Eating a Super-Clean, Plant-Heavy, Whole Foods Diet? You Might Have Fruit Belly!

fruitbelly3d copy 320A little discussed phenomenon is disturbingly common among health-conscious eaters, especially those diligent about eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains. Granted, not very primal, but even super-primal-aligned folks suffer from digestive difficulties related to eating their abundant servings of veggies and fruit. The condition is called Fruit Belly—a bloated cranky, gurgly, and visceral-fat-hoarding abdomen that grows (or refuses to budge) despite your best efforts to eat healthy, and even despite your success at sculpting the rest of your body.

Romy Dollé is a Swiss author, chef, supermom and companion to sports trainer extraordinaire Dave Dollé. After suffering from the condition herself despite a super healthy, primal-aligned diet, she studied Fruit Belly extensively and prepared a fabulous resource to identify and help readers overcome this annoying and poorly-understood condition. Her comprehensive book, Früchte-Wampe, published in German, was a hit in Europe, so we have translated it and delivered it to the US market, with this post marking the official launch. Don’t miss the special offer I have for you below. But before we get that, a few more details about this fantastic new book.

A flat stomach isn’t just a matter of having low body fat; it also signals efficient digestion, optimal nutrition, and an eating regime that pleases our gut microbiome. And as many of us have experienced (but may be loath to admit), even a seemingly top-notch diet can lead to imperfect digestion and a poofy stomach that, while not an imminent danger, certainly is uncomfortable.

The reasons that healthy fruits and vegetables and other lauded nutritious foods can cause digestive problems might surprise you. First, while fruit is natural and primal and all that, we tend to overdo it these days, with year-round consumption of highly cultivated fruits that are larger and sweeter than the fibrous wild fruits our ancestors ate during narrow ripening seasons. Liberal fruit consumption can easily deliver an overdose of fructose (especially for those allowing fructose-laden fruit juices, processed beverages, and junk foods into the picture), which causes inflammation, bloating, and digestive distress.

Secondly, raw vegetables, while among the most nutritious foods on the planet, can ferment and produce gas during the digestive process. Romy actually recommends throwing cooked veggies into your smoothies to ease digestion. She also reminded listeners on her recent podcast (covering Fruit Belly topics, but extending into a wide range of fitness and health concepts, as she was joined by expert fitness trainer and world class sprinter Dave Dollé) that it’s important to chew our food slowly (or sip those smoothies slowly) to optimize the digestive process. Low-fat dairy products also get called out as contributing factors to digestive bloating. Of course, as we have discussed at length in the primal scene, the potential digestive problems from eating healthy plant foods are exacerbated by the consumption of pro-inflammatory gluten and other grains.

Read an excerpt of Fruit Belly

Download the PDF excerpt above here (large PDF).

So Romy is here to the rescue, offering a much-needed road map of the inner workings of your stomach and immediate relief in the form of a 4-Day Quick Fix to quickly eliminate the bloating and set the foundation for a long-term solution. Romy is the perfect guide for the journey. An entrepreneur, devoted mother, and MBA-wielding, Swiss-certified banker, Romy spent her youth in a small mountain village (where food was picked fresh, meals were left unadulterated, and digestion was superb). Her youth is starkly contrasted by her later city-dweller experiences working in a high-powered career (where her mood and physical wellbeing quickly took a nosedive). A labor of love, Fruit Belly is the culmination of Romy’s own research and experiences as she sought to restore her health and retrace the wisdom of her childhood roots.

Along with ushering you towards obvious physical improvements, the guidance in this book will help you repair your relationship with your midsection—which is more often the subject of our frustration than our appreciation (let’s face it, our stomachs put up with a lot from us). Fruit Belly shatters the myths surrounding seemingly healthy diet foods, explaining how they can actually lead to bloating and a less-than-shapely abdomen—hence the term “fruit belly.” You’ll find structured advice for what to eat and what to avoid, science-based explanations for how different foods affect the size and health of your midsection, and must-have insights about why a seemingly healthy diet still might not produce a flat stomach. And to top it off, Romy includes an assortment of tantalizing, primal-inspired, belly-friendly recipes to whet your appetite.

