Why very high fruit diets are a *disaster* for most of us


Of the nutrition questions I’m asked most often, “What do you think about very high fruit diets?” is near the top of the league.

To be clear, we’re not just talking here about eating “a lot” of fruit.

We’re talking about getting the majority of our calories from fruit, as recommended by certain popular raw diet gurus.

And the short answer is that I think this way of eating is a disaster for most people.

I say that based on:

  • my own personal experience
  • the experience of the majority of people I’ve spoken to who’ve tried it
  • extensive reading on evolution and diet
  • extensive reading on biochemistry

If I went into detail on all of the above this would be a very long article and I want to keep it short and sweet.

What to tell you?

Well…I’ll start with me.

When I first started to look into the concept of eating mostly fruit I fell head over heels in love with it.

I’m a sugar addict, so that was one reason.

But I’m also a sucker for simplicity, so when I was in my purest purist phase there was never a diet that more appealed to me; never one I more wanted to be “The One True Way” to dietary nirvana (back when I still thought such a thing existed).

I’d read (as you may have done) that the key to making it work is that you have to eat mega quantities of fruit.

So not one or two bananas for breakfast but 10. Not a slice of melon, but the whole melon.

It was larger than a football but you’re still hungry? Have another.

Well, I tried it and no matter how much fruit I ate, I was hungry again within an hour.

I could sit down to a watermelon the size of a bowling ball at 9am and by 10am I’d be hungry again.

So, I’d have another “fruit meal”. Maybe a big green smoothie made with three bananas, a cup of berries and the rest of the blender filled with foliage. That would satisfy me for about an hour thanks to the greens (whereas a pure fruit smoothie never would) but by 11 I’d be wanting to eat again.

Perhaps I’d then eat six peaches. All this would get me reliably bloated, but never sated.

I now realise that the term “fruit meal” is an oxymoron for those of us with a fast metabolism.

But I was so convinced this way was right that I let dogma guide me more than the feedback from my own body.

And my health, teeth, moods and energy levels suffered.

Most of us just do not have systems that are designed to run on fruit.


And why would we?

It is not our “natural” or “species-specific” diet, as some proponents of this diet claim.

It is the species-specific diet of a distant ancestor of humans.

Which means, and this is key, a different species altogether.

Not a human one but a pre-human one, with a markedly different digestive system, which lived over four million years ago.

Humans have colonised the whole of this planet and it is a scientific fact that our species has shown itself capable of thriving in any of its diverse environments, as long as we eat the foods in that environment, in their natural state.

A fruit-based diet is natural in only one of these environments, and one in which very few humans live: rainforest.

There is nothing natural about living in England, or New England, and eating meals of bananas and mangoes. This is true in July, and even truer in January.

But please don’t misunderstand me.

I’m not saying the high fruit diet is a disaster for everyone. I’ve met people who’ve been eating high fruit long term and are getting great results.

But, as stated in the heading of this article, high fruit diets are a disaster for most of us.

If you’re doing well on a high fruit diet but have been eating this way for only a few months or a year or two, then experience tells me you may run into problems down the line as you run down your reserves of the nutrients that are lacking on this diet, while running massive amounts of insulin through your system (more on that below).

And if you’re (a) following a very high fruit diet but not feeling well on it, or (b) considering trying this way of eating, please read on.

The first fact to be aware of is that those who thrive, or could do, on a very high fruit diet long term are in a minority.

And if you’re in that minority, chances are good that you (a) live in a warm climate (or at least spend a large portion of your year in one) and (b) exercise a lot.

I’ve never met anyone who does well on this diet who doesn’t have at least (a) or (b) in a big way.

But to be clear, most people I know who live in a warm climate and exercise a lot, and who have tried existing on mostly fruit, did not thrive on it even short term, let alone long.

Location and activity level matter because:

By definition, a natural diet must be one where we source our foods from the environment in which we live. A diet based on fruit air-freighed in from thousands of miles away has only been possible for a couple of decades.

Imported fruit is almost always picked unripe so is missing key minerals and other nutrients needed for its digestion. This makes it an acid-forming and demineralising food choice.

Fine as an occasional treat. Not advisable as the basis of a diet for months on end.

Unless fruit is both seasonal and local, the small amount of nutrition it brings is not worth the large amount of sugar you take in along with it.

I’ve heard from so many on high-fruit diets who are eating six or more large fruit meals a day in order to stick to the diet, or even who are eating fruit every waking hour. Some basically graze on it all day long and never feel satisfied.

Why? Because (a) they are riding the blood sugar roller coaster and (b) the fruit is not giving them the nutrients their body is crying out for.

Chances are you know that there are planetary health implications to eating this way as well as personal health ones.

