December 19, 2010Hannah

Have you ever had a perfectly ripe mango or peach, picked from the tree? You bite into its soft flesh, sweet juice drips down your chin, living with flavor. The fragrance of a freshly cut cantaloupe is enough to stimulate salivary glands, preparing the mouth to marry with splendid taste. You could almost call the fruit diet a dessert diet with benefits—and it’s those benefits we want to talk about.

The body’s reaction to fruit does not stop in the mouth, but continues as the digestive system accepts a food filled with enzymes. These enzymes do almost all the work of digestion, allowing the pancreas a much-needed rest. Fruit sugars, compounded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, are carried by the bloodstream and delivered to every cell in the body. Fruit does not create mucus, a sure sign of how clean and suited this fuel is to our metabolic needs. The fibers that are left behind in the colon are moist and cleansing in nature, softening and removing years of impacted mucus.

There are thousands of varieties of delicate, colorful fruit, from a tiny blueberry in the cooler climate of the Northern Hemisphere, to exotic fruit grown in the lush tropics. It’s incredible that most diets consist of heavy mono-tasting foods like hamburgers and french fries, when we consider the abundance and variety of fruit available all year. Fruit is non-addictive and does not create cravings as do fat, salt, and sugar-filled processed foods. In fact, those who live on a high percentage of fresh fruit find themselves sharp-minded and vibrantly energetic.

Fruit sugar, locked into the soft fibers of fresh fruit, is the most perfect fuel for the cells. Gentle, slow-releasing, and energy-sustaining, it is compounded with vitamins, minerals, water-soluble proteins, enzymes and trace elements. As the blood carries fructose to every cell, these life-giving elements are compounded with the fructose molecule, allowing the nutrients to be highly absorbable and readily used. Fructose molecules act as a delivery system to your cells.
All Fruit Diet as a Cleansing and Detoxification Program
Surprisingly, a fruit diet is lower in calories than juice fasting, hence resulting in a deeper detoxification. Also, unlike juice or water fasting, the digestive system does not shut down. This means there is no drop in metabolism as is the case with fasting, where the body is forced into a low-metabolism state to conserve energy resources. An uncompromised metabolism plus a lower calorie intake equals detoxification and safe weight loss. It’s important to be aware, however, that due to the cleansing effect of fruit and the subsequent release of toxins, your tongue will become coated, your breath foul, and you may experience times of weakness. A fruit diet is carried out for a limited period of time to allow the body to detoxify and cleanse while flooding every cell with a clean source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

A Temporary Period
As with any restrictive diet, like the rawtarian regime or juice fasting, a fruit diet should never become your daily maintenance program. Fruitarians are a fringe group of thin little people who advocate an all-fruit diet with the addition of raw nuts. They claim to have reached a physical, mental, and even spiritual state of utopian health. I can tell you from personal experience that during a juice fast or predominantly fruit diet, mental clarity and the feeling of well-being are greatly enhanced. The need for sleep is reduced and stamina is increased, but the downside is that over time there will be a loss of muscle strength. Even more important is the loss of nutrients offered from a wide spectrum of foods, like wild salmon, whole grains and vegetable foods, to mention only a few.

Some people who use the fruit diet will eat only fruit one day a week, while others may do a three-day fruit diet once a month. I find it far more beneficial to fast (whether on raw fruit  or juice) fewer times a year for longer periods. The reason for this is that the first three or four days of a fruit diet will involve detoxification; food addiction withdrawals from fat, salt and sugar; and of course, emotional withdrawals from that morning coffee and danish. It is within the first three days that most people bail out, not being able to endure the pain of detox and withdrawals. But for those who make it through, a wonderful feeling of well-being and health await on the other side. If you only make it through those first initial days and then quit, you will never really enjoy the experience of what it feels like to be in a fasting state. Short fasts will leave you with the false impression that a fruit diet or juice fast is all about detox and withdrawals, when that could not be further from the truth. If you stick it out a little longer, you will experience many more benefits.

Another benefit of a longer fruit diet is that the body is then able to perform a deeper detoxification of years of junk food, dirty air and impure water. Ten years of McDonalds will not be cleaned out in three days—if only it were that easy! It takes some time and investment. I suggest an annual 30-day fruit diet or juice fast, supplemented with vegetable juice and a tablespoon of fresh flax oil daily. You will never be the same.

