Why Single-Food Diets Do Not Work

Last week, a teenage girl was rushed to the hospital after only eating chicken nuggets for 15 years; she was diagnosed with anaemia.

While most people weren't surprised that a chicken nugget-only diet would lead to health problems, it turns out that any single-food diet is problematic.

According to a Stanford University nutrition consultant, choosing to eat only one fruit, vegetable, or grain would eventually lead to organ failure.

"No single vegetable or legume has all nine essential amino acids humans need to build the proteins that make up our muscles," Jo Ann Hattner said.

A meat-only diet wouldn't work either, since your body needs carbohydrates to store energy. Without carbohydrates, the body starts breaking down muscles.

And a carb-only diet wouldn't work, since a lack of vitamin C could lead to scurvy.

The one exception? Humans could potentially live off breast milk. "Mother's milk is a complete food," Hattner said. "We may add some solid foods to an infant's diet in the first year of life to provide more iron and other nutrients, but there is a little bit of everything in human milk."

The only problem is finding someone willing to supply enough breast milk for an adult, and getting over the ick factor that comes with it. People have done it before, but a suitable alternative might be yogurt, Hattner says.

The Daily Byte is a regular column dedicated to covering interesting food news and trends across the country. Click here for previous columns.