I’ve never met anyone in England who is following a fruit-based diet who isn’t eating boxes and boxes of air-freighted fruit every week for at least six months of the year. Carbon footprint: colossal.

The sugar intake of a diet based on sweet fruits is also colossal and that is why exercise is essential.

Because, and this is key, any time you eat more sugar than your body can utilise, your pancreas releases insulin to regulate your blood sugar. And the more sugar you eat, the more insulin it releases.

What this means is that if you eat a whole melon in one go, several mangoes, a bunch of bananas or any other large quantity of sweet fruit, and have not exercised hard within the last 24 hours, that will cause an insulin spike, and that is not a good thing.

And if you’re eating like this three or more times a day, you need to be exercising hard for hours a day.

As veteran raw food expert Dr Fred Bisci told me in our 2010 intertview, “Any time you consume a lot of fruit and haven’t been exercising very heavily to use all the sugar you’re eating, you’ll be secreting a lot of insulin. If your blood sugar is in the normal range after eating a lot of fruit and you haven’t been exercising heavily, that is only possible because you’ve secreted a lot of insulin.

“If you’re eating a lot of fruit – and especially if you’re eating it all day – you’re definitely going to have a lot of insulin in your blood on a consistent basis and this is going to lead to problems. If you want to do this you need to be spending five to six hours a day working out, which I do not recommend.

“It’s common scientific knowledge that if you have a lot of insulin in your bloodstream it causes inflammation in your arteries and elsewhere in your circulatory system, and this inflammation is a precursor to numerous different coronary artery factors.

“Not only that – when you do this, you’re stressing the beta cells of your pancreas, and also your adrenal glands and your thyroid. I’m seeing some people lately that are into raw foods that are running into adrenal and thyroid problems. This shouldn’t be happening. If you’re over-stressing your endocrine system this can definitely lead to serious problems later on in life.”

I personally think it is a good thing that most of us feel so terrible on a fruit-based diet we’re unable to stick with it long term. I believe we’re the lucky ones.

We feel perpetually hungry, light-headed, spaced out, tired, and/or any and all other signs of malnutrition and extreme blood sugar imbalance.

Some might encourage us to ignore these signs and carry on; that they’re “just detox” and to be expected.

Beware of believing them.

I’ve come across far too many people who started out with multiple nutrient deficiencies, adrenal exhaustion, chronic fatigue and/or eating disorders, and have made those problems much worse by eating high fruit.

It’s a diet that will, in most cases, only exacerbate those problems.

Those suffering from them – and indeed most of the rest of us, too – are much healthier and happier on a diet that is lower in sugar and higher in minerals and essential fats.


  • Great article! I think some people may thrive on it, but for how long? Will it make them thrive for years and years? And for those that are seriously sick and told to eat 30+ bananas a day, that is disgusting advice!!!!!!! I love my fruit, I loved having it in Costa Rica, it was amazing, but I just dont know what I think about this 80/10/10 diet as the diet ‘for everyone’ and it disturbs me when the people at the top of this ‘diet’ tell everyone to eat this way otherwise they wont be well. It’s just madness!

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  • Awesome article. You’ve nailed it. I hope those considering a high fruit experiment on their own bodies take note so they don’t learn this the hard way like I did.

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  • Thank you for writing this article. Hopefully it will help others trapped in the high fruit diet prison to let themselves out and find a more balanced way to eat and live. It will be a relief for many but difficult for most who will need to give up their idealism and fundamentalism when it comes to food. I have met many ‚Äòhigh fruit’ proponents, who constantly cheat, eating far too much fat, chocolate and cooked foods. Why do they continue to deceive themselves and struggle to maintain the diet? Like any fundamentalist belief system, once a person is married to its ideals it is psychologically traumatic to break away. The ‚Äòhigh fruit’ system gives their life structure, meaning and a place to belong socially. Most importantly the ego never wants to admit it was wrong.

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  • It’s true that maintaining and doing well on a high fruit diet can be challenging. Long term mineral deficiencies may arise if one does not eat enough greens or keep the calorie intake high enough. Living thousands of miles from our econiche presents many problems.

    That said I and many others thrive on high fruit diets.

    Our anatomy and physiology is still that of a frugivore. Evidence which I have published in my web site, and that is absent from the above article.

    BeyondVeg and the Paleo diet are full of fallacies and falsehoods.

    There’s a wonderful and in-depth debunking of Paleo diets on youtube called Primitive Nutrition.

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    • Hi John – I don’t have time to check that video out now, but will do. Thanks for sharing it.

      I fully agree that Paleo philosophy is less than sound in some key areas – but I personally find BeyondVeg.com to be one of the best researched alternative nutrition sites out there.

