07 February 2013

One little thing wrong with the Fruitarian diet

Hello, friends, I've been away a bit. Had a few life changes, shifted from one continent to another, new job, new car, sold a house, bought a house. So please excuse me for the absence.

US News has an article about Ashton Kutcher's month-long fruitarian diet. Apparently, the actor was preparing for the title role in the movie Jobs, as Steve Jobs himself was a fruitarian. Tragically, Mr. Jobs died of pancreatic cancer. The US News article says that Mr. Kutcher "was hospitalized after eating only fruit for one month". From the article:
"I ended up in the hospital two days before we started shooting the movie," Kutcher told reporters at the Sundance Film Festival. "I was doubled over in pain, and my pancreas levels were completely out of whack, which was terrifying, considering everything." Jobs died in October 2011, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. His fascination with fruitarianism helped inspire his company's name.
 Now what could be wrong with a fruitarian diet?  The US News article describes the diet like this:
Though some fruitarians are more flexible than others, the diet typically revolves around the seven basic fruit groups. These include: acid fruits (citrus, pineapples, cranberries); subacid fruits (sweet cherries, raspberries, figs); sweet fruits (bananas, melons, and grapes); nuts (hazelnuts, pistachios, cashews); seeds (sunflower, squash, pumpkin); oily fruits (avocados, coconuts, olives); and dried fruits (dates, prunes, raisins).
I typed all those foods into Wagmu, and used the powerful Suggest feature to optimize the diet, to get the best possible fruitarian diet. At my wife's suggestion, I also added tomatoes. And I cheated a bit further with  adding parsley. Below is the optimized diet. I left in foods with zero quantity - the optimization rejected those foods.

0 grams Nuts, coconut water (liquid from coconuts)
0 grams Nuts, coconut meat, raw
8.71 grams Nuts, walnuts, english
17.71 grams Seeds, sunflower seed kernels, dried
0 grams Currants, european black, raw
0 small (2-3/4" dia) Apples, raw, with skin
0 large (8" to 8-7/8" long) Bananas, raw
0 large (3-1/16" dia) Orange, raw
0 grams Pineapple, raw, all varieties
0 grams Dates, deglet noor
0 grams Dates, medjool
0 prune, pitted Plums, dried (prunes), uncooked
0 grams Cranberries, raw
0 grams Figs, raw
0 grams Nuts, hazelnuts or filberts
0 grams Nuts, pistachio nuts, raw
0 grams Nuts, cashew nuts, raw
0 grams Avocados, raw, California
0 grams Olives, ripe, canned (jumbo-super colossal)
0 fruit (2-1/8" dia) Plums, raw
0 grams Raisins, seedless
0 grams Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, roasted, without salt
0 grams Nuts, pistachio nuts, raw
0 grams Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, dried
0 grams Cranberries, raw
0 grams Honeydew melon, raw
113.41 grams Melons, cantaloupe, raw
0 grams Melons, casaba, raw
0 grams Watermelon, raw
1500 grams Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw, year round average
80.12 grams Spices, parsley, dried
4.75 grams Salt, table
34.72 grams Seeds, sunflower seed kernels, dry roasted, without salt
0.31 grams Nuts, brazilnuts, dried, unblanched

Good thing we added the tomatoes!  Wagmu Suggest increased them to the maximum of 1500 grams.  I'm not saying this is palatable. Hey, I could never be a fruitarian - no chocolate, wine or coffee!  Further more, this diet isn't really all that "fruitarian".  In any case, let's have a look at the nutrient profile:


Bad news! The optimal fruitarian diet is severely deficient in vitamin B-12 and vitamin D.  As for vitamin D, if you're a billionaire living in sunny California, you could get all your vitamin D from the sunshine. Of course, if you're broke in Minneapolis, you'll need to sort this out some other way.

But even the billionaire won't get enough vitamin B-12.  And believe me, you want to get your vitamin B-12. How can you get vitamin B-12? Take just about any one of these suggestions from the Wagmu Suggest dropdown box:

