They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But what about all apples, all the time? That’s kind of the idea behind the fruitarianism, a type of raw veganism. Let’s learn more.
What is the fruitarian diet? Like the name suggests, fruitarianism features a diet that consists almost entirely of raw fruit. Proponents of the diet point to fruit’s high levels of antioxidants, vitamin C and beta-carotene, as well as studies that found certain fruits can boost your mood, improve your memory and reduce your stress level. (We’ll note that few studies have been done on the fruitarian diet specifically—the ones mentioned above are about fruit consumption as part of a more balanced diet.)
So it’s really…just fruit? Not only, but mostly. Most fruitarians adopt an eating plan that includes 75 percent fruit, plus some nuts and seeds. (Fruit, for the record, does include foods like avocados and tomatoes.) You’re supposed to eat only when hungry, then consume as much as you want until you’re full. Some fruitarians also stick to mono-meals—basically, eating only one type of fruit at a time. (Yep, like 12 oranges in one sitting.)
Sounds…limiting. Is it actually healthy? Depends on whom you ask. While there’s a thriving online community of fruitarians (specifically on Instagram, where more than 697,000 posts are tagged #fruitarian), many health professionals warn that eating a diet that’s almost entirely all raw fruit is unsustainable. We checked in with Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, from the Ash Center in New York City, who told us that for longterm use, she wouldn't recommend the fruitarian diet. "Fruit, while it can be healthy in moderation, does not contain a complete protein," she told us. "Therefore long term, the body would lose its ability to grow or maintain its muscle mass." Even though the USDA suggests that women eat between one and a half to two cups of fruit per day, it doesn’t provide you with all of the vitamins and nutrients—specifically protein and fat—your body needs to thrive. On a practical level, the diet is extremely restrictive and hard to stick with long-term.
Consult your doctor if you’re interested in learning more, but it seems to us that fruit—like most things—is most healthfully consumed in moderation.