      I did make a point of saying in the article that there are people who thrive on the high fruit diet, so I don’t disagree with you on that at all. But I know more people who’ve only got weaker and sicker on this regime and I believe the single biggest reason for that is that fruits are too high in sugar, and that this means regular insulin spikes, which is not good. And I think the secondary reason is nutritional deficiencies.

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    • John,
      Homo sapiens are biologically cooked food omnivores, with some raw. Homo sapiens and prior Homo species are not frugivores, as the norm. There can be exceptions, but I’m talking about the vast majority of people, worldwide, as it’s been for the past two million years, basically.
      My experience, since 1984, corroborates very much with Beyondveg (the fallacies are in 801010 and HCLFRV) and what Sarah here has shared.
      We’ll pray for you John, that you thrive.

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      • ‚Ķ.. Although, I find I thrive with plenty of raw fruit,.. but I live in San Diego, and live a rather physically active life as a landscape contractor and horticulturist,.. occasional hiking, shortboard surfing, and short board skateboarding. I’m age 47, 190 pounds,‚Ķ doing very well, doing great. A good amount of greens, lettuce and parsley especially, I find very important for my best health. I find quality cheese and non-homogenized milk also best for me too. All together making up my diet, plus other fundamental foods, including animal flesh, quality typically unfiltered beer, salt, culinary herbs,…

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  • It is not “sugar” in general that is the problem; rather, it is fructose specifically. Glucose is actually not much of a problem. All table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and most fruits are 50% glucose and 50% fructose. Too much fructose from any source is not healthy over the long term. See Dr. Robert Lustig’s excellent lecture “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” here: http://youtu.be/dBnniua6-oM. It is 1.5 hours long, but one of the most important videos I have ever watched. I tried a fruit-based diet for 2 years and it was a disaster indeed. Lustig says he is not worried about people eating fruit, but of course he doesn’t know anything about the raw vegan fruit-based diet that many are now trying. I doubt he would encourage anyone to eat 30 Bananas a Day, lol…

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  • sounds like you should read The Raw Secrets and Raw Controvercies. and if you wont read those, then good luck understanding what is meant by “detox” and how the body works/what hunger is.

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    • I’ve read The Raw Controversies. I’m a fan of Frederic’s writing. I’m not quite sure, though, what point you’re making here.

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  • Weak! A lot of statements based on congecture and emotion. There are very few facts stated here. I think most people just eat what tastes good to them not caring too much about what these foods do to the body in the long run. Im sure that the american population and the high rates of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and hundreds of other diseases show this. Eat mostly fruits in season and add plenty of greens as well and you will see improved health.

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  • Thank you for writing this article.

    I gave the 80-10-10 thing a fair chance a few years ago. I never gave up eating a raw egg yolk or a few bites of salmon here and there (not wanting to take B12 supplements), but by weight, volume, and calories I was getting the vast majority of my “nutrition” from fruit.

    I felt very much how you did during those 6 months: spacey, hungry a lot, wanting to believe it was all “detox” and that things would resolve over time.

    At the end of my experiment I was skinny-fat (30% body fat at 135 lbs, putting me in a squishy size 10 — which is what I weigh NOW at 20% body fat and size 6 jeans), and no closer to transcendental levels of health than when I started.

    I gave up going to raw food potlucks because I was tired of hanging out with tired spacey people with hardly anything to talk about other than food, seemingly going to these gatherings to help re-brainwash each other to ignore the signals they were getting from their bodies that eating tons of (bioengineered, non-evolutionarily-natural) fruit was the wrong idea entirely.

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    • Thank you for sharing that, Naomi. I can hear the high-fruit/low-fat brigade saying, “Well, of course it didn’t work, she wasn’t doing it right – salmon and eggs are not part of this diet.”

      To which I would say, you were eating these only in tiny quantities by the sound of it. If high fruit was the way forward for you, dramatically upping your fruit intake to the point where it was your main source of calories/nutrition should have made you feel better not worse.

      You had the results most people have on this diet, and that’s because it is too high in sugar and too low in essential fats and various other essential nutrients.

      I’m sorry to hear of your experience. Lucky you listened to your body and realised it wasn’t just “detox”. Many who ignore the signs and stay on the diet for longer run into problems that can be challenging to reverse.

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      • This is 5 years old already. I have had the exact opposite happen to me. I’m just a little over a month into my mostly raw eating plan (hard to do when it’s -30C outdoors). Meals mostly consists of a variety of fruit, smoothies, and one warm meal per day, and green leafy salads, raw veggie meals.

        I’ve been leaning out quite nicely and still building mass (female here, weighing 120lbs, and at 13% bf) Since changing to a HCLF meals I have had the most energy I have ever had and am able to complete my workouts at the gym without any problems. Doing my first bodybuilding show using RAW 80-10-10 so that I don’t have to cut too many calories and keep on eating. NO SKINNY FAT HERE.

