Vegan Influencer Dies of Starvation

( – For years, Russian blogger Zhanna Samsonova made a living promoting diet advice on social media. Starting out as a vegetarian, she moved on to more and more extreme diets — and eventually cut her menu down to nothing but tropical fruit. Now she’s dead — from malnutrition.

On July 28, Russian media reported that 39-year-old Samsonova, who has been living in Malaysia, had died of malnutrition on July 21. Samsonova has been building an online following for at least ten years. At first, she followed a conventional vegetarian diet that included fish and dairy products. Then she switched to a completely vegan lifestyle, which she promoted through a blog and social media.

As time went on, she eliminated more and more foods from her diet, cutting down to just raw plants and, eventually, just fruit. A friend claimed that, for the last seven years, Samsonova had eaten only jackfruit and durian. The influencer herself had claimed she didn’t even drink water anymore, relying on fruit juice to stay hydrated.

Samsonova’s mother claims her daughter died from a “cholera-like infection,” but friends tell a different story. They say that, as she rejected more and more foods, she began to lose weight; one claimed she looked like “a walking skeleton.” Earlier this year, during a visit to Sri Lanka, friends advised Samsonova to see a doctor about her increasingly emaciated condition; she refused.

While fruit is part of a healthy diet, eating nothing else leaves you vulnerable to some serious health issues. The most serious is protein deficiency. Nutrition experts advise “fruitarians” to eat seeds and nuts for protein, but Samsonova apparently stopped eating those years ago. Such a restrictive diet also lacks iron, calcium, B and D vitamins, zinc and Omega-3 fatty acids.

Samsonova’s obsession with fruit left her vulnerable to multiple disorders, including anemia, heart disease, and a weakened immune system. Unfortunately, so-called “influencers” like her aren’t just harming themselves; through the power of the internet, they have the ability to harm impressionable people, including children, all over the world.

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