So, while Fruit Belly would make a fine gift for friends and family who aren’t fully on the primal bandwagon yet (especially those who, still under the spell of low-fat dietary guidance, can’t figure out why their Jamba Juice smoothies aren’t slimming them down), the seasoned primal eater has plenty to gain from this work as well. Fruit Belly provides a comprehensive and holistic game plan for your midsection, putting you on the path towards a happier belly—no matter where your dietary starting point is.

Here’s what you can expect from Fruit Belly:

  • Delicious, affordable recipes to ease digestive distress and boost fat loss
  • Menu guidelines for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • A lifestyle plan to optimize sleep, workouts, and stress management
  • A photo-illustrated roster of simple core-strengthening stretches and exercises (that you can do almost anywhere!)
  • The “Four-Day Quick Fix” to relieve bloating and achieve immediate improvement in your midsection
  • Food intolerance tests and protocols
  • Easy-to-understand explanations for how the human body digests and distributes nutrients in food
  • An exploration of the biochemical connection between mind and body that drives our sense of satiety
  • Inspiring testimonials

Per Mark’s Daily Apple tradition, I’ve put together an exciting limited-time offer for this book release. It expires on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 11:59 pm PST.

Limited-Time Offer

Order one or more copies of Fruit Belly from in any format (Kindle, audio, physical) by Oct. 6, and fill out this form to get all three of the following bonus items for free:

1. $10 Gift Certificate to


You can use this $10 gift certificate to purchase anything at Might I suggest Primal Probiotics—the ultimate probiotic blend that nourishes healthy intestinal bacteria and enhances digestion? This $10 gift certificate essentially covers the majority of the cost of the book!

2. Live webinar with Fruit Belly author Romy Dollé

Rome Dolle Headshot 320It’s one thing to read the book, but it’s another to get personal, real-time access to the expert herself! Want to go beyond the pages of Fruit Belly and receive a chance to have your personal diet and fitness questions answered by an authority? Purchase your copy of Fruit Belly by October 6th and gain exclusive access to a live online Q&A with Romy Dollé. She’ll go over the finer points of implementing her time-tested “no-bloat” protocol to help you optimize your health and shrink your waistline in the process.

That’s right. If you purchase your copy of Fruit Belly by October 6th, you’ll get the opportunity to ask Romy your questions in real time from the comfort of your own home. Buy a book, get live access to a fitness expert.

How’s that for a bonus?

The event will be held via live streaming Saturday, October 10th at 12:00 pm PST. Grab your copy of Fruit Belly today to receive your link to the event!

3. 6 Foods You Should Be Eating for a Healthy Gut by Mark Sisson


6 Foods You Should Be Eating for a Healthy Gut is about—you guessed it—the specific foods to eat and avoid in order to obtain the healthiest gut possible. Gut health is paramount, as you well know. A healthy gut enables our digestion and immune response, our resistance to allergies and food sensitivities, and it even helps us maintain an even keel by regulating our mood. Without a healthy gut, we can’t truly be healthy, happy, productive or have the body we want. After reading this eBook, you’ll know exactly what to do to get one.

If Fruit Belly shows you how to banish your bloated stomach and remove unwanted belly fat, the 6 Foods eBook provides supplementary advice for folks who enjoy digging even deeper.

That’s it! Three great complementary bonus items, all for free when you grab a copy of Fruit Belly by Oct. 6. Just submit your purchase receipt using this form and we’ll email you all of the freebies in no time. Don’t miss out!

