• Karen Knowler is “The Raw Food Coach” and has been dubbed “The world’s premier raw food coach”. A published author, popular speaker, raw food coach, chef and teacher, as well as trainer to the trainers, Karen has inspired millions of people around the world to experience the power of raw and living foods through her web site, books and TV appearances and has trained hundreds of raw food coaches, teachers and professionals worldwide.

    Karen is known for her “easy, simple and fun” approach to both food and business, as much as her deep insight, compassion and wisdom. Karen is former Managing Director of The Fresh Network, the UK's Raw and Living Foods organisation, founder and former editor of Get Fresh! magazine, founder and sole organiser of the Fresh Festival and author of a multitude of life-changing books, eBooks and articles, including “Raw Food Made Simple” and her latest book “Eat Right for Your Personality Type” published by Hay House in March 2012. Karen has been involved in the field of raw food since 1993 and is based in Hertfordshire, England.

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July 03, 2008



There is another condition to consider - what we call in the Taymount clinic the "Food Baby". This is where eating fruits or starches can immediately make the abdomen or stomach swell to the size of a fairly advanced pregnancy. This is SIBO - Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. It means that the bacteria that normally inhabit the large bowel without causing problems, have crept into the small intestine and are gorging on the sugars and carbohydrates available there. They cause gaseous output which swells the belly and causes severe discomfort and the Food Baby symptoms. If this sounds like you, you need a hydrogen breath test to confirm and specific SIBO treatment protocols. See a digestive health expert for more advice. Try for more help on this issue.

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If I had no personal experience I would not believe this news)

But I have the problem that Karen used to have.
I gained on raw diet +10 kg...without overdoing bananas or nuts...This overweight still there(2 yrars had passed)
I was eating fruits mostly, but salads also, but it was periods when I'v eaten whole fruits only, and this "bloated" effect makes me so sad although Iv visited gym everyday(
Now I'm staying in Thailand and so much mangos here, durians and other high sugar fruits..I stopped eating them...But as it turned out I cannot eat veggis and greens I'm trying to reduce fruits as much as I can..

Candida is quickly becoming one of the most controversial health topics of our time


Heather, Phyllis, Autumn, Jennybourne, Claireelis: you are all talking about bloating. The article is talking about fat distribution. Tooooootally different things. I have almost no fat on my abs/midsection, but get the fruit bloat like whoa and look 5 months pregnant, so I feel you there... I get it with plenty of other foods too.


I am 65, vegan full of energy and quite fit. I do a part-time job that is physical. My health is good. Trying to achieve an 80/20 alkali diet for a variety of reasons, so have been beginning the day with a large fruity breakfast. Have been doing this for about three weeks and now look pregnant. I stood in the shower and howled! Now finding it has not gone down by the next morning either. Think I will revert to my usual diet which has been quite balanced and low fat. Always had a bit of a belly, but this is awful and friends have been quite rude, which is no good for morale as they think it must be secret fries and cream cakes and so on.
Found the comments helpful, as I could not think that something as good as fruit was the culpit, but now I begin to wonder as there is a connection with my changes.

Phyllis  Johnson

All this is quite interesting. I am having a hard time trying to fit this into my eating plan. I am eating raw, but I am having this berry belly thing. My blender broke last week, so I did not have my daily fruit smoothies. Today I had a smoothie with bananas, an mangos and boy did my belly get big. I took nuts out of my diet so I juice fruits and green veggies daily. So I am not sure on what to eat, but my belly is not moving to a flat position.

Alex Georgiou

Hi. First of all, thank you for my Birthday wish Karen!
This issue with fruit; I love it YET I have candida, sebborhoeic dermatitus, recovering from polystic ovaries, reynaulds etc....!!! I want to take this opportunity to ask some q's!
I've read that eating raw cures Candida- I eat about 75% raw most of the time- I eat fish and oatcakes, however fruit, as does stress increases my body temperature and aggravates my skin. Acidic fruits are probably more damaging than alkali fruits and should be taken in to consideration; like 80% of our diet should be more alkaline forming. Do you know of people who have recovered from Candida on a 70% ish raw food diet, and how long it took them?
I have been predominantly avoiding a Western diet for several years, with 'slip ups'!



