Orthorexia is an eating disorder which involves an obsession for eating a diet based on a restricted selection of food items considered 'healthy' by followers. Not only can such dietary habits lead to important nutritional deficiencies, they may cause disturbances in familial and social relationships as others realize you've turned into a dietary zealot.
Followers of restrictive regimens especially known for their fanatical behaviour include low-carbers, vegans and fruitarians. The latter feed only on fruits, some using the rationale that our primate ancestors only ate fruit, so therefore we should too. The fact that primates routinely eat vegetation other than fruit, and have been observed to eat meat in the wild and to digest it with full efficiency when studied in captivity never seems to enter the highly dogmatic fruitarian mind.
Other fruitarians believe in non-violence towards plants as well as animals and that we should avoid eating vegetables that are 'killed' during harvest such as lettuce, celery or cabbage. Holy cow. If fruits were 'alive', I'd say they'd be pretty much screwed at the point where you sink your teeth into them and begin crushing with your teeth. So if 'killing' food was a big no-no, then for the sake of consistency those who subscribe to the theory of 'non-violent' nutrition should stop eating pretty much everything, except maybe dirt. Or does that have feelings too?
Nope, commonsense has never been a big factor with dietary zealots, and fruitarians are hardly an exception.
But the 'benefits' of fruitarianism don't stop at irrational fanatacism; turns out it's a great way to get to know your local hospital too!
Researchers from Spain recently described what appears to be the first reported case of ketoacidosis secondary to starvation in a frutarian patient. A 35 year old male with a history of three previous admissions to psychiatric units was brought to the Emergency Room via ambulance, presenting with behavioural disturbances, including aggressiveness and voluntary complete fasting for over a
week. In the last 10 years, the patient had progressed from a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet to one consisting solely of fruit.
On presentation, the patient was clearly ill, displaying psychomotor impairment and incoherent speech. He had a body mass index (BMI) of 16, and urinalysis was positive for ketone bodies (>150 mg/dl). Protein-calorie malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies (folate and vitamin D) were evident. He was treated with intravenous glucose, insulin, vitamins and minerals.
The patient's motivation for eating only fruits was based on the desire to avoid harming animals and vegetables. He only allowed himself to eat fruit because it was produced by a plant, and consumption of the fruit did not kill the plant (hang on a minute; dairy and egg consumption doesn't kill the source animals, so...oh I forgot, this article is about irrational dietary zealots).
As if that weren't loopy enough, the patient refused to receive tube feeding claiming that “receiving enteral nutrition won’t allow him to follow his dietary habit”, necessitating IV parenteral nutrition with supplemental phosphate, potassium, calcium and magnesium.
A psychiatric consult was requested, and a diagnosis of "undetermined psychotic disorder" was given. I told you these jokers are crazy...
The patient's week of strict voluntary fasting prior to admission was considered most likely the cause of ketoacidosis. Initially, the presence of ketonemia and low glucose levels ruled out diabetic ketoacidosis as the cause, and negative laboratory results for toxicology and alcohol levels further implicated starvation as the aetiology of the acid-base imbalance. Ketoacidosis secondary to starvation is due to diminished insulin secretion, leading to an increase in ketogenesis. The big irony here is that vegan/fruitarian proponents routinely attack meat for its alleged acidic properties, and attack the ketotic state of their low-carb rivals as unhealthy.
What I personally find really, really sad here is that this happened in Spain. I mean, c'mon'...Spanish blokes eating fruitarian diets? What next? Italian blokes listening to Abba and drinking soyaccinos? What's happening to people, for crying out loud?
Wake Up and Smell the Bullshit, Folks
The above case report reminds me of a certain emaciated fruitarian who loudly wanks on and on about how wonderful his diet is, but for some strange reason never mentions the time he was admitted to hospital a few years back in a very non-wonderful state after eating nothing but bananas for 2 weeks straight. He has since expanded his dietary repertoire to include mangoes, dates and - in keeping with his 100% natural, all-organic philosophy - synthetic B12 injections, which of course were widely used by our primate ancestors.
It also reminds me of an email I received a month ago from a lad in the Netherlands, asking for advice on how to repair the severe damage he'd done to himself after an extended bout of fruitarianism. Here's the guts of his email, edited for brevity:
"I am 20 years old, live with my parents in the Netherlands, and, after nearly being dead and still being relatively weak, currently have no job or money to pay you for advice...My situation put very, very briefly is this: I ate a diet consisting of nothing but fruit for 6 months, lost my libido, body hair, got a diastolic blood pressure of 35, was so weak I could not walk to the end of the street anymore -> Went to a GP, got diagnosed panhypopituitarism and was put on HRT for thyroid hormone, growth hormone, testosterone and cortisol -> Went to an endocrinologist, got misdiagnosed again -> Found out about the fact that I was misdiagnosed and that diet, rather than a malfunctioning pituitary gland caused my problems and discussed this with the endocrinologist -> Will now get regular check-ups on hormone levels and slowly wean off the HRT, I am also under the guidance of a dietitian, who put me on a 2100 kcal diet with macro's C/F/P 50/30/20. I was luckily able to choose what foods to eat, staples are red meat/potatoes/rice/eggs.
I am an ex-hobby- bodybuilder, at my peak I was 71 kg@firstname.lastname@example.org(BP 125, SQ 145, DL 180). Right now, I am 59 kg@13%%1.71(BP 70, SQ 55, DL ??), have got the testosterone levels of an average female and have yet to wean off of hydrocortisone and thyroid hormone (am on full replacement dosages for both). Within the next weeks I will get bone density tests and a decent BF% measurement. I have been binge eating for the last three weeks, that's how I went from the 7% I am on my profile picture, to about 13% in a very short time while not really gaining any muscle or strength, sad, but I have to live with it.
I desperately want to get back to 7%, but recovery of my hormonal health obviously has priority, at the hospital, the did not want me to go low bodyfat, especially not now."
For heaven's sake. Why do people fall for this nonsense? What is it about the human species that makes people so dopey and gullible they'll readily believe eating nothing but fruit is a smart thing to do? Humans have been eating animal flesh, tubers, and other assorted forms of vegetation for millions of years - deal with it, folks. And realize that without these foods, we wouldn't even be here today. Instead we would have been emaciated fruitarians too weak to fight off and flee from sharp-toothed prey, and too infertile, impotent, amenorrheic and nutrient-depleted to successfully pass on our genes (no enteral IV drips back in the Stone Age, folks...)
PS: I've just learned that Matt Stone has been conversing with the above Dutch ex-fruitarian, and has presented a more detailed - and alarming - report on this young lad's diet and health history. It should be mandatory reading for anyone tempted by the trendy but harebrained intermittent fasting, zero-carb and fruitarian fads: http://180degreehealth.com/2012/10/fat-loss-secret
1. Causso C, et al. Severe ketoacidosis secondary to starvation in a frutarian patient. Nutr Hosp, 2010; 25 (6): 1049-1052.
View the free full text here: http://www.nutricionhospitalaria.com/pdf/4905.pdf
Anthony Colpo is an independent researcher, physical conditioning specialist, and author of the groundbreaking books The Fat Loss Bible and The Great Cholesterol Con. For more information, visit TheFatLossBible.net or TheGreatCholesterolCon.com
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