For people seeking to lose weight, going on a fruit diet can seem like an excellent way to shave off calories, eliminate fat and cholesterol intake, and boost mineral and vitamin levels. While a fruit-based diet is an excellent strategy for some people, it is important to remember that the body does require substances like fats and protein for normal function, muscle growth and development, metabolic activities, heart health and energy. That being said, a short-term fruit diet can reap huge health benefits, help overcome food addictions, and keep you feeling full while your body burns fat and calories.
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Weekly Fruit Diet Plan
When people talk about going on a fruit diet, they tend to mean a cleanse or temporary shift to a primarily fruit-based eating regimen. Experts don’t recommend going more than 2 weeks on a purely fruit diet, as certain nutrient deficiencies (protein, omega-3, omega-6 etc.) will begin to appear and manifest at this point. However, being a fruitarian (someone who eats fruit as their main source of food) doesn’t mean eating only fruit; most people consider themselves fruitarians if 50-75% of their calories come from fruit sources. The importance is the low calorie density of fruits, which is why there are no set quantity limits on a fruit diet.
As mentioned above, there will always be the need for fats and protein, which a fruit-based diet simply doesn’t fulfill. If you want to try a fruit diet for a week, to help you lose weight and increase your energy, while also optimizing your digestive processes, some variation of the following can be effective.
- Breakfast: Drink a fruit smoothie with 2-3 bananas, blueberries, strawberries, spinach and 1 cup of coconut milk.
- Morning Snack: 1 cup of dried fruit of your choice (peaches, pineapples etc.)
- Lunch: 1-2 bowls of fruit salad, a mix of grapes, berries, bananas and mango.
- Afternoon Snack: 1 cup of dried figs or dates.
- Dinner: Salad composed of avocado, tomatoes, spinach and cucumber, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper .
Fruit Flush Diet
Slightly different than a fruit-based diet, a fruit flush diet is composed strictly of fruits, vegetables and protein for 3 days. The fruit flush diet is specifically designed to avoid the protein deficiency that most fruit diets cause, but it requires much more strictness in terms of regularity of eating.
On Day 1, your day will consist of protein shakes every 2 hours for 8 hours of the day, with 1-2 glasses of water after each shake. For dinner, you need to eat a raw salad, along with half an avocado and 2-3 egg whites.
On Days 2 and 3, you should eat a 100-calorie of fruit every hour for 8 hours of your day. Dinner on Days 2 and 3 should only consist of half an avocado and a protein shake.
This diet cleanses your system of sugars, salts, sweeteners, spices, carbohydrates and the majority of unhealthy fats, but provides a dense supply of minerals and vitamins. This can help to keep you feeling full, while also boosting your metabolism and improving your overall digestive process.
Weight Loss with Fruits & Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables have an important place in any weight-loss diet, as they have low calorie density, high nutrient impact, and significant levels of dietary fiber and antioxidants. However, since every type of fruit and vegetable does have a different level of calories, sugars, fats and minerals, it can be difficult to know what the perfect weight-loss diet of fruits and vegetables actually looks like.
Before you stress yourself out about the calorie contents of bananas and grapefruit versus apples and pineapples, remember that your body’s daily intake of food volume tends to be similar throughout the day. In other words, our stomachs get used to a certain volume of food, regardless of how any calories that food may contain. Therefore, if we want to feel full and take in fewer calories, then fiber-rich, low-calorie, high-volume foods are excellent for losing weight.
Furthermore, those few fruits and vegetables that may have more fat (avocados) or calories (bananas) than others, have other critical nutrients that may not be available in other fruits. If you listen to your body, and keep track of your total calorie intake, any fruit or vegetable can be useful in a weight-loss diet.
Best Fruits for Weight Loss
Despite being somewhat high in sugar, this water-heavy fruit is not only great for filling you up and reducing the appetite, but it is also linked to lower fat deposition and improved lipid profiles in those trying to lose weight. The active ingredients in watermelon juice can also help your body recover more rapidly from physical activity, which should complement any weight-loss diet.
Packed with antioxidants that can reduce inflammation, boost the metabolism and eliminate oxidative stress, berries are also high in dietary fiber and polyphenolic compounds. The fiber can optimize digestion and improve nutrient uptake efficiency, while the polyphenols in these fruits has actually been shown to lower fat formation. This means more energy and less weight gain when you make these fruits a major part of your diet.
Although cherries aren’t the most common fruit, they do have a unique nutrient profile, including certain enzymes that can change fat gene expression in the body. The high antioxidant levels in cherries also help aid heart health and lower cholesterol levels, which can lower your risk of cardiovascular issues and promote faster weight loss.
These stone fruits have impressively low sugar levels for fruits, which is good news for anyone who suffers from diabetes, while also helping to prevent the onset of metabolic syndrome, a group of health conditions that exacerbate obesity and threaten your cardiovascular health, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
These tart stone fruits are very low in calories and very high in dietary fiber. A single nectarine can help you feel full, thus preventing overeating, while also stimulating the digestive process and flushing out the colon.
Considered one of the best weight-loss fruits available, grapefruits specifically target visceral fat (abdominal fat), which can cause inflammation in your organs and lead to a number of serious health conditions. Furthermore, grapefruit possesses high levels of phytochemicals and anthocyanins that can boost the metabolism and optimize digestion.
Side Effects of All-Fruit Diet
While turning to an all-fruit diet can be appealing for those looking for rapid weight loss and a healthier lifestyle, there are some potential risks to this type of narrow diet. Some of the common side effects are key nutrient deficiencies, shock to the system, gastrointestinal issues, slow metabolism and complications with diabetes:
- Protein – The key nutrient lacking in most fruit-based diets in protein, as there is no protein in fruits. This means that those following a fruit-heavy or fruitarian diet must take protein supplements, or risk a loss of muscle mass, poor metabolic activity, and the inability of the body to heal and repair at normal speeds.
- Fat – While losing weight is all about cutting back on fat, the body still requires fat for many different processes, such as maintaining hormone levels and stimulating brain activity. The lack of fat in fruit is why most fruit diets include things like avocados and nuts, which have high concentrations of beneficial fats the body needs.
- Rapid Change – Switching overnight from a normal, balanced diet to a pure fruit diet can be a drastic shift for your system, which can cause fluctuations in energy, nausea, fatigue, cravings and other unwanted side effects. A gradual shift to a full-fruit or fruit-heavy diet is highly recommended to avoid this unpleasant transition.
- Stomach Problems – The primary sugar found in fruit is known as fructose, and while the majority of people can safely digest and absorb moderate amounts of fructose, a pure-fruit diet means huge amounts of fructose being introduced to the gut. If the stomach cannot digest this much fructose at once, it can cause stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea, bloating and cramping.
- Metabolism – The fact that fruits are low in calories makes them ideal for losing weight, but a notable drop in calories will also cause a slowdown in the metabolism; essentially, the body will begin burning calories slower so it doesn’t completely run out. A slower metabolism means less weight loss, and if you return to a normal diet, it can mean a rapid weight gain rebound.
- Diabetes – Fruits are notoriously high in sugar, and while fructose is better for the body than sucrose, it can still cause complications for diabetic patients. If you are at high risk of diabetes, or have already been diagnosed, speak with your doctor before making any major dietary shifts towards a fruit-based diet.