Is It Good To Go On An Only-Fruit Diet?
Not all detox diets are good for you!
Did you end up over-indulging in festive treats over the NYE weekend? A detox diet to flush out the toxins from the body and cleanse your digestive system sounds like a great rebound mechanism. One of the most popular detox options is the fruitarian diet which mainly involves eating only fruits for a few days. If you’re considering it or even if you’re just curious about it, you may want to learn more about its pros and cons (yes, cons) on your health. After all, a fruit-only diet isn’t exactly healthy, even if it sounds to be.
We spoke to an expert who weighs in the good and bad of going on a fruitarian diet. Here’s everything you need to know.
What Is A Fruit-Only Diet?
Just like the name, a fruit-only diet implicates eating fruits throughout the day. This restrictive vegan diet excludes all forms of dairy, grains, meat and poultry from the diet in order to remove toxins from the body or reduce weight. The diet usually involves eating only raw fruits or drinking fruit juices for a 3-7 day period to remove toxins from the body and reduce weight. You can eat some dried fruits or drink black tea or coffee or even some vegetable juices but at least 75 percent of your calorie intake should come from fruits. Remember, cooked foods are strictly prohibited.
There are several reasons why this diet sounds promising. “Fruits are rich in antioxidants, which help cleanse the body of free radicals (cell-damaging molecules). They are high in fibre, which binds to toxins in the colon, preventing them from being absorbed and promoting healthy colon function,” says Aman Puri, Founder of Steadfast Nutrition. By eliminating processed food, this diet also helps us feel more energetic and less bloated. And most importantly, it also helps lose some weight by creating a calorie deficit in the body. Most fruits have a high-water content and are low in calories which helps us lose weight quickly. Hence, this type of diet is also suitable for quick weight loss or detox before an important event such as a wedding. Puri recommends including fruits like apples, melons, bananas, sweet oranges, and apricots while following a fruitarian diet.
The Cons Of Fruit Only Diet
There are several downsides to following such restrictive diets, especially without expert guidance. Food, all types and kinds, is fuel for our body and the key source of various nutrients that our body needs to carry out important bodily functions. “Though a fruitarian diet is beneficial, it can pose a risk to health by causing a deficiency of protein, healthy fats, vitamin D, zinc, and calcium.” warns Puri. Since fruits are high in water, they don’t satiate your hunger. By restricting other food groups, not only will you starve yourself, but you may also develop various nutrient deficiencies which can lead to health problems like fatigue, reduced immunity, weakened muscles and bones and even cognitive difficulties.
This diet can also prove dangerous for diabetic or pre-diabetic people. “Fruits are high in natural sugars like fructose, which can impact blood sugar levels, and lead to diabetes,” adds Puri. Following such restrictive diets also leads to an unhealthy relationship with food which could potentially lead to malnourishment or eating disorders. Yes, you may lose a few kilograms of weight, but it's mostly due to muscle loss and fat loss. The lost weight is likely to return once you resume your regular diet.
Should You Try A Fruit Detox?
There are several benefits of a fruit-only diet. But the cons outweigh the pros and the complications involved with this diet are far too serious. So, Puri advises following the diet only for 2-4 days (at max) under the observation of a healthcare expert or nutritionist. “Healthy weight loss is not achieved by following a fancy diet but by adopting a healthy lifestyle and eating a balanced diet with good fats, protein, fibre, and carbohydrates,” recommends Puri. He also advises doing aerobic exercises like brisk walking regularly, drinking adequate water, and burning more calories than you consume every day to lose weight healthily and sustain it for a long period.