Fruitarianism may be adopted for different reasons, including ethical, religious, environmental, cultural, economic, and health reasons. There are many varieties of the diet. Some people whose diet consists of 75% or more fruit consider themselves fruitarians.
Some fruitarians will eat only what falls (or would fall) naturally from a plant: that is, foods that can be harvested without killing or harming the plant. These foods consist primarily of culinary fruits, nuts, and seeds. According to author Adam Gollner, some fruitarians eat only fallen fruit. Some do not eat grains, believing it is unnatural to do so, and some fruitarians feel that it is improper for humans to eat seeds as they contain future plants, or nuts and seeds, or any foods besides juicy fruits. Others believe they should eat only plants that spread seeds when the plant is eaten. Others eat seeds and some cooked foods. Some fruitarians use the botanical definitions of fruits and consume pulses, such as beans, peas, or other legumes. Other fruitarians' diets include raw fruits, dried fruits, nuts, honey and olive oil, or fruits, nuts, beans and chocolate.
Some fruitarians who espouse Judeo-Christian beliefs hold that fruitarianism was the original diet of humankind in the form of Adam and Eve, based on an uncommon interpretation of the Book of Genesis 1:29. They believe that a return to an Eden-like paradise will require simple living and a holistic approach to health and diet. Some fruitarians wish, like Jains, to avoid killing anything, including plants, and refer to ahinsa fruitarianism. Some fruitarians say that eating some types of fruit does the parent plant a favor and that fleshy fruit has evolved to be eaten by animals, to achieve seed dispersal. For some fruitarians, the motivation comes from a fixation on a utopian past, their hope being to return to a past that predates an agrarian society, to when humans were simply gatherers. Another common motivation is the desire to eliminate perceived toxicity within the body. For others, the appeal of a fruitarian diet comes from the challenge that the restrictive nature of this diet provides.
In 1979, Professor Alan Walker, a Johns Hopkins University paleoanthropologist, reported that preliminary studies of unmarked tooth enamel in early hominoids suggested that pre-human ancestors apparently had a diet of mostly fruit. Walker said, "I don't want to make too much of this yet. But it is quite a surprise."
In 1971, a short-term study by B. J. Meyer was published in the South African Medical Journal describing how lipid profiles and glucose tolerances improved on a particular fruitarian diet. In a further trial in the study, body weights of overweight subjects showed a tendency to "level off" at the "'theoretically ideal' weight".
According to nutritionists, adults must be careful not to follow a fruit-only diet for too long, that a fruitarian diet is not suitable for teens, and that a fruitarian diet is wholly unsuitable for children.
Fruitarianism is even more restrictive than veganism or raw veganism. Maintaining this diet over a long period can result in dangerous deficiencies, a risk that many fruitarians try to ward off through nutritional testing and vitamin injections. The Health Promotion Program at Columbia University reports that a fruitarian diet can cause deficiencies in calcium, protein, iron, zinc, vitamin D, most B vitamins (especially B12), and essential fatty acids.
Although fruits provide a source of carbohydrates, they have very little protein, and because protein cannot be stored in the body as fat and carbohydrates can, fruitarians need to be careful that they consume enough protein each day. When the body does not take in enough protein, it misses out on amino acids, which are essential to making body proteins which support the growth and maintenance of body tissues. Consuming high levels of fruit also poses a risk to those who are diabetic or pre-diabetic, due to the negative effect that the large amounts of sugar in fruits has on blood sugar levels. These high levels of sugar means that fruitarians are at high risk for tooth decay. Another concern that fruitarianism presents is that because fruit is easily digested, the body burns through meals quickly, and is hungry again soon after eating. A side effect of the digestibility is that the body will defecate more frequently. Additionally, the Health Promotion Program at Columbia reports that food restrictions in general may lead to hunger, cravings, food obsessions, social disruptions, and social isolation. The severe dietary restrictions inherent in a fruitarian regime also carries the serious risk of triggering orthorexia nervosa.
