Humans & Fruit: Symbiotic Partners in Life© David Klein, Ph.D.
While few biology books proclaim symbiosis and none that I've encountered proclaim our own symbiotic role in nature, we are symbionts as are thousands of species. Symbiosis is cooperation between dissimilar organisms for mutual benefit. Symbionts are cooperators in symbiotic living. While the word symbiont is supposed to apply only to the lesser of two cooperating organisms, I prefer to call both of the complementary cooperators symbionts for that is the only nomenclature that makes sense. Let us observe this phenomenon in nature.
We see flowers bloom and put forth tons upon tons of pollen for fertilizing the ovaries of female flowers. Both male and female flowers secrete nectar at their inner base to attract consumption by bees and other insects. In taking such a large reward the bees and insects become contaminated with pollen in the male flowers only to have it removed when they take the nectar of female flowers. The ovaries of female flowers secrete a sticky substance which the bee or insect must come in contact with in taking their nectars. Instances of symbiosis abound in nature.
The above is cited to demonstrate natural cooperativeness or symbiosis. In this case we see that the flowers of plants, both woody and nonwoody, attracted bees and insects to take the free meals provided. This is the way that plants uncannily solved the problem of fertilization, attesting to a high order of intelligence in plant life (which is perceived by few).
Humans do not collect nectar. Even if they did, it would be a very poor food though it sustains bees and insects well. Fertilization in this manner is necessary to certain forms of plant life to insure that seeds be created with which to propagate the species. As we know, plant life is stationary. Once it has created its seed progeny, a new problem arises, that of scattering the seeds so they will flourish. How did this uncanny wisdom in nature accomplish this?
Among the many solutions was that of creating yet another food around the seed or seeds. In attracting consumption of this food by mobile creature, there was the incidental distribution of its seeds to areas where they would not compete for space and raw materials with the parent plant. Of course, that same immense wisdom dictated the creation of seeds that were unappetizing so they would be discarded rather than consumed.
But the greatest wisdom of all, perhaps, was that which created the food package to proportionately meet the precise needs of its eaters: Those creatures which, in taking and becoming dependent on these foods, became the fruit plant's biological symbiont. That this method of seed distribution was successful is evidenced by the thousands of kinds of fruits created around seeds in nature. Fruits attract human senses in nature and are gourmet delights in their natural ripened state, which ensures their survival. Also, fruits contain no poisons in the fresh ripened state whereas almost all plants and seeds contain components which we cannot metabolize, hence are toxic directly or indirectly.
Fruits in nature are in a predigested form when they ripen. Fruits ripen when their seeds are at a mature stage ready for reproduction. When fruits ripen, they change to brilliant colors and emit seductive fragrances to attract consumption from a biological symbiont. The tree, stalk or vine is rewarded in that its seeds are distributed, thus perpetuating its kind. They are beautiful to behold and emit captivating aromas and fragrances. This makes them irresistibly attractive to their biological symbionts. If all the water and fiber are removed from most of these fruits, the predigested carbohydrates are almost all the same, about 350 calories per 100 grams on average, more than enough to meet the energy needs of biological symbionts. This is about 88% of solids.
In like manner fruits supply from 4 to 8 grams of amino acids per 100 grams, almost every one of them with all the essential amino acids in about the proportions that humans require, plus, of course, other amino acids. The average amino acid content is about the same as mother's milk for a growing baby. The average is about 6% of solids. When sufficient calories have been consumed to meet caloric needs, intake is almost double our actual daily amino acid shortfall from recycling.
Further, the fatty acids from almost all fruits other than avocados and olives constitute about 1% to 5% of solids other than fiber. These fatty acids are liberal in their supply of the essential fatty acids. The average fatty acid content of fruits is about 2%.
But, importantly, fruits are rich in mineral matter in the most utilizable form in all nature! Of its solids about 3% are minerals including, of course, ample calcium to meet our needs if we do not eat more than 20% acid-forming foods and if we do not cook and derange fruit nutrients.