I think its important to note here that the research is with fructose, not fruit or vegetables themselves. This only applies to refined isolated fructose, fructose-corn syrups and juices. (Yes juices!) The key issue it seems is fibre. When fibre is removed from foods the liver cannot handle fructose, which it then processes like alcohol. This is causing a mass epidemic of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and obesity.

Apparently the lack of fibre, which normally provides a function of triggerring leptins which let the body know it is full. When the body processes fructose without fibre, the leptins are not recognised or not triggerring the feeling of fullness. This causes the body then to overconsume, to search for the missing trigger, causing the body to store more fat, as well as imbalancing blood sugar levels.

The blood sugar level issue is another key here. When a high fat diet is combined with a high sugar diet, and especially when these sugars are refined (ie. have no fibre), the body has to secrete insulin at an increased rate, because the insulin is not able to usher the sugar into the cells from the blood stream. This emergency, calls not only on the pancreas, but also on the adrenal glands as a stress response. Their production of cortisol (the stress reponse hormone) is well known to cause weight to be gained around the centre area. This is also becoming the primary cause of diabetes type 2, which is often associated with the western high fat high sugar diet.

When fat intake is reduced from the diet, blood lipid levels reduce. This means that the fat is no longer coating the insulin receptor sites, so the sugar can be effectively ushered into the cells. HOWEVER, this does not mean that reducing fat intake alone will prevent this stress reaction. Sugar intake is only ok when fibre is present. Although the stress response will be reduced significantly, the stress response will still be present whilst the body is rushed to produce excess insulin due to lack of fibre.

So what are the keys here?

* Stay away from refined fructose in the form of sugar (which is about 50% fructose), fructose-corn syrup, and juices. The research has even been shown to produce this effect in carrot juice!!!
*Reduce overall fat intake, which should be a dietary recommendation overall anyway. 10-15% should be the maximum intake.
*Another point about fat is that with a high-fat, high sugar diet, the chances of bloating (which can give the appearance of being fat), to to the gas production, since fats take significantly longer to digest, and are also absorbed further down the digestive tract. Its best to eat fruit at least 30-60 minutes before a high fat meal.
*Eat only whole vegetables and whole fruits.
*Another key point I ought to mention is about exercise. As Karen said, sugar that isnt use will be stored as fat, since the body cannot store carbohydrates (except for small stores of glycogen in muscles). A sedentary lifestyle is a major problem in our society. A healthy raw diet, is not a substitute for exercise. Always make sure you earn your meals.

It seems to be just another one of mother natures ways of living as we were designed to.

If you are interested, theres a detailed introduction to this research that was in a radio interview several months ago, with Robert Lustig, who has pioneered some of this research, that you can read at:

I hope this helps clear things up.

Take Care

Adam x

Raw Food Diet

Whatever next! The government tells us to eat at least 5 fruit and veg a day, raw food enthusiasts tell us to eat as much fruit as we can. Now we're told that too much fruit can make you fat!
I must admit to having a bit of extra poundage in the midriff and I eat a high raw low fat diet, but the last thing I would consider is cutting back on fruit.
I think the key here is the ratio of calories consumed (ie what you eat) and energy expended (how much exercise you get).
Aslo, I guess that high calorie fruits like bananas and mangoes should be taken in moderation if you're suffering from 'berry belly'

Karen Knowler

Lots of comments and feedback - great! Thank you : )

I think what I am hearing (as expected) is that there is no one-size-fits-all statement that can be made here; it's essentially about excess, and I think that is different things for different people and this can differ from day to day as much as person to person. Fruit is such a powerful food that it can exacerbate any existing issues, short term or otherwise. Also fruit comsumption absolutely should change according to level of activity.

I'd like to think that the take-away from this discussion is more awareness around fruit and each person as an individual; to see what works for you and how your body responds. Not forgetting that unripe fruit is a very different entity than ripe; something commonly overlooked (unripe fruit is acidic in the body).

PS: Yes, I do know about food combining (one would hope so anyway!). I posted about it on here a few months back. You can find it under Coaching | Your Questions Answered.

Happy fruit eating (in moderation) : )

In the words of Mr Clement: Be well!