Vitamin B12, a bacterial product, cannot be obtained from fruits. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health "natural food sources of vitamin B12 are limited to foods that come from animals." Like raw vegans who do not consume B12-fortified foods (certain plant milks and breakfast cereals, for example), fruitarians may need to include a B12 supplement in their diet or risk vitamin B12 deficiency.
Growth and development issues
In children, growth and development may be at risk. Some nutritionists state that children should not follow a fruitarian diet. Nutritional problems include severe protein-energy malnutrition, anemia and deficiencies including proteins, iron, calcium, essential fatty acids, raw fibre and a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
Some notable advocates of fruitarianism, or of diets which may be considered fruitarian, or of lifestyles including such a diet, are:
- August Engelhardt,
- Arnold Ehret,
- Raymond W. Bernard, and
- Essie Honiball adhered to a fruitarian diet for some time.
- Actor Ashton Kutcher was hospitalized and said that his pancreas levels went "all out of whack" after following a fruitarian diet in preparation for his role playing Apple Inc. CEO and onetime fruitarian Steve Jobs, in the film Jobs. Jobs died of pancreatic cancer.
Others such as Ross Horne and Viktoras Kulvinskas appeared to only describe the fruitarian diet. Some, like Johnny Lovewisdom, experimented with different diets, including juicy fruitarianism, liquidarianism (juices only), vitarianism (fruit, vegetables, raw dairy) and breatharianism.
Others like author Morris Krok, who at stages during his life, lived "only on fruits", allegedly advised against a diet of "only fruit", although it was subsequently reported that Krok's diet consisted of "just fruit", with dietary practices of fruitarians as varied as definitions of the term "fruitarianism". Diet author Joe Alexander lived for 56 days on juicy fruits.
- Idi Amin, the Ugandan military dictator, became a fruitarian in Saudi Arabia during his exile there.
- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, better known as Indian political and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi, sustained a fruitarian diet for 5 years. He apparently discontinued the diet and went back to vegetarianism due to pleurisy, a pre-existing condition, after pressure from Dr. Jivraj Mehta.
- Ben Klassen, white supremacist, founder of the Creativity Movement, and author of The White Man’s Bible, advocated a fruitarian diet to include fruits, vegetables and nuts.
- Steve Jobs, who supposedly named his company Apple because he was experimenting with a fruitarian diet.
In popular culture
- Ayesha ("She-who-must-be-obeyed") of H. Rider Haggard's She and its sequels.
- The Eloi from H. G. Wells's The Time Machine.
- The monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
- The evil Medusa Johnson in Leonard Part 6.
- Keziah in Notting Hill. Keziah states that fruitarians only eat fruit that has fallen from the tree or bush.
- Characters such as Mr. Mick in Gilbert K. Chesterton's "The Napoleon of Notting Hill".
- Ryūko Mifune in the light novel series Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko by Hitoma Iruma.
- Tom Billings. "Living and Raw Foods: Types of Raw Food Diets: A Brief Survey". Living and Raw Foods.
- Rod Preece, Sins of the Flesh: A History of Ethical Vegetarian Thought, UBC Press, 2008, "Since plants have life, it is necessary, if one is not to starve, to live from the fruit of the plant in such a manner that the host plant itself does not die."
- Catherine G. Ratzin Jackson, Nutrition for the recreational athlete, p. 95, CRC Press, 1995, ISBN 0-8493-7914-8, ISBN 978-0-8493-7914-7. "The fruitarian diet usually consists of consuming those parts of the plant that are cast off or dropped from the plant and that do not involve the destruction of the plant itself."
- Patricia Samour, Handbook Of Pediatric Nutrition, Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2003, p. 143. "A fruitarian diet consists of only fruits. Any plant food that is botanically a fruit or can be obtained without killing or harming the plant is considered a fruit."
- "Information Sheet — Definitions". The Vegetarian Society UK.
- Adam Leith Gollne, 'The Fruit Hunters, "Some factions eat only fallen fruit. Others refuse to eat any seeds because they contain future plants."
- "Human Dietetic Character, I — Are We Grain Eaters?".
- "To Those Considering A Fruitarian Diet".
