Ashton Kutcher Lands in the Hospital After Adopting Steve Jobs' Fruitarian Diet

Getting into character for his portrayal of Steve Jobs in a new biopic, Ashton Kutcher adopted a fruitarian diet, as Jobs was known to sometimes do. Jobs ate fruits, nuts and seeds. Ricardo Bilton writes for Venture Beat, “Jobs, who at one point went a whole week eating just apples, was fond of the diet, as Walter Isaacson discusses in his 2011 biography. ‘He believed in eating nothing but fruits and starchless vegetables, which he said prevented the body from forming harmful mucus, and he advocated cleansing the body regularly through prolonged fasts,’ Isaacson writes.”

Kutcher didn’t seem to take to the diet too well. The actor told reporters while at Sundance that he “ended up in the hospital two days before we started shooting the movie," he said. "I was like doubled over in pain, and my pancreas levels were completely out of whack, which was completely terrifying, considering everything." 

Jobs died of pancreatic cancer but there is no evidence connecting that with his diet. The Huffington Post reports:

A diet high in fruits and veggies can actually reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Conversely, dietary risk factors for pancreatic cancer include meat-heavy diets and diets high in processed foods.

Still, a fruitarian diet can be unhealthfully incomplete. Columbia University's Health Center reports that eating mostly or only fruit can cause deficiencies in essential vitamins and nutrients, including calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin D, B12 and other B-complex vitamins. It can also be too low in protein and fatty acids.  

While some people have reported relief from certain health conditions after following a fruitarian diet for periods of time, it’s unlikely most people could be very healthy on such a diet for an extended length of time. Tom Billings writes on the website Beyond Vegetarianism, that the fruitarian diet "almost never works in the long run. Specifically, credible successful examples--healthy individuals (both physically and mentally healthy) who have strictly followed the diet (i.e., no significant binge-eating, 'cheating,' or 'exceptions') long-term for more than five years--are either rare or non-existent."

It’s unclear how long Kutcher followed the diet for and exactly what he was eating. One fruitarian website says that the motivation for such a diet varies:

To most Fruitarians, the diet is simply a natural progression, from omnivore to vegetarian, vegan, raw foods and finally Fruitarian. To some it is the chosen diet for health reasons. Others follow it because they believe humans were always destined to eat fruit, starting from the Garden of Eden.  The one thing that more Fruitarians mention above all others is a knowingness, an internal feeling that the Fruitarian diet is the diet meant for mankind. ...

Cooked food is an unnatural human creation and is toxic to the body.  Fruitarians eat 100% raw food as close as possible to its natural state.  It is never possible to improve upon nature, a fact that many humans find hard to accept.  When our diet is in harmony with nature, our health excels and our consciousness expands.

Most nutritionists do not recommend extreme diets, as Jill Richardson wrote recently for AlterNet, “Perhaps Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University and author of many books including What To Eat, puts it best. She says, ‘Stay away from weird dietary practices. If they sound weird, they are.’”


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