Fine Print:

  • This special bonus offer ends at 11:59 pm, Oct. 6, 2015 (PST).
  • All receipts must be received by 11:59 pm, Oct. 7, 2015 (PST). The forms will stop working on Oct. 8, so be sure to fill out the form and submit your pre-Oct. 7 receipt(s) by then.
  • On an iPhone? You won’t be able to upload your receipt from it, unfortunately. You’ll have to use a computer.
  • You will receive access to the webinar details, the eBook, and your gift certificate via email within 24 hours.
  • Pre-orders will be honored for all bonus offers.
  • Both orders placed online (from any source) and in brick and mortar retail locations will be honored.
  • Both domestic (U.S.) and international orders are eligible for the bonuses.
  • All book formats are eligible, including physical books, audiobooks and digital versions (e.g. Kindle).
  • The gift certificate expires on October 31, 2015, and is valid for a single use on orders valued at $10.01 or more.

Prefer listening to reading? Get an audio recording of this blog post, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast on iTunes for instant access to all past, present and future episodes here.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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38 thoughts on “Eating a Super-Clean, Plant-Heavy, Whole Foods Diet? You Might Have Fruit Belly!”

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  1. Neat, will email this to my yogi friends who are cyclically bloated.

      1. Yeah, when I go to all day yoga events I eat a huge primal breakfast and then I fast. I wince knowing what is to come after the provided lunch, which is typically a mung bean salad, fruit, juice smoothies, tea and some sugary bean flour dessert.

        When I was new the teachers and other students were concerned when I did not eat, fearing a loss of blood sugar balance. They got the message after several classes. The tipping point might have been my “Powered by Bacon” t-shirt and my mug that says, “I’m Drinking Lard”. That, and my lack of a post meal fatigue and clear cognitivism. After lunch I would suggest a 11-minute boat pose, hahaha… sat nam suckers! (No karma for me).

        The “I’m Drinking Lard” mug is available at LuckyPeach’s store.

  2. The great researcher, Denise Minger, who wrote the Primal Blueprint published book “Death By Food Pyramid” has debunked the myth that…”The highly cultivated fruit that are larger, sweeter and less fibrous”.

    Go to her website at and read “Wild and Ancient Fruit: Is it Really Small, Bitter, and Low in Sugar? It is an eye opener.

    I have no fruit in this game. I eat very little of it myself. Just thought it was something worth mentioning.

    1. I don’t eat much fruit either. Never have. More than one piece of fruit in a single day can give me the trots. I come from a family of people who eat very little fruit for the same reason, so it could be somewhat hereditary. I can go weeks on end without even thinking about fruit, although I do eat a lot of veggies. However, fruit has never given me a fat, bloated stomach. It’s only grain products that can do that to me. For many people it could be the combination of the two that’s problematic. Or you could be thinking it’s the fruit when it’s really the grains.

    2. Thank you for your comment; I found the article very educational. It comes to show that one must remain vigilant and do his homework, instead of excepting everything he hears and/or read verbatim – as obvious as that sound.

      The link you provided is broken; here’s the direct link:

  3. Yep. See a whole lot of this in clinic: folks showing up thinking they’re “eating clean” and wondering why their raw food and smoothie habit isn’t working out so well.

    Chinese Medicine has long cautioned that too much raw, cold food can impede digestion and weaken the digestive organs (and thus cause more systemic damage over time). We advise cooking most veggies, at least lightly, and taking it easy on sweets–including fruit.

    Glad to see someone else out there recommending that folks cook their smoothies…and dial in the fruit and raw stuff!

    1. I concur. That was the first thing my acupuncturist said to me. Drop the morning smoothies and especially bananas – too cooling and dampening. Only cooked food. Add spices like ginger and chilies. Wow, what a difference. I noticed it immediately. Firmer stools, less phlegm, more energy. I think the raw food and smoothie crowd are off the mark here. Most people start with weakened digestion and are running too cool and damp already. All that raw, cooling, dampening food is compounding their problems. In Chines medicine, cooking is considered pre-digestion and is believed to add energenic value to the food. My personal experience says that is pretty much accurate.

      1. What exactly is meant by “cooling and dampening” foods? Also, do you not eat salads or ANY raw foods? Or was this just a treatment for a health issue that has since been resolved?

        1. I moderate my salads and raw foods intake based upon how my body is feeling and what the weather is like. I never eat cold foods in the morning though. Most people shouldn’t really.