        You normally gain weight when ingesting too many calories.

        However, as for the remark about the eggs and salmon…….just eating this once in a day puts you over your fat intake for the day and added calories. Do this “here and there” and you are not longer following the 80-10-10, and your caloric intake is out the window.

        Which translates into gaining weight. If you’re going to increase your fats you need to decrease your carb intake. At this point you are no longer 80-10-10.

        It’s simple math really with a little bit of science behind it. 😉

        Do what feels best for you in the end. I’ve eaten everything from high protein low carbs, to med fat med carbs, and everything in between. Variety is key to any meal planning and making it work with being consistent with the nutrients and calories you are taking in to remain in an optimal state of health.

        Great read!

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  • I’m really glad I found your article, it describes exactly how I feel. I’ve been on a raw food diet for a few days now, and I’m feeling terrible. I mean, I could deal with the detox efects on the body, the headaches, the digestion, etc… But my mind is feeling muddeld, I’m unfocused and spaced out all the time, and I’m not liking it. No one can tell me that’s detox, I’ve done some seriuos detoxes before and none have made me feel this sick! I definitely do not reccomend this diet to anyone.

    That being said, I love the raw food diet – when it comes to vegetables. I have no cravings for cooked foods, so I think I’ll continue eating raw, just switch to more veggies and fats.

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  • I myself have been eating a lot more fruits and veggies so far in 2013, and feel a lot more energy, clarity of mind and am sleeping better too. But I do think a diet that is only fruit/veg (80-10-10) could be dangerous for many people, including women with PCOS like me, which is an insulin issue. My body already doesn’t process insulin well, so to have a diet based on fruit sugars alone (which do spike blood sugars just as much as table sugar does)……doesn’t make sense for me. But to each their own.

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  • All these different diets…Atkins, Vegan, Fruititarian, Paleo. Lol its all BS. Some rules I’ve collected as i’ve studied each of these protocols.
    1. Regardless of the composition of your diet overall calorie control is the most important tool. You need a caloric deficit to lose weight .
    2. You need to be an active human being. Sweat everyday for about an hour.
    3. You need a certain amount of protein to build or maintain muscle.
    4. Most diets fail after the first year because people are tired of being hungry. Figure out which foods provide the most satiety for YOU!
    5. Too many carbs, proteins, or fats can cause health problems. Eat a sensible, well balanced diet. Find a composition that works for YOU!
    6. If you can’t read the ingredients without pulling out a periodic table you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

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  • Great Article. It was helpful. I once tried a high fruit diet and I felt exactly as you described; constantly hungry and I’m not highly active either so that wasn’t good. I never had intentions to be fully raw so when I had my curry chickpeas and rice with a raw kale salad for dinner I felt energized and great. I still love my fruit but I don’t try to eat 15-20 servings in a day.

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  • 1. Humans ARE just another species of chimpanzees sharing 98% of our DNA with our fellow chimps. The fact that we are placed in a different genus – Homo – is based on 19th century convention not science.

    Chimpanzees eat 3-5 KILOS of fruit and leafy greens every day (equivalent to about 20-30 large apples).

    2. Humans have NO specific genetic adaptations to eating either high fat or high protein diets. Lactose tolerance simply means we can digest a milk SUGAR (lactose) not milk fats or proteins.

    3. Humans evolved in the tropics. The vast majority (>90%) of humans still in the tropics and subtropics. The fact that fruit isn’t available during an English winter is totally irrelevant.

    4. The peer-reviewed science is very clear that very high levels of whole fruit consumption is both safe and healthy.

    5. Fructose in the form of fruit does NOT cause obesity or metabolic disease.

    6. Farting is HEALTHY – it means that you are digesting high levels of fibre. High levels of fibre is ESSENTIAL to gut health and maintaining a healthy gut microbiota

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    • Only a few years ago I would have agreed will all of those points. But eating high-fruit made me very sick, and has made many others very sick too – and for very good reasons that are rooted in the realities of human evolution, and what those realities mean about our nutritional needs. I stand by my claim that a high-fruit, low-fat vegan diet is a dangerous diet for most people.

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      • I can confirm that the low fat, high carb vegan diet is very dangerous. It is very dangerous and has made me very, very sick and I’ve been sticking to it strictly for over 8 months. It is made me feel insane, gained weight on me, made me develop acid reflux due to some Youtubers’ recommendations of eating more for satiation, and the list of crappy advice and crappy results go on. Please, have the courage and trust within yourself to do what works for you to whomever is reading this.

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      • I agree the fruit diet can cause problems – I am witnessing my wife who is suffering and we believe it was the fruit diet. What can be done about the damage? What can help her cure the effects?

