Fruit vs Vegetable:
The Misguided War
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
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:
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
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?
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
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
destroy much of a food's nutrient content and
cause the creation of carcinogens, two
things we definitely want to avoid.
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.
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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
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
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
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
Fruit vs Vegetable: The Role Of Fruit
When I was suffering
, 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
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
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.
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
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
Fruit vs Vegetable: Following Up
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