- Dr Johnny Lovewisdom, The Ascensional Science of Spiritualizing Fruitarian Dietetics, Ecuador: International University of the Natural Vitalogical Sciences, 1999, Introduction: "Nature is betrayed when man ingests the seeds of plants, depriving them of their means of propagating their own species"; chapter: Sugar & Starch-Friends Or Foes? "grains, nuts and other seeds are wrong as food sources"
- "Ascensional Science teaches the damaging effects of chlorophyll leafage, earthly roots and lower passion producing seeds. We are healed by levitational forces in fruit sugars and acids." Introduction to Ascensional Science of Spiritualizing Fruitarian Dietetics, Johnny Lovewisdom, International University of the Natural Vitalogical Sciences, 1999
- Cathy Hainer (October 27, 1997). "Living and Raw Foods: Alternative Eating Plans". USA Today – via Living and Raw Foods.
- "What is a Fruitarian?"
- Marie V. Krause, Food, nutrition, and diet therapy: a textbook of nutritional care, p. 343, Saunders, 1984, Original from the University of Michigan, Digitized August 19, 2008, ISBN 0-7216-5514-9, ISBN 978-0-7216-5514-7. "The fruitarian diet consists of only raw or dried fruits, nuts, honey and olive oil."
- John McCabe, Handbook of Sunfood Living: Resource Guide for Global Health, North Atlantic Books, 2008, "other fruitarians also consume cucumbers, olives, tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans, melon, avocadoes, berries, grapes, figs, dates, carob, chocolate, goji berries, nuts and even coconuts."
- Berry, Rynn. "Satya June/July 03: Raw History".
- "ahim-sa" - "the Hindu and Buddhist doctrine of refraining from harming any living being", Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ahinsa
- "This means raw: extreme dieting and the battle among fruitarians | Alexandra Kleeman". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
- Rensberger, Boyce (May 15, 1979). "Teeth Show Fruit Was The Staple; No Exceptions Found". The New York Times. p. C1. Retrieved 2009-11-01.(subscription required)
- "The South African Medical Journal is published by the South African Medical Association, which represents most medical professionals in South Africa.", African Journals Online, http://ajol.info/index.php/samj
- B. J. Meyer; E. J. P. de Bruin; D. G. du Plessis; M. van der Merwe; A. C. Meyer (1971-03-06). "Some biochemical effects on a mainly fruit diet in man" (PDF). South African Medical Journal. 45 (10): 253–61. PMID 5573330. Retrieved 2009-11-11. "The effect of a nut-supplemented fruit diet on glucose tolerance, insulin secretion, plasma proteins and plasma lipids was investigated. The results suggest that, at least for the period covered by the experiment and under the prevailing conditions, the diet was adequate with respect to the parameters investigated, and may even have something to commend it."
- Meyer BJ et al. "Some physiological effects of a mainly fruit diet in man". South African Medical Journal, February 20, 1971; vol. 45, pp. 191-5. "An interesting aspect of the diet was the tendency for the weights to level off more or less at the 'theoretically ideal' weight for the subject."
- "Baby death parents spared jail". BBC News, September 14, 2001. Accessed March 31, 2011.
- Alice!, Health Promotion Program at Columbia University, Health Services at Columbia, August 23, 2002. "Go Ask Alice!: Fruitarian teens". Accessed May 20, 2008.
- Audrey H. Ensminger, Foods & Nutrition Encyclopedia, CRC Press, 1993, "Severely restrictive vegetarian diets, such as fruitarian and Zen macrobiotic diets, increase the risk of malnutrition and deficiency diseases."
- "The strange eating habits of Steve Jobs - NBC News". NBC News. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
- "Fruitarian Diet: Is It Safe - or Really Healthy for You? - Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic". Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
- "Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12". National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements. Retrieved 2009-11-13.
- Holden, Chris, et al, Royal College of Nursing. Nutrition and Child Health, p. 59. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2000. ISBN 0-7020-2421-X, 9780702024214.
