Fructarians (or 'fruitarians') are a subgroup of vegans who eat only the fruit of plants. This includes not only what one typically thinks of as a "fruit" in the culinary sense such as apples and oranges, but also other foods that are botanically the fruits of flowering plants (that is, the seed-containing reproductive parts), including all berries, nuts, seeds, peppers, tomatoes, squash, beans, peas, grains, etc.
It is important for a fruitarian to take a vitamin-supplement containing vitamin B12. Women who are pregnant or nursing especially need vitamin B12.
By eating only the fruit of a plant, the plant does not have to be killed (when one eats a carrot, which is the root of that plant, the whole carrot plant dies). Fructarians note that, in many cases, eating fruit does the parent plant a favor. Fleshy fruit is "designed" to be eaten by animals and either travel through the animal's digestive tract before it sprouts in a pile of ready-made fertilizer; or, in the case of fruits with cores or pits, to be carried away from the parent plant, eaten, and the core or pit which contains the seeds or is the seed, tossed aside to sprout. Without animals eating fruit, the fruit would not travel far enough away from the parent plant to grow successfully. Many plants depend on animals for seed dispersal.
However, a fruitarian diet is very difficult to follow, and on a long-term basis fruitarians often suffer health problems caused by nutrient deficiency. The high sugar content of their diet can cause diabetic or hypoglycemic-type symptoms, while it is lacking in protein, minerals, and fat-soluble vitamins. Long-term fruitarians are prone to food cravings and consequent binge-eating, either of 'allowed' foods or 'illegal' ones, and they often become addicted to dates (for their high sugar content) and avocados (for their high fat content). Some fruitarians develop a type of eating disorder called
Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computer, was a fruitarian during the 1970s.
"I was actually a fruitarian at that point in time. I ate only fruit. Now I'm a garbage can like everyone else. And we were about three months late in filing a fictitious business name so I threatened to call the company Apple Computer unless someone suggested a more interesting name by five o'clock that day. Hoping to stimulate creativity. And it stuck. And that's why we're called Apple."