          Cooling foods are food that literally cool your body. Dampening foods are foods that create phlegm and dampness in the body. In Chinese medicine they talk about foods as either cooling or warming and dampening or drying. I naturally run damp and cool, and I live in a cool damp climate, so I’m constantly combating that by focusing on warming and drying foods. I feel my absolute best in the desert….but there’s no waves there.

          I know it sounds like bull ( I thought it was at first) but once you get in tune with how foods affect you under the Chinese approach, you can easily detect the energenic value of the foods you eat. Bananas are very dampening. One banana and my nose starts running. But that’s the number one choice of fruit for smoothies, which skew heavily damp and cool. So most morning smoothie drinkers, unless they naturally run warm and dry, and really making things hard on their digestion and energy levels.

          The easiest test is this. For one day, skip all dampening and cooling foods and eat only warm cooked food at breakfast. Just one day. Then see how you feel. I believe most people would see a clear improvement in energy, phlegm and the quality of their digestion and stools. However, a person who has an abundance of heat and/or dry, would feel worse.

          It really only takes one day.

          It’s hard to self diagnose yourself (yin or yang deficient) because the Chinese system is an ancient system so it uses a lot of pre-scientific terms and metaphoric phrases to describe things that is hard to get used to.

          This link is a good primer.

        2. TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on a system of energetics. Chi is energy, anything we ingest ultimately would give the body energy rather than deplete it. So everything that is picked, plucked, milked, caught, and shot is by nature cooling or warming.
          As yin and yang are primal to TCM, and perhaps you’ve heard of them I’ll give a basic overview.
          The concepts of yin and yang were devised by the ancient Chinese as a method of defining and explaining the nature of all phenomena. They represent the Chinese conception of nature and were fundamental to all natural sciences. Not only medicine, but astronomy, calendrical science, geography, and agriculture made extensive use of and were strongly influenced by these theories. Yin and Yang have a major role in the development of medical theory and represents the mainstay of physiology, pathology, pattern identification, and treatment.

          The theory of yin and yang, derived from ongoing observations of nature, describes the way phenomena naturally group in pairs of opposites- heaven and earth, sun and moon, night and day, winter and summer, male and female, up and down, warm and cool, inside and outside, and movement and stasis. These pairs are also mutual compliments.

          The notion that yin and yang are rooted in each other means that they are mutually indispensable and engendering. Yin and yang are interdependent. Yin exists by virtue of yang and yang exists by virtue of yin.

          Yin and yang counterbalance each other. A deficit of one naturally leads to a surfeit of the other, while a surfeit of one will weaken the other. The natural flux of yin and yang refers to their normal relationship in the human body, which is one of constant fluctuation, rather than rigid, immutable balance.

          Chinese say supplementing, we say strengthening and building. They say middle burner, we say digestion. The stomach is seen as fire. To keep a fire burning we give it seasoned wood, as damp wood won’t burn properly. To extinguish the fire we dump water on it. If we transfer that to food, we want food that keeps the fire burning, we don’t want to “dampen” our digestion or middle burner. So yes, raw fruit, salad, smoothies, iced tea and coffee……….. are extinguishing or dampening our fire.

          One size doesn’t fit all. Some need more cooling foods, while others need more warming foods. We have the breaking down, assimilating and eliminating of food. Chinese will go to “supplementing” or the breaking down phase first before addressing the other two. Raw and cold foods are dampening to the breaking down stage, thus affecting the others.

          I live in the northeast. In the winter when it’s cold and icy I’m apt to cook lamb stew or lamb shanks low and slow, keeping me warm. This summer we had lots of heat, I can handle some salad. Twice a day every day, no thanks. Cold smoothies every morning, no thanks. In the spring and summer I’m working on building and strengthening.

          The same chi that is used for digestion is also used to expel pathogens. You don’t want to overburden digestion, so you can free up the chi to expel the pathogens.

          I find most folks today need help with strengthening and building. Many people with chronic infections, co-infections, adrenal exhaustion, digestive disorders etc.

