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High Fat Or High Fruit

Hi Fred! I think your article on which raw diet to follow, high fat or high fruit, is misleading. It is entirely possible to thrive on a low fat plant based raw diet with minimal fruit, such as the Hippocrates regime or that recommended by Dr Gabriel Cousens.

I agree that the high fat raw diet can indeed be problematic, but there are other ways to go low fat raw food without eating vast amounts of fruit. You neglect to mention these, and I think that for people who do not have the benefit of a long standing, evidence based relationship with raw food such as myself, it is too simplistic to divide these diets into only 2 options, and confusion could indeed reign.

In the Hippocrates regime for example, approx 10 to 15% of calories come from fat, and the diet limits fruit to 4-6 servings per WEEK, plenty for most people. I would also contend that it is sufficient for athletes as well – I have coached several athletes with this regime, who have gone on to set new PBs in all their disciplines.

I do not believe that there is “only one way and that’s my way”, but I think you should inform your readers that there are other ways to go with the raw diet than either high fat or high fruit. This amounts to scaremongering which ultimately serves no-one.

ANSWER: I respect your opinion, but I would like to point out a big mistake that you’re making in your statement.

You say that it’s possible to thrive on a “low fat” raw diet that contains “minimal fruit”.

I would like to see how that works out in practice because from my nutrition training this is simply not possible.

If you want a raw food diet, you will need to get calories from two sources:

– Fruit
– Fatty foods (avocados, nuts, etc.)

Vegetables have a low-caloric density. If you do not believe me just check how many heads of lettuce or carrots you would need to eat to get the 4000 calories your athletes need.

The other possible sources are things that no one really wants to eat:

– Sprouted grains and beans
– Carrot juice

It’s also known that raw sprouted grains and beans contain natural toxins and that do not go away simply through the sprouting process. You can get seriously ill from eating them, and in fact, many have.

As far as using carrot juice or similar carbohydrate foods, it beats the purpose in the first place. Aren’t you avoiding fruit because you think too much sugar is bad for you?

When people go to the Hippocrates institute, what they follow is a very low-calorie diet, one that’s good for a short period to lose a lot of weight, which is what most people want when they go to these places.

So they’ll be served watermelon juice, green juice and sprouts.

I do not know anyone that is able to maintain that regimen when they go back to their regular lives.

If you follow a low-fat raw food diet and you limit your fruit consumption to 4 to 6 servings per week, you are following a very low-calorie diet that is not sustainable.

Or you are possibly eating massive quantities of sprouted grains and beans, which most people:

a) Wouldn’t possibly *want* to do
b) Would eventually get sick from because of the natural enzyme-inhibitors found in those foods.

So if you really want to prove me wrong, why don’t you come up with a weekly menu and we’ll analyze it?

We know that athletes require more calories, usually 4000 a day or more. And you said that your diet can work for athletes.

So, send me a 7-day menu that contains 4000 calories per day (enough for an athlete — because if an athlete cannot follow your diet… is it really healthy?) and:

1) Contains a maximum of 12% fat by calories (which is the average of the figures you gave me)
2) Contains a maximum of 4 to 6 servings of fruit per week
3) Is completely raw
4) Is something that a human being would actually want to follow. In other words, don’t include gallons of carrot juice or buckets of sprouted beans just to make up for the calories.

In fact, this is an open challenge to anyone.

If anyone can come up with this diet, I will pay you $500

Anyone game?

Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.


Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.