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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Intermittent Fasting arrow Fruit Fast: How to Do It, and Is It Actually Healthy?

Fruit Fast: How to Do It, and Is It Actually Healthy?

HR_author_photo_Edna
Written by Edna Skopljak, MD
Dr. Donika Vata
Fact checked by Donika Vata, MD
Last update: January 16, 2024
8 min read 775 Views 0 Comments
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Fruits are part of a healthy, balanced diet and can help you stay healthy, but can you eat only fruits on a fast?

fruit fast

Fasting is a centuries-old practice that is important in many cultures and religions. It is described as refraining from all or some foods or fluids for a certain period of time. 

Fasting offers many health benefits, including boosting the metabolism, improved blood sugar control, and weight loss. 

There are numerous ways of fasting that you can try. The fruit fast, or fruit diet, is one of them. Unlike water or juice fasting, a fruit diet allows you to continue eating solid foods while intensely detoxifying your system. But is it healthy, and can it help you lose weight?

Learn what a fruit diet entails, its potential benefits, how to do it, and what to consider before starting it.

What Is a Fruit Fast?

The fruit fast is a type of fasting that involves eating only fresh fruit for a set period. It is considered a natural healing method since it detoxifies the body, clearing the digestive tract of waste and toxins accumulated over time [1].

A fruit diet is only recommended for brief periods, usually 3 days to 1 week. This is because fruits may not be a good source of all the nutrients your body needs.

During the initial phase of a fruit diet, you’re allowed to eat a portion of fresh fruit for each of the first 2 meals of the day. Some programs may require that the last meal of the day includes a serving of raw, fresh vegetables, while more restrictive plans may allow only fruit.

Staying hydrated during a fruit fast is crucial, so drinking a lot of water is typically allowed, but you should steer clear of any liquid containing sugar, caffeine, or alcohol.

What can you eat during a fruit fast? 

You can consume meals that include fruit and vegetables during fruit fasting. The fruits should have a high water concentration, nutrients, and enzymes, like apples, oranges, grapes, melon, berries, pineapple, mango, cherries, and papaya.

The high water content helps the body’s cleansing process and removes food residue from the intestines.

You can also eat bananas during fruit fasting. They’re filling and energizing, which may help you fast for longer. However, bananas are not considered as cleansing as other fruits because of their starch content [2].

During the fruit fast, you can eat fruit and vegetables raw or cooked. Vegetables to include in your diet include tomatoes, leafy greens, peppers, and courgettes. Some diets also allow you to eat nuts, for example, walnuts.

Carbonated and non-carbonated water, and freshly squeezed juices, are allowed. Eat fresh fruit, not frozen, dried, or canned fruits.

It’s important to remember that a fruit diet limits other food groups like grains, dairy products, meat, fish, and fats.

Types of Fruit Fasting 

Fruit fasting is most commonly practiced in 2 ways:

#1 The one-fruit fast 

The one-fruit fast, also called mono-diet or mono-fruit fasting, is a type of fasting where you only eat 1 fruit for the duration of the fast, such as only apples or only grapes. You should try to stick to cleansing fruits like apples, grapefruit, grapes, and melons when on this fruit diet. 

Be careful not to overeat; set a limit of 3–4 apples per day or 1–2 oranges every meal. This is because overeating can put a strain on your digestive system. Fruits contain natural sugars and fiber, and consuming excessive amounts can overwhelm your digestive organs, leading to discomfort, bloating, gas, or even diarrhea.

This fasting technique is easy and simple to follow, as it takes little preparation.

#2 The any-fruit fast 

The any-fruit fast is a type of fruit fasting where you can consume any fruit. This fast does not limit you to one specific fruit. It’s a flexible approach that allows you to enjoy several fruits while fasting. 

Opt for fresh, ripe fruits for maximum nutritional and cleansing benefits. You can include apples, oranges, bananas, berries, melons, grapes, pineapples, or any other fruit you choose. Avoid dried fruits, as they have more sugar and calories.

While many people find this type of fasting popular, others find that some fruit combinations – such as acidic and sweet fruits – are not digesting well together. Melons also don’t mix well with other fruits. Some people may experience digestive discomfort or bloating. Avoid combining too many fruits, and eat melons and citrus alone.