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        • Hi Bob ‚Ä쬆I’m sorry to hear about your wife. Many people regain their health simply by cutting down their fruit consumption to healthy levels and eating a wider variety of whole foods. If that doesn’t sound like the right path for your wife (due to the length of time she’s been on the fruit diet, her symptoms, or if she’s unsure what to eat) then I’d recommend consulting a practitioner who can offer guidance. Sending you and your wife good wishes!

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  • This article is well written but is based in an incomplete understanding of metabolism. Firstly a diet high in sugar does cause insulin spikes, but so does a meal high in protein. Protein spikes insulin regardless if sugar or carbohydrate is present. So any meal you eat (unless it is a meal of pure fat) will significantly increase insulin. Whey protein for instance increases insulin as much or more than some carbohydrate meals. Next sugar does not turn to fat, unless certain conditions are met. It would be safe to say that most body fat actually comes from dietary fat. Next fruit based diets do have certain deficiencies. Most of these can be compensated for with a diet that contains lots of nutrient dense meals made with bone broth, liver, grass fed milk, meat, cheese, eggs, and well cooked greens, herbs and spices. Presently I obtain most of my calories from sugar from fruit, milk, and honey, I also eat pastas and other starches. The real problem is PUFA (polyunsaturated fats) which damages the organs, upsets hormone levels, causes inflammation, oxidation, promotes cancer and ultimately leads to disease.

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    • Many thanks for your comment, Richard. My understanding has expanded a good deal since I wrote this article, especially now as I’m in full-time research mode for a book on these very topics 🙂 You are spot on about protein’s effect on insulin – a phenomenon I wasn’t aware of back then. But sugar turns to fat all too easily as sugar in the bloodstream ALWAYS triggers an insulin release. The more sugar, the more insulin, and insulin is the fat-storage hormone. Body fat comes from sugar/carbs primarily and excess protein next (due to the insulin connection you highlighted). Dietary fat is the macronutrient LEAST likely to turn to body fat, due to the fact it’s the one of the three that doesn’t trigger the release of insulin! I now realise that as long as we stick to good fats, we can consume much higher quantities than we’ve been told without gaining weight, as long as we’re not (a) eating silly amounts of it, or (b) triggering insulin surges by overdoing the carbs or protein. And there is no health downside either. In fact, good fats are essential for health and not getting enough of them is one of the leading causes of ill health. But I would certainly agree with you on fruit diets and deficiencies, and on the havoc wrought by diets too high in polyunsaturated fats – especially the ubiquitous omega-6s.

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      • I suggest you read a current nutritional biochemistry textbook and stop making uninformed comments.

        Each and every one of your claims is incorrect.

        1. Whole fruit has very title effect on blood glucose of insulin levels in non-diabetics.

        2. Humans (but not rats) convert fructose directly to glucose. Excess glucose is stored as glycogen. Only 1% of fructose is converted to fat.

        3. Excess dietary fat is stored directly in adipose tissue.

        4. Our bodies can produce all the fats we need (except for ALA and EPA from carbohydrates ). We need less than 1g per day of each of these essential fatty acids. They are found in all fruits and vegetables.

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  • Firstly, great article. Very informative. However, I am always surprised to read how little diets never reflect MOVEMENT or what we call *exercise*

    Our society that we live in was not designed for movement but for economic profit.

    If you eat high amounts of sugar while sitting at a desk for 8 hours, how do you think you will burn off all that energy?

    I’m not saying get active for 5 hours, just moderate.

    Rule of thumb.. No packaged foods, no foods with additive numbers etc.

    Enjoy a BALANCE of various fruits, vegetables, organic meats, dairies etc. and MOVE your ass for a consistent period (walking/jogging/cycling/yoga/pilates for an hour).

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  • Excellent points, Adam. It’s easy to fall into the trap of obsessing so much about what we do/don’t eat – and of course getting caught up in everything else demanding our attention – that we forget exercise! A lot of people think they can eat what they want and “undo” the effects with exercise. Doesn’t work, but neither does doing everything else right but forgetting to move! Thanks for commenting.

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  • As someone with a very strong sweet tooth, very small body (4’10”), and an extremely slow metabolism who doesn’t require a lot of food to begin with, having 2 out of 3 meals a day consist all or mostly of fruit is just fine for me. And when I say meal I mean I can have a banana and a glass or two of water for breakfast and last until lunch. I can be satisfied from one orange or a few slices of melon and a glass of berry juice (I don’t like the consistency while chewing berries, but I like their flavor). I’m not trying to starve myself, that really is all it takes for me feel satisfied and function. And if I eat something else, I’ll end up having a piece of cake or cookies to satisfy my sugar craving.
    The rest of my family is a completely different story. They’re all much bigger than me and require a lot more food just to feel satisfied. They would never be able to survive off of what I eat.