          I tried to open a window and give a glimpse. Hope it was helpful.

    2. i am Chinese; when i grew up, a meal usually consisted of:

      . some meat/protein dish(es) (meat or seafood or egg)
      . some veg. (very quick sauteed)
      . some soup (veg., meat, seafood)
      . white rice
      . fruits were typically consumed AFTER the meal (as dessert)

      yes, it is believed that fruits & uncook veg are too “cold” for digestion

      when i tried to eat more salads, i get (1) sore jaws & teeth (from all the chewing) (2) mild cramps + constipation.

      + i never once had any desire or craving for “rabbit food.” i just don’t enjoy it. why bother.

      so now i stay w/ how my grandparents ate. (she also cooked with lard) it works for me.


  4. Just made the purchase. I do try to follow a primal diet but I eat a banana every morning and I eat cantaloupe, apples and berries … I’ll have to make another change in the way I eat … and will also have to deal with my wife being upset at me lol. I am in good shape all over except I have visceral fat around the belly. When I was doing IF and interval training (before I got injured) the situation was much better but not perfect. Looking forward to reading the book, I’ll start the four day fast track experiment right away.

  5. No problem wth FB.I do think the best advice is to eat slowly and chew your food.

  6. Well if you think about it in terms of our ancestors; they did not have access to fruit all year round, it’s seasonal. Same with vegetables. Yet today, were told to eat 9 servings of these per day? So is there any wonder why over-consuming these foods can cause people digestive issues?

    Also consider fruit has fructose, some fruits have more fructose than glucose (like apples). Unhealthy gut bacteria feeds off of fructose. Pancreatic cancer cells / tumors also feed off of fructose by dividing and rapidly multiplying. Fructose has also been linked to belly fat (hence fruit belly), insulin resistance, and fatty liver. Also keep in mind, Steve Jobs (Mr Fruitarian) died of pancreatic cancer. Ashton Kutcher, who in preparation of his movie roll to portray Steve Jobs, also took on a fruitarian diet for a month. He also then landed in the hospital with severe stomach pains 2 days before shooting the show.

    While I do believe fruits and veggies do have their rolls in our diets (especially veggies), we have to consider where we came from in that these foods were not available all year round, especially fruits.

    1. My mom is a hyper responder to fructose. She dropped 300 points off her triglycerides in a couple months by dropping all fruit except berries. Shocking improvement. Her TG are still a bit high but radically improved. Your liver really does like to make fat from fructose. It’s super efficient at it.

  7. I used eat a lot of fruit, not so much now these days — but I always eat it on an empty stomach, and *never* have any problems. This is based on the idea that fruit gets digested in the small intestine. If the stomach is empty, it can go through to the next stop; but if the stomach is not empty, it stagnates and mixes badly with other foods. You may be used to eating fruit/desert after meals, but in my experience, if you stop it, it does not feel good to go back.
    This concept is from the food-separation people (or whatever they’re called). It’s a nice logical explanation — whether there’s a scientific basis for it, I dont know. But I’ll stick with my experience 🙂

  8. I went to the author’s German website and really enjoyed her recipes. The automatic translation to English of free-range chickens to “freewheeling” chickens made me smile. Looking forward to trying this four day quick fix, but I must say, it is quite close to how I eat most of the time.

    1. From this moment forward all free-range chickens in my house will be known as “freewheeling chickens.” Sounds like they’re having a great time living to me!

  9. I can totally relate to this. I was a bloated yogi. I thought I was doing the right thing by drinking a smoothie or a raw mixed juice before a class, and couldn’t understand why I was suffering cramps and worse. Now I’m a primal yogi and so much better for it. Our midweek breakfast is always cooked vegetables – I’ve just posted how we do it if anyone wants to take a look. Our routine is pretty much raw salad once a day, cooked veg twice a day. Not much fruit, just once a day. And often we’ll cook the fruit a little. We’re feeling good. No bloating or discomfort, and my partner stopped taking the acid reflux pill after just 12 days on paleo, woohoo!