5 Key Benefits of Fruit Fasting 

While a fruit diet should not be recommended for extended periods, it’s associated with potential benefits. Here are 5 key benefits of fruit fasting:

#1 Weight loss 

You must be in a calorie deficit to lose weight. This means your body must burn more calories than it takes in. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories compared to other food groups. 

Consuming fruits alone and focusing on them during fasting can drastically reduce your overall calorie intake, which may lead to weight loss.

Fruits are also rich in dietary fiber, which can help you feel fuller for longer, reducing the chances of having hunger pangs [3]. 

#2 Improved satiety 

The fiber in fruits also adds bulk to your meals without adding many calories, promoting satiety and allowing you to eat less throughout the day.

Not only are fruits and vegetables packed with fiber, but they are nutrient-rich and have a high water content.

Foods with high water content increase their weight without adding calories. As a result, fruits and vegetables – especially when consumed whole – increase satiety [4].

#3 Increased energy 

Fresh fruits contain higher nutrients like the B vitamins, such as thiamin, riboflavin, and vitamin B6, which convert food into energy [5]. Fruits also contain vitamin C, which absorbs iron, a mineral necessary for oxygen transport and energy production [6].

Sweet and juicy, fruits are rich in natural sugars like fructose, which your body converts to glucose as a quick energy source. 

The fiber content in fruits can also help slow down the digestion and absorption of sugars, preventing rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels [7]. This helps provide a more sustained release of energy, keeping you energized for extended periods.

#4 Lower risk of diseases 

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower your risk of developing illnesses such as diabetes, inflammation, certain types of cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Fruits are high in anthocyanin and flavonoids, which can help fight cell-damaging free radicals that cause such diseases [8].

Additionally, fruits include a variety of phytochemicals with health-boosting antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may shield the body from chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and some types of cancer [9].

#5 Increased hydration

The high water content in most fruits, such as watermelon, strawberries, pineapples, and oranges, can help increase your overall fluid intake and support proper hydration.

Consuming these fruits during a fast can help supplement your fluid intake, especially if you find it challenging to drink plain water.

Potential Risks of Fruit Fasting 

While fruit fasting can have potential benefits, it also has potential drawbacks, which include:

  • Nutrient deficiencies: Fruits are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but they might lack all the elements your body needs [10]. Fruits don’t generally contain healthy fats, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein. Prolonged or frequent fruit fasting without ensuring enough nutritional intake may result in deficiencies that negatively influence general health.
  • Very restrictive: Fruit fasting is a strict diet that limits you from consuming most foods. This extreme restriction can result in malnutrition. You may even experience starvation mode after a prolonged fast which will slow your metabolism as your body tries to hold on to your nutritional stores and conserve energy.
  • Temporary weight loss: For most people, fast weight loss causes weight gain. Your body may return to how it was when you return to your regular diet as your metabolism adjusts.

Tips for a Successful Fruit Fast 

If you’re considering a fruit diet, here are some tips to help experience a successful fruit fast:

#1 Choose organic and local fruit 

Choosing organic and locally sourced fruits can improve the nutritional quality of your diet. Organic fruits are grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, reducing your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. 

Local fruits are often fresh and may retain more nutrients since they haven’t undergone extended transportation.

#2 Plan your meals 

Take time to plan your fruit meals. This will ensure you have the most nutritious fruits to help meet your daily nutritional needs.

If your type of fast is an any-fruit fast, consider including fruits from different categories like berries, tropical fruits, and citrus fruits. Planning can also help you avoid reaching for unhealthy snacks during the fast.

#3 Stay hydrated 

Hydration is crucial during any fast, including a fruit fast. In addition to drinking water, you can incorporate hydrating fruits with high water content. These fruits not only provide hydration but also contribute essential vitamins and minerals.

#4 Be physically active 

Engaging in light to moderate physical activity during your fruit fast can support your overall well-being. Going for a walk, practicing gentle yoga, or doing light exercises can help maintain muscle tone, promote circulation, and support detoxification. 

Listen to your body and choose activities that feel comfortable and appropriate for your energy levels during the fast.

FAQs 

How much weight can you lose on a fruit fast?

When it comes to weight loss, the most essential thing to consider is whether you’re losing it healthily. A safe and maintainable weight loss rate is 1–2 pounds per week. So you can expect to shed 2–4 pounds in 2 weeks while remaining healthy.

Is a 3-day fruit fast healthy?