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  • Come on people! I don’t really known whose is this woman name Sarah best writing this article! I’m sure she have heard about the 80-10-10 diet is it now all over the Internet/YouTube.So many peoples were adhere to the high fruit base diet, it a raw vegan diet for 5++ years like so many people lived on a fruitarianalley lifestyle for 10+ year and still alive today. Im myself an 80-10-10 follower for over 5 months now and I’m felt great and energetic everyday than when I’m eating cooked vegan and I could even quit drinking coffee/alcohol/smoking cigarettes so easily. Im so serious when I say this people’s. peace out.

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    • Hi Angela,

      Yes, I’m very familiar with that diet. I did substantial damage to my health through following it and I know many others who have, too. It has its good points, of course (no processed foods, no overdoing the bad fats) but it’s deficient in numerous essential nutrients and that makes it dangerous to health, especially if followed for more than a few weeks or months. It is damaging to mental health as well as physical and the damage can be silent for months or even years. One of the first signs is often brain fog and scrambled thoughts. People tried to tell me, too, back when I believed this diet was the one true way. I couldn’t hear them, so I don’t expect you to hear me now.

      Wishing you well,

      Sarah x

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      • ” It is damaging to mental health” – lol that explains why chimpanzees & orangutangs behave so weird. Imagine they’d eat red meat instead fruits – they could run a world then, not us. Thx God they didn’t figure it out 😉

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  • Bravo! Good points. Humans are definitely NOT frugivores despite what the fruitarians would have us believe. Even true frugivores in the tropics don’t consume a 100% fruit diet. Case in point – The Orangutan. The diet of the orangutan is 65% fruit. The rest comes from flowers, nectar, bark and insects. The orangutan is smart enough to supplement with these non-fruit foods. The question I have is – why are fruitarians too dense to realize this? ;o)

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  • Well Sarah I wish I would have come across your article almost 2 years ago when I started the Banana Girl diet then on to her raw til 4 lifestyle. Now I’m 30lbs heavier and paranoid as hell to stop eating tons of fruit. I have never felt energized or good on this lifestyle and they preach at us to stick with it that we’ve damaged our metabolism so badly that it might take 7 years to balance out.

    I’m 30lbs overweight now from this and in 5 more years I may be seriously obese. I don’t lose weight eating fruit by day and salads and veggies at night and I know I sure don’t do better eating 2000 calories in fruit by day and another 1000 calories in cooked carbs after 4pm. I cry a lot at what has happened and I need to stop this train ride.

    But now I don’t know how to eat if I do because this has been so brainwashed into my head that it’s the healthier way. I’m sure I’ve damaged my thyroid now and I’m sick and tired of this extra weight I’m supporting now. I exercise, hike and burn over 1000 calories a sitting. It doesn’t matter the weight keeps going up.

    Thank you for your article. I just don’t know if it will be easy to eat differently and remove Freelee the Banana Girl from my list of eating the right way. It’s confusing because she said there are people that will try and tell you this way of eating all these fruit cals are crazy but ignore them and do it anyway for optimal health. I don’t want to go to the doctor and tell them I went from 100lbs to 130lbs by eating 2500 calories of fruit a day.

    I’ve slowed down on my bananas now to 10 or less bananas a day but now I’m really packing on the fat and that is what Freelee said would happen if we started eating less fruit calories. So who wins here? I need to fix what I broke. I’m only 5 feet tall and have always had a slender build. NOT anymore. Throw out the scales she says and learn to love your newer, bigger self because after all years of yo-yo diets and poor diet is the real reason the fruit is making us large.

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  • While i have all the sympathy for anyone failing on this diet, lets look at the facts.

    It works. Look at some long term examples of those living on this diet. If the diet was insuficient, this would not be possible. You would have to be pretty ignorant to believe your physiological needs are so that much different from those who eat this way.
    Which is more likely ? Some among us can live on fruits alone (after often going through a long process of adaptation) while some can’t, or everyone can, but most fail to adapt?
    If you beleve in the second possibility, can you tell me what’s so different about their bodies, i mean something which can be scientifically looked at.
    In my experience, living on high fruit diet is perfectly possible (after a long process of adaptation). But it might not be prefered by everyone, here are the reasons why:
    -it is impractical, you often need to carry your food with you, especially when transitioning, you will be hunting for calories a lot
    -it is expensive, that alone excludes majority of this planet
    -it is eye opening, most people don’t want to see their lives for their really are – or the planet in general, so they prefer the dosile feeling of someone “satisfied” with a good meal(they often live to eat, other than the other way around)
    -it requires a substatial personality transformation, it’s not possible to keep your old life, habbits and friends, and just change this single component, some of the reasons are above, some additional are peer pressure, people often prefer to blend in, rather than stand out….

