Just when I haven’t heard about any crazy diets in a while, another new one comes along. Okay, actually this one isn’t new. If you read the book on Steve Jobs, you already have heard of this one: the fruitarian diet. This diet consists of 75 percent or more fruit and, depending on the individual’s beliefs, may also consist of nuts, seeds, or beans—basically anything that falls off a plant but doesn’t harm it as well.
Jobs was known to eat only one or two foods, like carrots or apples, for weeks at a time. Hmmm? Carrots are a vegetable, but I think for the point of this crazy diet it doesn’t matter. Actor Ashton Kutcher, who plays Steve Jobs in the upcoming movie Jobs, followed this diet right into the hospital recently. Doubled over in pain with abnormal pancreas levels, Kutcher unfortunately discovered that Jobs might have been brilliant with computers but not nutrition.
The bottom line is that this fad diet is basically another restrictive diet in disguise setting one up for major vitamin and mineral deficiencies. It feels funny, as a registered dietitian, to write about fruit in a negative way, but the truth is that fruit provides only carbohydrates and certain vitamins and minerals. You should definitely aim to get two to four servings of fruit per day, however, it by all means does not provide the full package of nutrients that our bodies need, such as protein and healthy fats.
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The good news though is that Kutcher was not promoting this diet for weight loss. However, that’s not to say that perhaps many of his fans might think otherwise. Whenever a celebrity is connected in any way to a diet, the public seems drawn to it and tempted to try it, even if it comes with a “warning label” from nutrition experts.
In my dream world, celebrities will start promoting healthy eating only. They will support gradual weight loss, praise portion control, and stay clear of any diet that eliminates food groups. Fitness will be encouraged, but no one will feel they need to move in with a personal trainer. The media will zoom in on the health benefits they are achieving and not just focus on their speedy weight loss or trip to the hospital. I guess one can dream.
Keri Gans, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., is a registered dietitian, media personality, spokesperson, and author of The Small Change Diet. Gans's expert nutrition advice has been featured in Glamour, Fitness, Health, Self, and SHAPE, and on national television and radio, including The Dr. Oz Show, Good Morning America, ABC News, Primetime, and Sirius/XM Dr. Radio. Follow her on Twitter @kerigans or on Facebook.