Of the labeled macronutrients there are vitamins which are really micronutrients, so little as not to be ordinarily measurable. A year of the RDAs for vitamins would not fill a sewing thimble! Yet fruits supply many multiples of the RDAs of vitamins in almost every instance. For instance, vitamin C in fruits sufficient to meet our caloric needs is about ten times as much, on average, as the RDA for it.
As humans developed exclusively on fruits, they failed to develop water drinking faculties. Those on the fruit diet have 60% to 70% less need for water than those on the conventional diet, primarily because pathogens require inordinate amounts of water to hold them in suspension and carry them out of the body. Fruits supply ample water in its purest form to meet our needs. Fruitarians do not normally drink water but make as many trips to the urinal as anyone.
As a last consideration, fruits are alkaline in their metabolic end products. The body readily excretes excess alkalis whereas it must neutralize objectionable acids and excrete them if able. (Arthritis, bursitis, rheumatism, gout and yet other problems are caused by the body's inability to excrete base salts from acid neutralization, usually calcium salts. For instance the uric acid of meats are neutralized into calcium urate crystals because we do not secrete the enzyme, uricase, as carnivores do. These salts have an affinity for cartilage in joints. Also having this affinity are the acid end products of grains, oxalic acids in vegetables like spinach, chard, beets and lamb's quarter, most cooked foods, and meats.)
We are biological symbionts of fruit-bearing plants and in nature would eat very little besides fruits. Despite all this, there's no particular harm in eating green leafy vegetables, stalks, stems and their fresh juices in the raw state. Even some steaming or conservative cooking of tubers, stalks, stems, roots, corns and selected legumes and grains (preferably sprouted), are not sufficiently deleterious to seriously harm our health. Of course, there are some toxic results from eating all this cooked fare and we're better off without them. Yet, I repeat, there is no great harm in their consumption relative to what is suffered from conventional fare.
When ripened, fruits convert their carbohydrate components into glucose and fructose, simple sugars we can use without further digestion. Their enzymes convert their proteins into amino acids and their fats into fatty acids and glycerols. Thus, when we eat fruits, all we need do is savor their goodness. The fruit portions, that is, mesocarps, were specifically compounded to attract biological symbionts. Fruits perfectly meet their nutrient needs with predigested nutrients. For humans, no other food compares with fruits in satisfying all needs including, of course, our requirement for delicious soul-exalting fare.
Are we a species of fruit-eaters? I'm sure that you will agree through your own senses that fruits would be your primary food in a state of nature. Would you, in nature, relish ripe grapes, peaches, melons, bananas, apples, plums, oranges, mangoes, avocados, tomatoes, figs, berries and the thousands of other fruits? Would fruits attract your eye, tantalize your sense of smell, and be a gustatory delight in their raw natural ripe state? Would you prefer anything that occurs in nature to a juicy sweet watermelon? Man has always had a love affair going with fruits. Even through all his perversions, he has continued to relish fruits.
Fruits are the natural food of humans and the only food category ideally suited to all their faculties. This does not mean we should eat fruits totally and exclusively in our present circumstances, but it does mean that, in nature, that's all we ate as attested to by anthropological evidence scientists have uncovered, notably Dr. Alan Walker of Johns Hopkins University.
Fruits really have it all; all that it took to make us into superb human beings; all that is required to sustain us in a healthy state insofar as food contributes to this condition; and all that we need to live a long, rewarding and happy life.
Conclusions and Observations
That we are biologically fruitarians is an inescapable conclusion on every count that we can relevantly and validly cite. What does this mean in practical application? Almost everyone you meet will condemn fruitarian fare. Almost everyone thinks from the standpoint that sickness is inevitable and must be prevented whereas, in fact, diseases simply will not occur unless we cause them, either through deficiencies or intoxications or both. If you eat 70% to 80% fruits and the balance in leafy green salads along with conservatively cooked tubers, roots and even grain products along with some raw nuts and seeds, you will not significantly or even noticeably impair yourself assuming, of course, that your other practices are good.