  10. I remember listening to the podcast and was keen to get the book. Is it available in electronic format – i.e. kindle? The link goes to Amazon, but there are only the hard copy and audio version available. Is it country specific (I am from Australia)?

    Thanks for a great site!

  11. Hi,

    I can’t see a kindle version in Amazon.

    Is there an electronic version?

  12. She certainly looks like she walks the talk. I have a question to those who avoid raw vegetables and raw fruits and cook everything. What about the enzymes? Cooking destroys them doesn’t it? And enzymes are mighty important for good health too.

    1. You don’t miss the enzymes because the cooking already accomplished what the enzymes were supposed to do.Break down the food. That’s what the raw food crowd misses. Cooking it just pre-digestion for the most part. And some foods are more bioavailable when cooked. Eggs and tomatoes are good examples. Some foods are more bioavailable in raw format.

  13. Wish this was the cause of my bloat, however, I have to cook all veggies and usually don’t have any fruit (nor any of the other non-primal foods). Sigh, going to have to figure it out soon because I don’t like drinking a cup of water or coffee and feeling too full, not to mention any of the other things associated with this.

    1. Just curious, have you looked at what kinds of veggies you’re eating? I had serious problems with bloating, cramping, awful abdominal pain and gas, and eventually realized that a lot of the veggies I was eating, even cooked, were the culprit. Garlic, onions, brussels sprouts, and sugar snap peas are on my no-no list. I also can only eat limited quantities of cauliflower, asparagus, and certain greens. I use garlic and onion in small quantities when cooking, and avoid raw red onion as much as possible, and it’s really helped!

      1. Kinda sounds like a fructose malabsorption issue. The foods you list are mostly high in fructans.
        I have this issue and while I can eat an apple occasionally, I cannot tolerate wheat (fructan) and onions.

        Just my thoughts as I read your post.

        1. I should have specified that was the cause. I had been to see a gastroenterologist that was no help at all, just wanted to give me medication for IBS. I figured out fructose was the problem after some serious elimination and keeping a food diary to figure it out.

  14. ITS ABOUT TIME SOMEONE SAID SOMETHING!!! I get sick and tired of people over emphasizing fruit. Yes it’s good for you and all, I’m happy to learn that too much could be holding you back from your results. The world is about to implode!

  15. As far back as I can remember I have had trouble with fruit and raw veg…people just laugh and think I am being silly when I say I won’t be eating a salad or lots of fruit or hitting the raw veggie and dip tray because it upsets my digestive system so much. I am getting this book as finally someone is addressing it and I don’t feel alone in dealing with this.

  16. Mark, just curious that do you have any little beer belly since you consume 3k-5000kcal per day back then when you relax your abs? ?? since you consume lots of cereal, lots of bread and even drink 6 packs of beer for that calorie and carb fuel during 1970-80s marathoner life with IBS issues…

  17. For fifteen years I meditated upon the amplish belly of ancient Mr. Iyengar, god unto us yoginis. For two of those years I saw Mark’s abs as though from afar, but refused to look, thinking him a young man, and what could the young know of suffering? Now I look down, ten months into paleo and one into fasting, and behold four-sixths of a washboard leaping out from my own belly! Where will it all end? Also: even the comments section here is chock full of great advice (a half dozen Chinese medicine questions I had? Answered here!). I begin, slowly, tentatively, to name myself. Grok? I ask myself? Grok grok? Can grey be grok?

  18. OK so I tried a butter coffee better know as bullet coffee. It tasted good but that’s a lot of fat! It calls for 2 tablespoons of butter a 1 tbs spoon of MCT oil ( I used coconut oil). I see she only has it for 1 day as I would not drink this daily. Like to hear if anybody else has tried it and what they think. I do love my coffee! 🙂

  19. Does anyone know how much chicken liver one is supposed to use for the sweet potato noodles with chicken liver recipe found in the Fruit Belly book (p. 162)? The alternatives arrow points to an empty space where I assume this important part of the recipe should be. I didn’t see the recipe on Romy’s site so can’t get it from there. Thanks!