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One year ago, Allen Manglona embarked on a fruitarian diet to lose weight.
By the midway point, despite a variety of hardships, he felt lighter and less tired. But the main test is in staying healthy.
A fruitarian diet is an extreme form of a vegan diet, in which people consume 50% to 70% of raw fruits in their diets, with upward of 90% fruit in strict cases. Fruitarians eat raw fruits, nuts and seeds.
In 2013, actor Ashton Kutcher tried the fruitarian diet for a month and was hospitalized for pancreatic pain. Kutcher did it to play Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, for a movie. Jobs was known for his fasting habits and fruit-only diet.
Other fruitarians, such as Michael Arnstein, founder of the Woodstock Fruit Festival, have dedicated their lives to the diet. Leonardo da Vinci and Mahatma Gandhi followed fruitarian diets before turning to veganism.
Richelle Rada, a dietitian and nutrition coach on Guam, recommends against the fruitarian diet unless people consult with a physician. Meals must provide carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, Rada said, and a restrictive diet can cause nutrient deficiencies.
“If a person eats only fruits, they likely cannot get enough protein, omega fatty acids, vitamin B12, calcium and vitamin D,” Rada said.
For people with pancreatic or kidney disorders, a fruit diet can severely harm a person or lead to starvation.
Before trying the fruitarian diet, Rada recommends people assess their eating habits.
“Anytime someone doesn’t get enough of a certain nutrient, they are at risk for developing serious health problems,” Rada said.
Meals needed to change
After 372 days, where is Manglona now? The diet has worked for him.
Manglona struggled with obesity as a child. He experimented with different diets and worked out rigorously, hoping to cut down fat.
His goal of losing weight didn’t pan out in 2017. He was 230 pounds. Even after working out twice a day — lifting weights in the morning and practicing mixed martial arts at night — he still gained weight.
He realized that his meals needed to change.
“A lot of it is diet, not exercise, because (I was) working out like a beast,” Manglona said.
He started a ketogenic diet in 2018. He worried about heart conditions caused by extra fat, so he switched to a vegan keto diet and added nuts, low-carb vegetables and low-carb fruits to his plate.
His cousin recommended a fruitarian diet. But Manglona, seeing the success of the keto diet, avoided adding fruits, which increases carbohydrate intake.
On March 9, 2020, after a night of beer and partying, Manglona wanted a new diet. He started eating fruits — and nothing else.
“By the third day, I could see results in the mirror,” Manglona said. “I significantly slimmed down. It was almost as fast as fasting.”
In March 2020, Manglona weighed 180 pounds. By July, that number dropped to 119, but he regained 30 pounds.
“I have never felt this good,” Manglona said.
For Manglona, the fruitarian diet proved useful, in part because he replaced the processed sugars in his cereals and white rice with natural sugar.
“You’re eating natural food, you’re at your natural weight, and you’re at the natural state that you should be,” Manglona said.
Reach reporter Anne Wen at email@example.com.
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