- "Failure of a Womanless Eden in the Pacific - Strange Story from the South Seas", The New York Times, October 15, 1905, "For days he lived alone, eating nothing but bread fruit and cocoanuts," "Of the food of choice, he lacked none.", "Weeks of life under the sun in the salt sea, and living upon fruit, had brought him to a state of wonderful physical perfection.", "For nearly two years more he continued to live the 'pure, natural life' but the charm had been completely broken by the death of his two disciples.", "in 1903, came a drought which reduced the fruit crop. The little left of it was wiped out in the Spring of 1904 by a storm. Engelhardt had the alternative of casting in his lot with the natives and eating on hogflesh, or sending a request for succor to Ulu or Herbertshohe. He did neither in his stubbornness, and starvation and thirst did their work."
- Arnold Ehret, Mucusless Diet Healing System Mucusless Diet Healing System, ISBN 1-884772-00-5, 75th Anniversary edition, "The next winter I went to Algiers, in northern Africa. The mild climate and the wonderful fruits improved my condition and gave me more faith in Nature's methods and an understanding of them, and I gained courage to try short fasts to assist the cleansing properties of fruit and climate, with such results that one morning of a well feeling day I chanced to notice in my mirror that my face had taken on an entirely new look", p. 15, "Arriving home again.... I gradually took up the ordinary diet.", p. 15, "My experience, tests, and experiments as well as cures, all showed that grape sugar of fruits was the essential material of human food, giving the highest efficiency and endurance, and at the same time was the best eliminator of debris and the most efficient healing agent known for the human body", p. 16, "To test our efficiency at exhaustive labor, we took a trip through northern Italy, walking for 56 hours continuously without sleep or rest or food, only drink. This after a seven-day fast and then only one meal of two pounds of cherries.", p. 17
- Raymond W. Bernard, Organic Way To Health Vol. 1-4, Health Research Books, 1996, p. 2, "I have tried non-vegetarian diets, vegetarian diets, raw food diets, fruitarian diets, and many other kinds of diets."
- Ron Lagerquist, North American Diet, International Bible Society (1984). "Essie Honiball lived exclusively on fruit and a small amounts of nuts."
- Essie Honiball, I Live On Fruit. Macro Books, Pretoria 1981. First edition. p. 9, Chapter 1: "One does not easily cast aside established habits almost overnight.... This is precisely what I did in 1958 when I, after a three day water fast, started living on fresh fruit and nuts. That was twenty years ago.", p. 17, Chapter 1: "Today I still live virtually exclusively on fruit.", p. 18, Chapter 2: "The Diet on which I have lived since 1958 is so simple that it appears almost laughable in a line of complicated diets —I live on fresh fruit and nuts.", p. 19, Chapter 2: "I can live on fruit alone, but not on vegetables."
- Child, Ben (January 28, 2013) "Ashton Kutcher landed in hospital after following Steve Jobs's fruitarian diet" The Guardian
- Horne, Ross (1997) Chapter "Dieting for Health and Longevity", section "The Natural Diet Of Man", in Health and Survival in the 21st Century Harper Collins. Quote: "The study of comparative anatomy and the different natural diets of animals in the wild indicates strongly that the natural diet of early humans consisted predominantly of sweet fruits, and that even though millions of years have passed, the anatomy and digestive apparatus of humans has not changed and is therefore still best suited to fruit as the most suitable food."
- Kulvinskas, Viktoras P. (1981) Life in the 21st Century. Twenty First Century Publications. ISBN 978-0-933278-00-4.
- Kulvinskas, Viktoras P. (2002) Survival into the 21st Century Arizona: Ihopea Incorporated.