    Basically, you need to be prepared to change the whole of you, and most people are already too set in their ways to go through the pain.

    At the end of the day, i would say go with your instinct. Look at where you want to be, not tommorrow, not next week, but 5 years from now. And when you know, look at the people who got there by now, and try to walk the same path. Plant the seeds. Nurture them, and they will grow for you to reap the benefits later on.


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    • I used to think just as you do, Nofu, so I can totally relate to your point of view. But the reality is most people do not thrive long term on high-fruit diets (let alone fruit-only diets). If you’re healthy and tolerate fructose well, they can work as a short-term cleanse. But high-fruit is not a savvy (nor safe) long-term diet strategy.

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  • I appreciate your article. I have been eating fruit on my breaks at work (3x a day, 5-6 days a week and at home for snacks..about 3 apples or oranges per break/snack) for about 3yrs.
    In that period of time I have gained 15lbs that no matter how much exercise, I can’t lose any of it. I am also tired but can’t sleep when I do lay down.
    Frustration has been setting in over the past year because I assumed I was eating “very healthy”. I eat mainly grilled chicken dishes or low sodium turkey sandwiches with fat-free mayo for dinners. For almost three years.
    After reading your article I am going to conduct an experiment on my diet. I am cutting out fruit (maybe switch to carrots for snacks or something similar). I am curious to see how I feel physically and see if I can at least drop a few pounds.
    Thank you for the info and a different route to choose 🙂

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    • Jennie F, don’t believe that it’s the fruit that’s causing your inability to lose weight. Fruit is NOT bad for you! The idea that that’s what you took for this article is the reason why the internet creates so much confusion for people. If you stopped eating meat (processed or otherwise) and bread and fake mayo sandwiches, you would start to drop weight immediately. I have been on both sides of the “diet” spectrum. I have been obese, eating whatever I wanted, and I have been lean, eating smart and raw. The more ingredients in the foods you eat, the less likely your body is able to digest it. Stick to whole plant based foods (fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains) and you will change your body and your health. It won’t happen overnight…but it will happen!

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  • Another article to add to the confusing mess of articles relating to what you should and should not eat.

    It’s not black and white, you should eat fat or you should eat sugar. I am starting to come to the conclusion that a diet that is high in both fat and sugar will cause negative effects. If the diet is high in fat and low in sugar that can work and if the diet is high in sugar and low in fat that can work too. Not all fats and not all sugars are created equal. Sugars from plants e.g fruit and vegetables you can eat as much as you like. In general my understanding is you can eat as much plant matter as you want. Cutting out the meat and processed foods are the key. No meat, bread, cereals or anything that has an ingredient with a numbers in it :P.

    I personally tend to take things to the extreme when I find the next ‘new’ thing and I am starting to arrive at the golden middle way. My diet is entirely plant and milk product based and I have been taking a high amount of coconut oil. I have a candida outbreak which I believe is caused from too much fat causing sugar to get trapped in the blood stream. 6 tablespoons a day is too much. I think it’s about finding the right amount.

    It would be great if a website could provide a well BALANCED approach to this issue.

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    • Hi Corey! With respect, I’m wondering whether you read my article, because several of the things you object to in your comment are things I didn’t actually write 🙂

      I agree with the majority of what you wrote.

      The main thing I would disagree with is that we can eat as much fruit as we like; and I write that as someone who used to agree with you 100% on that!

      The thing is, our bodies aren’t designed to process the amount of sugar we get if we follow a diet that’s high in sweet fruits.

      We think of fruit as a natural food – which it is in some ways – but we forget how recent it is that humans were able to consume fruit the way we now can.

      Our ancestors didn’t have year-round, unlimited access to the mega-sweet fruits we take for-granted today. They had what was available seasonally; which, where I and most of my readers live, meant no fruit for many months of the year. In addition, most varieties of sweet fruit now have several times more sugar than they ever did naturally, due to selective breeding.

      Of particular concern health-wise is the fructose content of many modern fruits – something I wrote about here.

      Thank you for sharing those insights and observations and I wish you all the best on your path to ever-better health!

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  • This article rhymes with my health situation as well.
    In my teen years I’ve been in sports and ate a lot of fruit and other sweets. I felt fine except for acne. But in my 40s I found that fruit spikes my insulin uncontrolled.
    Another similar experience is true to this article is that after jogging and exercising, I can eat fruit without spiking my insulin. Now I understand it better. Sugar is consumed by the body much faster after exercise – before blood sugar level spikes and before a lot insulin is needed.
    I also believe that fruit diet is not sustainable. Just go to the health food store and see the level of impatience of people there. I assume they eat too much fruit and no fat. Another is high fruit eaters on youtube, talking about high irritability there as well. Not to mention, I’ve never seen high fruit eater that is over 50 talking the same tune on youtube. High fruit diet just leads to a health disaster and uncontrollable appetite.
    This article gives a lot to learn and use to improve one’s health.

