Fruitarian and vegan diets are both technically subsets of vegetarianism. Although both diets are more restrictive than vegetarianism, vegans eat a much broader range of foods than fruitarians. This is because fruitarians eat only raw foods and no animal products, grains or vegetables. As these restrictions can lead to nutritional deficiencies and exclude most dietary supplements, strict fruitarianism is a potentially dangerous dietary practice.
Fruitarianism and veganism are among the most restrictive vegetarian diets. Both groups abstain from all animal flesh, including beef, poultry, fish and seafood. In addition, neither fruitarians nor vegans eat animal-derived ingredients or animal by-products, such as dairy, eggs, honey and gelatin. Because of these dietary restrictions, vegans and fruitarians are susceptible to some of the same nutritional deficits. These include vitamin B-12, vitamin D, iron, zinc, calcium, iodine, omega-3 fatty acids and some essential amino acids.
Despite their similarities, vegans and fruitarians eat very different diets. One of the major differences between the two groups is their stance on grains and vegetables. In general, fruitarians avoid food that requires harming the plant. As such, their diet contains no vegetables or grains and consists almost entirely of nuts, seeds and fruits. Fruitarian diets are typically 75 percent or more fresh fruits, with all foods being raw and vegan-friendly. In contrast, vegans generally do not limit themselves to raw foods and include grains and processed foods in their diets. Although this presents dietary benefits for vegans over fruitarians, processed vegan alternatives to dairy and meat often contain large amounts of sodium and chemical preservatives.
A well-planned vegan diet can meet your body’s needs for vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and essential amino acids without any dietary supplements. In contrast, the only way to meet your body’s needs for nutrients like calcium, vitamin B-12, iron and zinc on a fruitarian diet is with nutritional supplements. These supplements are often derived from sources that are not suitable for fruitarian diets. As such, nutritional deficiencies are very common among those following strict fruitarian diets.
Fruitarians are likely to suffer from tooth decay due to their extremely high fruit intake. This arises from a combination of two factors. First, fruits are naturally high in sugars, with apples being potentially as erosive as candies and sodas. Second, many fruits are highly acidic, such as oranges and other citrus fruits. Excessive fruit acids can erode the enamel on your teeth, contributing to the tooth decay arising from a high sugar intake. Although both vegans and fruitarians are at a greater risk of tooth decay, the excessively high fruit intake of fruitarians places them at a much higher risk.
by Matthew Lee For SF Gate