Fish oil, cod liver
Cereals ready-to-eat, GENERAL MILLS, Multi-Grain Cheerios
Beef, variety meats and by-products, kidneys, cooked, simmered
Cereals ready-to-eat, KELLOGG, KELLOGG'S ALL-BRAN WITH EXTRA FIBER
Yeast extract spread
Sardines, skinless, boneless, packed in water
#13578 Chicken liver pate
Leavening agents, baking powder, double-acting, straight phosphate
Fish, sardine, Atlantic, canned in oil, drained solids with bone
Roe, herring
Sardines with mustard sauce (mixture)
Fish, salmon, pink, canned, drained solids with bone
Leavening agents, baking powder, low-sodium
#9814 Fish moochim (Korean style), dried fish with soy sauce
Cereals ready-to-eat, KELLOGG, KELLOGG'S RAISIN BRAN
Beef, ground, 95% lean meat / 5% fat, crumbles, cooked, pan-browned
Mushrooms, portabella, exposed to ultraviolet light, grilled
Beef, ground, 90% lean meat / 10% fat, crumbles, cooked, pan-browned
#10561 Egg, yolk only, cooked
Fish, salmon, Atlantic, farmed, raw
Cheese, parmesan, grated
Fish, salmon, Atlantic, farmed, cooked, dry heat
#9162 Ground beef, meatballs, meat only, cooked, NS as to percent lean (formerly NS as to regular, lean, or extra lean)
Cheese, Mozzarella, part skim
#9150 Beef, roast, roasted, lean only eaten
Egg, whole, cooked, fried
Beef, cured, pastrami
Egg, whole, cooked, poached
#9231 Ham, fresh, cooked, lean only eaten
Beef, grass-fed, ground, raw
#9819 Marinated fish (Ceviche)
Fish, anchovy, european, canned in oil, drained solids
Crustaceans, shrimp, mixed species, cooked, moist heat
Chorizo, pork and beef
#10555 Egg, whole, fried without fat
Cheese, gouda
Cheese, provolone
#9191 Pork chop, fried, lean and fat eaten
#10554 Egg, whole, fried
Fish, cod, Atlantic, cooked, dry heat
Beef, rib eye, small end (ribs 10-12), separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0" fat, all grades, cooked, broiled
Turkey, all classes, dark meat, cooked, roasted
Cheese, mozzarella, part skim milk
#7556 Eggs on toast, parsley & Vegemite
Fish, ocean perch, Atlantic, cooked, dry heat
Cheese, blue
#9765 Lamb curry
Fast foods, hamburger, large, single patty, with condiments
#9558 Cod, baked or broiled
Beef sausage, fresh, cooked
Mollusks, clam, mixed species, canned, drained solids
Mollusks, clam, mixed species, cooked, moist heat
Veal, variety meats and by-products, liver, cooked, braised
Lamb, variety meats and by-products, liver, raw
Lamb, variety meats and by-products, liver, cooked, pan-fried
Beef, variety meats and by-products, liver, cooked, pan-fried
#9503 Beef liver, fried
Veal, variety meats and by-products, liver, cooked, pan-fried
Lamb, variety meats and by-products, kidneys, cooked, braised
Lamb, variety meats and by-products, liver, cooked, braised
Beef, variety meats and by-products, liver, cooked, braised
#9502 Beef liver, braised
Mollusks, oyster, eastern, wild, cooked, moist heat
#9664 Octopus, dried
Moose, liver, braised (Alaska Native)
Veal, variety meats and by-products, liver, raw
Beef, variety meats and by-products, liver, raw
Turkey, liver, all classes, cooked, simmered
#9704 Oysters, smoked
Cereals ready-to-eat, GENERAL MILLS, Whole Grain TOTAL
Duck, domesticated, liver, raw
Cereals ready-to-eat, GENERAL MILLS, TOTAL Corn Flakes
Goose, liver, raw
Fish, whitefish, eggs (Alaska Native)
Turkey, liver, all classes, raw
Cereals ready-to-eat, KELLOGG, KELLOGG'S ALL-BRAN COMPLETE Wheat Flakes
Clams, canned
Lamb, variety meats and by-products, kidneys, raw
#9681 Clams, steamed or boiled
Cereals ready-to-eat, KELLOGG, KELLOGG'S Complete Oat Bran Flakes
#9678 Clams, baked or broiled
#9682 Clams, smoked, in oil
Cereals ready-to-eat, KELLOGG, KELLOGG'S PRODUCT 19
#10227 Liver, beef or calves, and onions
Mollusks, clam, mixed species, raw
#9950 Liver dumpling
#9921 Clam cake or patty
#9701 Oysters, steamed
Mollusks, oyster, eastern, wild, cooked, dry heat
#9679 Clams, floured or breaded, fried
#9677 Clams, cooked, NS as to cooking method
#9699 Oysters, cooked, NS as to cooking method
Mollusks, clam, mixed species, cooked, breaded and fried
Mollusks, oyster, eastern, wild, raw
Mollusks, oyster, eastern, canned
Veal, variety meats and by-products, kidneys, cooked, braised
Mollusks, octopus, common, cooked, moist heat
Turkey, all classes, giblets, cooked, simmered, some giblet fat
#9663 Octopus, steamed
#9665 Octopus, dried, boiled

Almost any of these would help!  Our billionaire wouldn't have to eat them all.  Except for the brand-name cereals (all fortified) and one entry of mushrooms, these are all animal products. Surely we could pick something on here that we could manage to eat! There's a lot of choice. If we take one of the very last, the "Octopus, steamed", all we need is about 100 grams (the size of the hamburger patty in the small McDonald's hamburger), and you've completely sorted out your vitamin B-12 (omitting the foods with zero quantity this time):

9.21 grams Nuts, walnuts, english
64.4 grams Melons, cantaloupe, raw
1500 grams Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw, year round average
79.4 grams Spices, parsley, dried
1.8 grams Salt, table
26.05 grams Seeds, sunflower seed kernels, dry roasted, without salt
105.08 grams #9663 Octopus, steamed

Here's the old and new nutrient profiles side by side:
Without octopusWith octopus
Adding the steamed octopus sorts out the vitamin B-12 completely. This diet isn't perfect yet - a half cup of multi-grain Cheerios would help a lot.  And that still assumes we're getting that sunshine for the vitamin D.

Folks, please don't eat a "fruitarian" diet.

3 comments:

Calvin said...

We can only hope that the billionaire's gut bacteria might kick in some vitamin B-12 while munching on that excess fiber.

philip meguire said...

Good to find you here and I trust all is well.

Please Email me at

philip.meguire@canterbury.ac.nz

I have something I would like to share with you.

Matthew said...

Thanks for the warning on the Fruitarian diet!

~ Dan (mohler@pacbell.net)