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  • I’ve been raw vegan for many many years, and find I do absolutely Best when I eat a very high amount of fruit. When I stray from the high fruit and add too many veggies, greens, nuts and seeds, my body gets sluggish, I gain weight, lose energy and feel tired. The minute I return to a high fruit content, I immediately feel much better. Everyone is different and should experiment what works for them and not go by someone else’s experience.

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  • thank you Sarah for writing this article…… I feel it very important to inform people of a high fruit diet like the 80/10 /10 and the danger it can cause to the health …

    for me I began to eat raw food 12 years ago because I was very ill and I read every raw food teachers books and tried a lot of raw food diets – I could not tolerate nuts and green juices was too cleansing for my body and when I found the 80/10/10 diet it changed my life – for the better . I became better and better and more and more full of energy and my health improved very much .

    Before I was allergic to everything and I ate very limited kinds of foods and on a cooked vegan diet I could not tolerate fruits at all – I had candida and all kinds of health problems .. I thrived very well many years on 801010 diet and wrote with many people around the world to learn more and I knew some was feeling well on the diet but many was (at least in the beginning).

    then almost 6 years into this lifestyle it changed. I was hungry all the time , mood changes if I did not eat enough (or I told myself like others on the diet that it was because I did not eat enough calories – which I did but I needed to eat a lot ) – if I did not eat often I would feel tied or low in energy etc …. but because this diet had literally saved my life I could not imagine me eating otherwise … I could not relate my more and more stressed down body to the diet – and what should I do … I combined it with many supplements and so… I would say that I broke down with stress before I realised -and wanted to admit the honeymoon on the diet was over…

    It took me some years to heal from it and are still healing . with lots of green juices , algaes and so and I am still learning – eating raw goat cheese, coconut oils, salts etc … helped and so on but I am feeling better and better and now I have begin to be able to eat little fruits again and not feel tired or drained but I get more hungry when I do ….now I thrive on a higher green diet and never feel the lows an highs and not the hunger for tons of food …. only when I eat more fruits I feel more drained …… sooo I do not yet have the very high energy I had in the very beginning of the diet but I feel more grounded and stronger in another way – more balanced ….

    I have during the years as Sarah also write met many 80 1010 diet people and most of those have a need of eating all the time during the day or if they skip a meal they feel so low in energy or mood and others who also get ill from the diet …. I wish that people are more open about learning from each other – what might work for some years might not work long term.

    If I had read your article or been aware of the symptoms that might come with this diet before it got me stressed down then it could have saved me for being stressed down and ill again …. the worse thing is also to admit that a diet that made you so healthy and vital (that no other diet ever did) could at the same time later on have a negative effect on you health (even though I knew people who were not thriving on it )… I had many excuses before I “wanted” to realise it was the hight amount of fruits my body could not tolerate anymore

    ……so again Sarah thank you so much for sharing – I like you know few people I can say thrive on this diet – many are doing great very great some years – it is their lifestyle – their life, future and friends and it is a very very nice social environment to be in – everyone are so happy and sweet so it is not only the diet you have to give up when you realise it is not working – it is all what you have been a part of but we kind of “ow” each other the truth so we all can learn how we can thrive more fully – so be aware what might work very well for some years might not work for you the rest of your life …. and start learning from others – start sharing .

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  • The high carbohydrate low fat vegan high fruit diet and then the raw till 4 diet made me lose a massive amount of muscle and gain a lot of body fat. Digestive system was always upset. Went through a lot of toilet paper, if you know what I mean. I was always bloated. Always tired. I couldn’t build muscle only lose it. I stopped after 2 years and went back to eating a balanced diet, and I feel so much better. I have more energy, am far leaner and I’m able to build muscle. I just over all feel better mentally. Why I started the vegan fruit thing in the first place – I felt pressured from the YouTube people, and felt like a horrible person if I didn’t eat their way. Also, now I can eat my favorite foods again. The substitute recipes didn’t come close. I don’t even like fruit. Man, I was miserable.

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  • It seems like you should watch Dr. Robert Morse’s videos and read his book. We are frugivores as a species. Saying that a fruit-based diet is bad for humans is like saying that a meat-based diet is bad for tigers.

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  • Pingback: Frank
  • I eat a large banana 1 pear and 1 grapefruit a day
    I also eat 2lbs non starchy vegatables and 80 g protein a day and a huge salad tons of water and coffee
    My sugar (which slighty high) is now a rock solid 86
    no more constipation

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