Surviving on fruits – the good and bad of the fruit diet fad

February 10th, 2015

When Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher had to lose the pounds for his movie ‘Jobs’, he reportedly went on a fruit diet for a while. Apple’s founder Steve Jobs was notorious for his quirks, and one of these was his infamous fruitarian diet. Whatever might have been the late tech genius’ reasons to eat fruits and only fruits (some even say the name of his company was inspired by his love of fruits), following his steps surely got the young American actor into hospital.

Fruits are known to be an important part of a healthy diet. But too much of a good thing can also be bad. There is a reason why dieticians and nutritionists ask people to follow a balanced diet which includes all major food groups. Just eating fruits, or only a particular food group for a long time for that matter, can have serious consequences on one’s health.

However, despite the expert’s lack of support for the fruit diet many still propound it as the Holy Grail of weight loss. Those who are watching their calories apparently find the fruit diet a tailor-made solution for their needs. But is it really so?

The myth behind the fruit diet

Expert dieticians say that when one eats only fruits in their diet, they exclude many valuable nutrients from the mix. Protein, for example, is an important food group that your body needs to keep the muscles active. Protein is the main building block for the body’s vital organs, skin, and the muscles that help us in doing all that we need to do daily. Without enough protein in your diet, you run the risk of losing muscle weight, and your skin and important body organs may also be harmed, in the long run. Improper diet can lead to muscular atrophy and heighten the rate of sarcopenia – degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass associated with ageing.

Not having enough fats in your diet can also cause major problems such as unbalanced hormonal levels and reduced brain function.

Why a fruit-only diet does not work

Fruits along with a rich source of vitamins and minerals also contain lots of sugars. Your body needs to produce requisite amounts of insulin in order to control the sugars. Since insulin in the body is produced in the pancreas, a fruit diet can overwork this organ and lead to complications. As with Mr. Kutcher, who was kept in hospital because his pancreas went ‘whacky’ after a month of eating only fruit?

Scientists so note yet know what causes pancreatic cancer, but many have speculated that Steve Jobs’ ardent fruitarian diet may have been a reason behind him contracting the disease. While it is important to eat fruits as part of one’s daily diet, it is also important to understand that your body needs a variety of nutrients to function properly and depriving it of any of the major food groups for a long time will only cause chaos. Remember this the next time you order fruit baskets by post: an apple a day may keep the doctor away, but too many apples for too many days will only land you in a hospital.

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