Hey there Raw Warrior Princes and Princesses,
This question came in from confused subscriber, Marina D… I’ll let her ask it here:
“Do you believe that a small size woman can eat “unlimited” calories from fruit and not gain weight?
This has been something that many of my friends find very confusing on this lifestyle – lots of misinformation. Do raw fruits/raw foods have any “magic” caloric advantage. Meaning, in a sensible way, calories do matter. So if one requires 1800 calories a day, this would be respectful on any type of diet?
It is very easy to overeat fruits, if one eats many bananas, mameys and dates. Wouldn’t you agree?
Please help clarify this information in your education to others. Many suffer because of this false assumption.
Anthea, my last question for you personally is – what fruits do you find make it very easy to gain weight?
Thanks you so much for clarifying this issue as so many leave the approach due to weight gain or inability lose even a pound.”
Thanks for your GREAT question. It’s obviously about time for another article on this subject 🙂 I’ve written about it in the past a few times but it’s definitely a perennial, that issue.
For further writing on that topic check out Not Losing Weight on a Raw Food Diet?, The Benefit of Meal Planning for Weight Loss, My Top 6 Quick and Easy Tips for Losing Weight on a Raw Food Diet, and more.
And yes, there certainly is a lot of rubbish info out there that is very frustrating to a lot of people who are promised weight-loss and never achieve it.
The short answer to this question is YES, of course it’s possible to gain or not lose any weight, eating too much fruit or fats like nuts and seeds.
BUT you would have to be overeating on a daily basis to ensure this.
Most normal eaters would be completely satiated by the volume of raw foods and so would naturally stop eating when their bellies are full, and would naturally be able to regulate how many calories they are taking in and maintain a normal weight.
Unfortunately though, there are many, many poor souls out there (including myself) who suffer with overeating tendencies (emotional eating/compulsive eating/binge-eating – whatever label fits). If you are one of those people then you need to be VERY careful with tracking the quantities of fruits and nuts you are eating to make sure that you are not exceeding your daily needs (just as you would have to be with your cooked food consumption).
AND if you are including ANY refined foods in your diet (sugar, flour, honey, maple syrup, and possibly even dried fruit) you may find that you have very little control over the amount of food you are eating because those substances are always making you crave MORE food and causing you to overeat.
That’s why I found this program (Brightline Eating) and how I combine Bightline Eating with a Raw Vegan Diet, so helpful in addressing the addictive pull of these particular foods.
The calorie ‘advantage’ of raw food, as you put it, really comes from the low-calorie, high water content and high-fibre nature of raw fruits and veggies, which leaves us feeling fuller for longer. As I said before, some normal eaters are able to eat just the right amount of raw fruits for their bodies and maintain a normal weight.
But that’s not all of us.
Here are some things I do to make sure I don’t overeat on fruit.
- I ALWAYS plan my meals (using Cronometer.com) so that they are very balanced including greens, fats and fruit.
- I always eat plenty of greens with my fruit – at EVERY meal. This ups the fibre and water content and slows down sugar absorption.
- Currently I don’t eat dried fruit – I find it triggers overeating behaviours in me (not to mention teeth problems). The only time I ever include it is to possibly sweeten a salad dressing and I would only use ONE date maximum.
I never avoid calorie dense fruits like bananas, mangos, durian or mameys. These fruits are wonderful and have amazing nutrients on offer. But I make sure to plan appropriate quantities and combine them with greens.
So finally, to dispel all myths out there, anyone WILL gain weight if they eat too much – of any food.
It’s very hard to eat too much raw food but it absolutely can be done. Plenty of raw foodies such as myself, Andrew Perlot and Yulia Tarbath have all experienced weight gain from eating too much raw food.
Interestingly, years back, when I did 6 months on an exclusively gourmet-style (high fat) raw food diet I lost enormous amounts of weight, but also lost a lot of strength and energy and was having huge cravings all the time for cooked food (ie. Not enough carbs in my diet). I ended up bingeing on French Fries and chocolate mudcake and putting back on every pound I’d lost and then some!
You might lose a lot of weight on a high fat raw diet, but will you be able to sustain it over the long term? Personally I do not recommend that approach to eating raw.
For me fruit is the most wonderful food on the planet. The food that we are designed to eat. I personally feel like I’ve found the way I want to eat for the rest of my life – One day at a time 🙂
But finding the right balance for you is your key to success on this lifestyle.
What has been your experience with fruit and weightloss? Please write a comment below. It may very well help others on this lifestyle…
Anthea Frances is an author, raw food health coach and host of the Raw Life Summit series. Grab a copy of her free Balanced Raw Vegan Nutrition Checklist and start improving your health today!