Fruit vs Vegetable: The Misguided War

Among healthy eaters, the fruit vs vegetable debate still rages.

While your average person probably likes both food groups well enough, many cooked food vegetarians and vegans and many raw foodists think of fruit as, at best, an occasional snack, and believe vegetables should be the basis of a good diet.

Some go so far as to call fruit overhybridized, a nonsensical term if there ever was one.

On the other side you've got those who think man shouldn't be eating vegetables at all, and that we can get all the nutrients we need from raw fruit.

These fruitarians are often basing their decisions off of moral considerations for vegetation, believing that fruit is a seed-dispersal mechanism meant to be consumed while plants themselves resist predation and have feelings.

Neither of these extreme positions makes much sense from a nutritional or practical perspective.

So, what if, like Herb, you just want to know which to emphasize in your diet? In this article we'll examine the fruit vs vegetable debate in more detail and help you come to some conclusions.

Fruit Vs Vegetable Show Down

Fruit Vs Vegetable: What's The Difference?

From a nutritional and digestive perspective, there are some large-scale differences between fruits and vegetables.

Both are plant foods and far outstrip other food categories in terms of nutrients, leaving meat, eggs, and dairy in the dust.

When paired off against each other, both have a pretty wide assortment of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients, but fruit takes the lead with the largest amount and variety of vitamins while vegetables have a larger and more diverse supply of minerals.

Two import differentiations revolve around calories and digestibility, and both factors are key in determining the role either food group can play in our diet.

Fruit Vs Vegetable: Which Vegetables Can You Eat Raw?

Fruit Vs Vegetable RomaineThere are plenty of vegetables that man chooses to grow, but most of them are not particularly digestible.

Ever try to eat raw cassava or bit of uncooked wheat? What about raw green potatoes and beans? Even if you can choke them down, you won't particularly enjoy the experience.

The fact is that man has traditionally relied on the cooking process to turn otherwise-hard-or-impossible-to-digest foods into something he can consume.

If survival is our sole goal, then this makes sense, as getting in calories is of chief importance, but no one needs to starve in today's food-abundant world.

When we rely on cooking, we destroy much of a food's nutrient content and cause the creation of carcinogens, two things we definitely want to avoid.

Index Savory Raw Dressings Cover
Sinfully delicious raw dressings can spice up your salad every night of the week. Don't worry, they're also low fat and incredibly healthy.

Find out how to create amazing salad dressings and sauces from scratch.

Check out Savory Raw Dressings and Sauces!

If we do the wise thing and avoid cooking, we're left with a much smaller range of vegetables to eat. You can see an overview of the many types of vegetables and learn which ones are good to eat raw here.

You'll see that what we're left with are the easy to digest leafy greens, celery, and a few other species, as well as the rougher-but-still-edible cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, all of which work well raw.

Fruit Vs Vegetable: The Calorie Differential

Fruit vs Veg SoupsopIf anyone tries to use these vegetables as their main calorie source, they will fail to get enough energy to maintain their body mass because there is simply not enough room in the stomach to accommodate the huge mass of vegetables it would take to get enough calories. Over time, if people only eat these raw vegetables, they will waste away and remain chronically low on energy.

This is one of the major stumbling blocks experienced by fruit-avoiding raw foodists.

One common exception to this is when someone tricks themselves into thinking their diet is mostly vegetables but actually having it be mostly fat. Many raw foodists fall for this trap, putting tons of fatty dressings, nuts, seeds, and avocados on top of their salads. This will give them enough calories, but ensures many health problems down the road, such as high blood sugar.

Fruit Vs Vegetable: Getting Enough Vegetables

From what I just wrote, you may think I'm trying to say that vegetables aren't important or that you shouldn't make a point of caring about them too much, but that's not it at all. Vegetables are critical, and all my experimentation has proven to my satisfaction that my health and athletic performance is never at its peak when I'm not eating plenty of vegetables.

I suggest a person get 3-6 percent of their calories from vegetables, which probably accounts for more volume of vegetables than any cooked food vegetarian or vegan eats. Let's say you need to eat 2,500 calories a day to maintain your body weight. You'd have to eat 3 heads of red leaf lettuce per day to reach 150 calories from that lettuce, or roughly 6 percent of your calorie allotment.

This means that you're eating a huge salad every night, or smaller amounts throughout the day.  It's true that vegetables are not calorically dominant in a healthy diet because it's impossible for them to be, but this doesn't mean they're not a major component of our diet. Any healthy raw food diet should have vegetables as a major pillar.

Fruit vs Vegetable: The Role Of Fruit

Fruit Vs Vegetable
                        TruckWhen I was suffering with colitis, I didn't get why fruit was important. Like just about every American, I'd grown up eating it as a snack food, having a single apple of banana after school or as a compliment to a breakfast cereal. It certainly never occurred to me that it could be a staple food.

I recognized that grains and starches were wreaking havoc on my digestive system, but I thought that only left me with vegetables, and I was unable to get enough calories to make a grain-and-starchless vegetable diet work. I was tired and listless all the time, and suffered from such bad cravings that I would eventually give in and stuff myself with grains and starches, causing my colitis to return full force.

Eventually I discovered fruit could be used as a staple food, and found it allowed me to conquer all my cravings while letting me overcome my colitis because fruits have enough calories to replace things like rice and potatoes.

I felt better than I ever had in my life eating this way, and had so much energy I astonished myself. Things like bananas, dates, and persimmons all provide lots of calories, but you can easily sustain yourself on lower-calorie fruits like oranges and watermelon as well, once your stomach has adapted.

Another huge advantage of fruit is that, unlike the grains and starches most people use to supply their calories, they are packed with vitamins and other nutrients. Most people fail to meet even the rather low recommendations of health groups like the World Health Organization, which merely suggests enough to avoid overt diseases of deficiency like scurvy.

When you embrace fruit as a staple, your nutrient intake blows these recommendations out of the water.

Fruit vs Vegetable: Avoid Going Overboard

We don't want to swing so far in the direction of fruit that we forget about the importance of vegetables, however.  As I mentioned earlier, when I start to ignore my greens my health and athletic performance always starts to decline within a few months.

Our ideal diet ratio happens to be very close to the one eaten by our closest genetic relatives, the bonobos, who feast on fruit in the equatorial jungles of Africa, but also know how to chow down on green vegetation.

We can't live in the jungle, of course, but it's easy enough use the fruits and vegetables we farm to copy the bonobo diet, using fruit as our main calorie source but also eating plenty of tender leafy greens.

Receive the free Raw Food Health Journal

Keep up to date with new articles from this site.

Search Raw-Food-Health.net

Copyright © raw-food-health.net | All rights reserved.
Click here for the mandatory privacy policy and terms of use, which you agree to by using this site.

Raw Food Health Site Build It