Edited and Published by Wellness Monster Stacie
From his parenting skills to how he treated his business partners, Steve Jobs was one of the most controversial celebrities in recent years. His odd or different behavior also extended to what he ate (or didn’t eat) as well. According to Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs, Jobs had some unique eating habits often bouncing back and forth between veganism and fruitarianism. While healthful in concept, both are considered controversial.
The Picky Eater
There were times in Job’s life when he would only eat one or two foods for weeks at a time. There was his apple and carrots phase which caused him to acquire an orange hue to his skin. Of course, no one would argue that apples and carrots are unhealthy. However, “eating them alone is unwise,” says dietitian Elisa Zied.
“Although apples and carrots are healthful and provide carbohydrates, they have very little protein — unlike fat and carbohydrates, protein can’t be stored in the body, so it’s important to consume enough protein rich foods each day,” explains Zied.
During this phase, Jobs was most likely not eating enough fat either.
“Without enough dietary fat, your body’s fat stores can become depleted,” Zied explains. “Your skin may suffer, you may feel more cold more often, and your organs and body tissues may be more vulnerable against injury — especially risky for those with chronic illness.” (https://www.nbcnews.com/healthmain/strange-eating-habits-steve-jobs-119434)
The Fruitarian Champ
Jobs’ time spent as a fruitarian is pretty well documented. He was even inspired to name his company because of it. While similar to veganism, a true fruitarian will only eat fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables and grains but no products made from animals. These items are well-known healthy food choices, but chances are also very good that Jobs didn’t eat enough dietary fat unless he ate large quantities of nuts and seeds. Fruitarians are often deficient in nutrients including vitamin B-12, vitamin D, iron, zinc, calcium, iodine, omega-3 fatty acids and some essential amino acids. (https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/differences-between-fruitarians-vegans-4207.html)
A fruitarian’s diet usually consists of about 75 percent fruit and is restrictive as they only eat raw foods. While they do eat grains and vegetables, they are strict about what they eat in order to not harm the plant where they come from. They can also suffer from tooth decay too due to the high sugar intake from some fruits like apples and high acid from other fruits like oranges.
Not Smelling of Roses
It was Jobs’ dedication to both vegan eating and fruitarianism that got the attention of his employees, and not in a good way. Jobs believed that his diet ridded his body from excess mucus which in turn helped him to be “stink free.” According to Isaacson’s book, Jobs was convinced that he didn’t need to shower often or wear deodorant because of his diet, but many of his co-workers would beg to disagree. As it turns out, the lack of complete proteins in these types of diets can actually slow down the body’s natural detoxification process says J.J. Virgin, co-star of TLC’s Freaky Eaters. However, J.J. does agree that these diets can reduce mucus. (https://www.nbcnews.com/healthmain/strange-eating-habits-steve-jobs-119434)
Fasting One’s Way to Euphoria
Jobs was also known for fasting from time to time in hopes of creating feelings of euphoria or ecstasy. Zied says that when one is fasting, the body will create small chemicals called ketones which are sort of a substitute for glucose.
“If your body makes more ketones than it needs to create energy, a dangerous condition called ketosis develops,” Zied says. “This increases the loss of sodium and water from the body and can contribute to nausea, weakness, fatigue.”
A Life-Extending Cure?
Other controversial things about Jobs diet include the notion that Jobs lived over 30 years after developing pancreatic cancer thanks to his diet. Dr. John McDougall assumes that Jobs developed his cancer a number of years before it was diagnosed, but it was his dedication to fruitarianism that helped extend his life. Dr. Kaayla T. Daniel disagrees with him about this idea.
“None of us, of course, can say for certain what caused the pancreatic cancer that led to Steve Jobs’ death, or what, if anything could have saved him,” says Daniel. “Dietary, lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors all must have come into play. But McDougall’s failure to even consider the role that Jobs’ vegan diet — and frequent fruitarianism — may have played in his death is unhelpful at best and irresponsible at worst.” (https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/soy-alert/veganthink-dr-john-mcdougall-explains-the-death-of-steve-jobs/) She points out that Job’s heavy intake of fruit juice was likely a factor in Jobs’ cancer since fruit juice taken in large quantities can greatly stress the liver and pancreas.
The Verdict Awaits
The verdict is still out on whether or not Jobs’ diet was a healthy one. One thing is for sure – actor Ashton Kutcher isn’t a fan. While preparing for playing the icon for the movie Jobs, Kutcher adopted the fruitarim lifestyle and ended up in the hospital.
“First of all, the fruitarian diet can lead to, like, some severe issues. I ended up in the hospital like two days before we started shooting the movie. I was, like, doubled over in pain,” Kutcher said at the time. (http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/01/29/steve-jobs-fruitarian-diet-lands-ashton-kutcher-in-the-hospital/)
NBC News [https://www.nbcnews.com/healthmain/strange-eating-habits-steve-jobs-119434]
Time Magazine [http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/01/29/steve-jobs-fruitarian-diet-lands-ashton-kutcher-in-the-hospital/]
Steve Jobs wax figure at Madame Tussauds wax museum in Istanbul. [ID 102591980 © Grey82 – Dreamstime.com]
Fruits and Vegetables. Source, fresh. [ID 17655856 © R. Gino Santa Maria / Shutterfree, Llc – Dreamstime.com]
Ball-and-stick model of the acetone molecule, C3H6O. [By Ben Mills (Benjah-bmm27) – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Acetone-3D-balls.png]