A 3-day fruit fast might be healthy for some people because it detoxifies the body and allows it to empty, giving the metabolic organs a chance to rest and regenerate. People with unique nutritional needs, such as those with kidney disease or nutritional deficiencies, may need to avoid fruit fasting.

How long can you do a fruit fast?

A fruit fast is recommended for a short time, usually 3–7 days. This is because fruits alone may not provide all the essential nutrients your body needs for optimal functioning. Extended periods of restrictive diets can lead to nutrient deficiencies, muscle loss, decreased energy levels, and potential health complications.

A Word From a Nutritionist

While fruit fasting may seem appealing for quick weight loss or detoxification, it’s crucial to approach it cautiously and prioritize your overall nutritional well-being.

Fruits are undoubtedly a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They offer a range of health benefits and can be included as part of a balanced eating plan. However, relying solely on fruits for an extended period can lead to an inadequate intake of essential nutrients, including healthy fats, protein, and certain minerals and vitamins.

Remember that your body requires various nutrients to function optimally. Ensure you eat a healthful diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats after the fast.

Experimenting is the key to determining the best fasting choice for you. Make sure to pay attention to your body. If fruit fasting makes you feel hungry and anxious, you can try other options, such as a 12-hour fast or a 16-hour fast.

Conclusion

Fruit fasting gives your metabolic organs a break and detoxifies the body by removing residues from your intestines. It’s a cleanse that may provide several health benefits, including weight loss.

While you may adopt this diet for weight loss, doing it for prolonged periods may be  harmful to the body because it does not offer all the essential nutrients your body needs. This results in unhealthy weight loss as you lose water, muscle mass, and strength. 

With fruit fasting, you may regain any weight you lose as soon as you return to your normal eating pattern. Talk with your doctor or dietician before starting any diet to help you craft an eating pattern to help you lose weight sustainably.

Sources

  1. Klein AV, Kiat H. Detox diets for toxin elimination and weight management: a critical review of the evidence. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2015 Dec. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25522674/
  2. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Bananas. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/bananas/ Accessed 01/16/2024
  3. Clark MJ, Slavin JL. The effect of fiber on satiety and food intake: a systematic review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2013. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23885994/
  4. Hakim, B.N., Yahya, H.M., Shahar, S., & Manaf, Z.A. Influence of Fruit and Vegetable Intake on Satiety and Energy Intake: A Review. Sains Malaysiana. 2018. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329270548_Influence_of_Fruit_and_Vegetable_Intake_on_Satiety_and_Energy_Intake_A_Review
  5. Mielgo-Ayuso J, Aparicio-Ugarriza R, Olza J, Aranceta-Bartrina J, Gil Á, Ortega RM, Serra-Majem L, Varela-Moreiras G, González-Gross M. Dietary Intake and Food Sources of Niacin, Riboflavin, Thiamin and Vitamin B₆ in a Representative Sample of the Spanish Population. The Anthropometry, Intake, and Energy Balance in Spain (ANIBES) Study †. Nutrients. 2018 Jun. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6073544/
  6. Abbaspour N, Hurrell R, Kelishadi R. Review on iron and its importance for human health. J Res Med Sci. 2014 Feb. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3999603/
  7. Riccardi G, Rivellese AA. Effects of dietary fiber and carbohydrate on glucose and lipoprotein metabolism in diabetic patients. Diabetes Care. 1991 Dec. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1663443/
  8. Speer H, D’Cunha NM, Alexopoulos NI, McKune AJ, Naumovski N. Anthocyanins and Human Health-A Focus on Oxidative Stress, Inflammation and Disease. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020 Apr 28. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7278778/
  9. Feng ST, Wang ZZ, Yuan YH, Sun HM, Chen NH, Zhang Y. Mangiferin: A multipotent natural product preventing neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease models. Pharmacol Res. 2019 Aug. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31271846/
  10. Slavin JL, Lloyd B. Health benefits of fruits and vegetables. Adv Nutr. 2012 Jul. https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649719/
Written by Edna Skopljak, MD
Edna Skopljak, MD, is a medical advisor for the Health Reporter, a general practitioner who also worked as a medical doctor at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology. In addition to clinical work, she has years of experience in medical research as an editor at a prestigious medical journal.
The article was fact checked by Donika Vata, MD
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HR_author_photo_Edna
Written by Edna Skopljak, MD
Dr. Donika Vata
Fact checked by Donika Vata, MD
Last update: January 16, 2024
8 min read 775 Views 0 Comments
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