- Lovewisdom, Joynny (1999) The Ascensional Science of Spiritualizing Fruitarian Dietetics San Francisco: Paradisian Publications. Quote: "In two years, I was living exclusively on juicy fruits, condemning the use of nuts in the fruit diet which other fruitarians before me had used with adverse results due to the lack of the life-giving living water in nuts, making them the 'Tempters of Satan'" in section 'My Calling To The Carpophagous Conception'"
- Lovewisdom, Johnny (1980)Modern Live Juice Fasting Connecticut: O'mangod Press. Chapter 1. Quote: "I found the living blood of fruits and many vegetables a much purer life-giving, naturally prepared directly assimilable blood transfusion than can be expected from tired, worn-out, diseased blood of ordinary civilized humans."; chapter 3 "in 1953-54, I realized the true 6 months 7 day water fast with the purest distilled water usually tinctured with tomato juice"
- Lovewisdon, Johnny (1950) Spiritualizing Dietetics: Vitarianism, Loja, Ecuador: International University Of The Natural Vitalogical Sciences. p.82 Quote: "(Vitarianism) advocates live or Vita-foods"
- Puented, Miguel A. (June 7, 1949) A Message Of Peace By One Who Lives In A Volcano!, Mundial, Montevideo, Uruguay. Section "His Life In Practice" Quote: "He went on fasts, one of which he recently reached 40 days without taking anything but water with a few drops of lime juice."
- Krok, Morris (1961) Fruit: The Food and Medicine For Man, Connecticut: O'Mangod Press. p.17, Chapter 8: Quote: "It had taken me almost ten years of continual reading and meditation before I had the courage to live only on fruits."; p.40, Chapter 19: Quote: "At the time of the incident I was living on all fruit."; p.46, Chapter 21. Quote: "After living on fruit for about four months, raw vegetables tasted flat."
- "Tom Billings: dietary bio--continued, Part B, section, Other Important Lessons, August 2000"."By the way, Morris Krok now advises against a diet of only fruit, and he is an open, honest, and very nice person."
- Klein, David (2007) "Who Was Morris Krok?" Living Nutrition Quote: "Someone who attended the talk reported he said that at the moment he was eating a diet of just fruit. I’d never heard that he ate exclusively fruit; however, it would not be surprising if he did so for varying periods of time."
- Schenk, Susan 2006) The Live Food Factor, 1st Impression Publishing. Quote: "Joe Alexander tells about a time he spent 56 days eating only juicy fruits: no bananas, avocados or vegetables. He claims he never felt stronger in his life."
- Goline, Adam Leith (2013) The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce and Obsession New York: Scribner ISBN 9781476704999. Quote: "Idi Amin, the tyrannical Ugandan dictator, lived his final years in Saudi Arabia as a fruitarian (his affinity for oranges earned him the nickname "Dr. Jaffa")."
- Gandhi, Mohandas K., Desai, Valji Govindji (trans.)"Tolstoy Farm III" in Satyagraha in South Africa ~ XXXV. Quote: "[D]uring five years of a purely fruitarian life I never felt weak, nor did I suffer from any disease".
- Autobiography: the story of my experiments with truth, Social Sciences Series, Mohandas Gandhi, Gandhi (Mahatma), Mahadev Haribhai Desai, Dover, 1983, p. 318. "Dr. Jivraj Mehta treated me. He pressed me hard to resume milk and cereals, but I was obdurate."
- Gokhale's Charity, My Experiments with Truth, M. K. Gandhi.
- Berlet, Chip, Vysotsky, Stanislavstated. "Overview of U.S. White Supremacist Groups", Journal of Political and Military Sociology, Summer 2006.
- Salubrious Living (Creativity Book Publishers, 1982, and World Church of Creativity, 2003), chapter 'The Fruitarian Diet': "The fruitarian diet is composed of the products of the plant kingdom which are delicious and appealing to our taste in their natural uncooked condition. As fruits, vegetables and nuts are the foods which meet this qualification in an ideal manner they are the primary foods used by the fruitarian."
- "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson. "Finally Jobs proposed Apple Computer. 'I was on one of my fruitarian diets,' [Jobs] explained." p. 120. "She just wanted him to be healthy, and [Jobs] would be making weird pronouncements like, 'I'm a fruitarian and I will only eat leaves picked by virgins in the moonlight.'" p. 68.
- Chapter 17, "I do not destroy the lamb and the kid to glut my appetite; acorns and berries afford me sufficient nourishment."
- "Keziah (Character) from Notting Hill (1999)". IMDb. Retrieved 2010-03-08.
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