A Fruit Diet for Weight Loss
When looking at weight loss, it is helpful to class foods into two categories: high-concentration foods and low-concentration foods. Meat, dairy foods, grains, and most junk foods are highly concentrated in calories, whereas fruit and vegetables are high in water content and fiber, making them far lower in calories. In other words, you don’t have to eat less, just eat more from the low-concentration food categories.

But what about all that fruit sugar? How does that fit into that now famous glycemic index diet which involves eating foods low on the index? Doing this helps prevent a spike in blood sugar, which we now know produces body fat. See if you can answer this question: what enters more gradually into the bloodstream, a complex carbohydrate or fruit? Most of us would answer confidently that fruit enters the bloodstream more quickly because it is a simple sugar, whereas complex carbohydrates like bread, potatoes, rice and pasta are gradually digested and broken down into glucose. But this is a misconception.

According to the blood glucose response table given as a guide to diabetics, bread, beans, white potatoes, and brown rice all break down to glucose in the bloodstream more quickly than most fruit. White sugar has a less dramatic shock to blood sugar levels than whole wheat bread!

Fructose, the sugar commonly found in all fruit, is the gentlest sugar to enter the bloodstream, requiring the least amount of insulin.

Complex carbohydrates melt in your mouth into simple sugars because of the digestive enzyme alpha-amylase that is present in the saliva. Chewing a slice of whole wheat bread will transform up to 50% of the starch into glucose before it even hits the stomach. Fruit is a better source of fuel than bread because of its ability to sustain energy without overtaxing the pancreas for insulin production. Fructose does not need insulin to break down as it is slowly absorbed through the lower intestinal wall.

All starch is composed of long chains of sugar molecules. Through digestion, these chains are broken down into simple sugars. Fruit, bread, potatoes, rice, and beans are all reduced to glucose. Of these foods, fruit requires the least digestion to supply the body’s need for glucose fuel.

A Fruit Diet Is Eating in the Raw
While on a fruit diet you are actually on a raw diet, and there are real advantages to eating raw food. North Americans love cooked starch. From muffins to macaroni, starch is the biggest part of our diet. Yams, turnips, corn, beans, peas and potatoes all taste better when cooked, yet there is a change in how these foods are digested after being cooked. Raw corn is high in natural, health-giving oil and starch. However, when cooked it becomes mucus-forming. Raw potatoes can be used in the healing of stomach ulcers, yet through cooking they lose this healing property, becoming mucus-forming. Cooked food causes the immune system to increase the production of white blood cells, reacting as if an intruder had entered the blood. Cooked, starchy food requires strong acids to digest, and excess acid in the blood has a negative effect on the immune system and on healing.

How to Stay on Your Fruit Diet
Because the digestive system is still active and you have drastically reduced caloric intake, for the first few days on a fruit diet you may experience intense hunger. Hunger is good! Welcome it like a friend, as it is a sign that the body is turning to your body fat for energy, which translates into weight loss. Face the fear of hunger with courage. Show who’s in control. What a glorious joy it is to overcome hunger’s control over your life. That victory and the confidence that follows it will lead to a lifetime of weight management and good health.

A 30-day all-fruit diet will provide a benefit similar to juice fasting and is a great alternative. However, eating a diet made up exclusively of fruit takes far more discipline and self-control than fasting. I have gone on many fasts but still find it hard to accomplish a lengthy diet of fruit. During fasting, your digestive system shuts down, and psychologically and spiritually you have become resolved not to eat. But an all-fruit diet is very different in that your digestive system is fully active and you are still engaged in eating. For most of us who are accustomed to living on a highly concentrated diet of meats and starches, fruit can often feel physically unsatisfying because our digestive system is still producing large amounts of hydrochloric acid, resulting in a grumbly stomach for the first two or three days of a fruit diet. Also, physiologically, fruit does not give that heavy, full-belly feeling, and cravings can rise powerfully to the surface.

Try to detect the difference between hunger and craving. Food cravings are far more attached to emotions than body hunger. Fat, sugar and salt cravings will also subside in a few days, making the fruit diet more manageable—even enjoyable—as the physical benefits become obvious. Emotional cravings are another story. They are going to take more work to overcome, but are well worth the effort.