Mary Laredo

This report is not complete. It's not the high fruit content in the diet that contributes to so-called "berry belly" - it's high fat in combination with high fruit. Once again fruit gets an undeserved bad rep when it is actually the healthiest of all the food groups, as long as fat intake is not excessive. Unfortunately, many raw food diets are extremely high in fat with an abundance of nuts, avocados & the like. The culprit is NOT the fruit - it's the excessive fat.


Hello There,

This is my first time commenting here. You are so pretty by the way.

I do happen to be high fruit, but low fat. So I'm not really on a mixed diet at all (except for lots of greens), but thought I would comment.

Do you know about food combining?

Although I saw in one of your youtube videos that you were putting dates in almond milk, so it seems you haven't studied (or you just don't believe in) food combining principles? Just curious what you think really.

For me I only get a belly if I eat salt (= bloating & puffiness) (I prefer my salt/sodium intake to be filtered through the plant kingdom) or ignore simple food combining principles. Fruit (& sometimes fasting) lets my body get back to normal when I start dabbling in raw gourmet.

Like this book advert to the left here (the yellow one) How Much Joy Can You Stand? Loving fruit lets that beautiful grounded joy pour into me not to mention that my stomach is (amazingly, beautifully & was quickly) flatter then it's ever been in my life! Plus that sweet tooth we all seem to be born with is satisfied in a healthful conscious way.


laara copley-smith

Hi Karen ,

Amazing you say `mango belly`
As Indian and pakistan mangos are in season .......a favorite fruit for me as they are far superior to many other mangos.
Yet the last number of weeks as I enjoy their season I have commented on ` mango belly` and as cherries are so lovely at present.....Cherry belly..
Too much of a lovely thing I hear the universe saying.


A raw guy

Does this article mention anything about exercise and high fruits. Non active fruit bingers will get the "belly" if sitting on the couch all day, don't you think?
What is your take on fruitarianism or at least high fruit diets and have you ever experimented with it?

Hi Karen
When I was away in Spain the hotel fed me masses of fruit(very cold as well) and my stomach swelled up especially with pineapple. Tropical fruit is very yin, which is very cooling and the energy rises up which makes the belly swell. "Berry Belly"


it's really possible, although i snack all day on fruit and only get a blown up belly shortly afterwards if i eat a lot (e.g. 6 dates in a row) - otherwise no problem with fruits as such. i would like to loose a little weight and maybe my most calories from fruit diet is what is keeping me back - otherwise i'm happy, healthy and love exercising. but by leaving out fruit that would mean getting most calories from fats - i'm not sure if that's a good thing. i know i really crave fruit on a 'fatty' food day and i am also more lethargic and fell less happy and healthy on those days. hardly scientific i know... most likely is that people see fruit as healthy, forget it also contains calories and think they can have as much as they want. i am currently still convinced of the calories in < calories out for weight loss. but after a few months of my current regimin if it doesn't work out i will give less fruit a try.

Neil Porter

The bottom line here has to be the advice given by Dr Brian Clement. Don't overdo the fruit.
He has been banging on about this for some time now.
As he says. Sugar is sugar, salt is salt. etc etc. It doesn't really matter how you dress it up, and what packaging it comes in. It is, what it is.

As I am a 'dabbler' in 'high fruit' right now, I do find this interesting, as I wouldn't have thought that a high-fruit diet (within a 100% raw diet anyway) would lead to weight gain. The high-fruit diet I'm working from right now delivers around 2000 calories over huge meals (eg evening a three-courser of mostly fruit, with salad and a tiny bit of fat). Now I can't actually get through the quantities recommended (not many women could I would have thought) so probably take in around 1500 calories, and that shouldn't be excess to fuel requirements.


That's a very good point about listening to your body, Karen.

Everyone is different. Some people are able to eat a lot of fruit and lose weight, while others find it more challenging. I know you're a big proponent of paying attention to your individual situation and signals. That's good advice for people.

Regardless of what one eats, if energy consumed > energy expended, it's going to be stored somewhere. (Imagine continually fueling a car without driving it anywhere.)

Some "get into trouble" with other calorically dense foods like nuts.

Regular exercise is also an important part of overall health. I read in "Fantastic Voyage" (by Kurzweil) of a study that showed people who were thin but sedentary were more at risk for certain health issues than those who were overweight yet had regular exercise.

I would've included a reference, but someone has borrowed my copy of the book and not returned it. :-)


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