body needs a lot of different vitamins and minerals. Some of these micronutrients are called “essential” micronutrients because the body is not able to produce it in sufficient (or any) amounts. You need to get them from your diet.
If you don’t your body is not able to start several processes that would benefit your health like for example dna repair.
By following a fruit only diet you don’t or underconsume several micronutrients like for example:
- Omega 3
You will also very likely be deficient in protein. Protein is essential for your health and weight loss.
For example, your body uses protein to build and restore muscle. If you don’t consume enough protein your body turns towards its own muscles to find it. This is called catabolysis.
Muscle is extremely helpful for losing weight. The more muscle mass you lose, the less calories you will burn each day.
A lot of sugar
A fruitarian diet is also very heavy in sugar.
Having the right blood sugar levels is important for your health. Even more so for people with diabetes.
The amount of sugar combined with the presence of acids in fruit can speed up tooth decay too.
If the severe nutrient deficiencies were not enough to convince you, increasing risk on diabetes and damaged teeth might be other reasons to stay away from it.
Too many risks?
With different fruit diet versions the nutrient deficiencies might vary too. However, it’s close to impossible to find a variant that doesn’t leave you with nutrient deficiencies.
The amount of calories you will consume on this diet is hard to predict. It’s important to not overdo it with a calorie deficit. Overdoing it for too long can cause your metabolism, the amount of calories you burn each day, to slow down. Stick to a healthy weight loss rate.
Potential benefits of the fruitinarian diet
Risks aside, the fruitinarian might also have benefits for some people.
Whether a new diet is an improvement heavily depends on what your diet looks right now. This might sound too simple to be of any significance but it’s an important point too many people forget.
For some people the fruit diet might be an improvement because eating more fruits helps with things like more fiber intake, less calories, more vitamins and antioxidants. This is most likely the cause of positive anecdotes about switching to the fruitinarian diet.
When someone feels better by going on a new diet they often attribute all the benefits to that specific diet.
However, being an improvement for some people doesn’t mean this diet is healthy and should be recommended.
If you can’t sleep because you can’t stand yourself eating anything that “could become a plant” you might also opt for the fruitinarian diet.
Should you try it?
You might lose some weight with the fruit diet in the short term but even compared to other crash diets this weight loss will be short-lived.
Because of the severe protein deficiency you’re facing your body will most likely break down it’s own muscle. Muscle is extremely important for weight loss.
On top of that you face so many micronutrient deficiencies. This can cause negative consequences ranging from feeling uneasy to life threatening complications.
Chances are very high the fruit diet is not good for weight loss and your health in general, both short and long term. If you do want to give it a shot make sure you first talk about it with your primary care provider.