Vegan Influencer’s Death Sparks Debate Over Raw Food Diet

Zhanna Samsonova, a Russian vegan influencer known for her raw food advocacy, has reportedly passed away due to starvation. The 39-year-old, who was popular on social media platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram under the name Zhanna D’Art, was said to have died on July 21. She had sought medical attention while touring Southeast Asia, as per reports from local media.

Samsonova’s friends and family reported that she had been living on a diet of exotic fruits while in Malaysia. One friend, who wished to remain anonymous, shared with Newsflash that Samsonova had appeared exhausted and unwell during a previous visit to Sri Lanka, with swollen legs that were leaking lymph. Despite being advised to seek medical treatment, Samsonova continued her travels. The friend expressed fear and concern for Samsonova’s health, stating that they had tried to convince her to seek medical help.

Samsonova had been a vocal advocate for a raw vegan diet, claiming to have followed such a diet for the past four years. Her diet consisted of fruits, sunflower seed sprouts, fruit smoothies, and juices. A friend revealed that Samsonova had been consuming primarily jackfruit and durian, a pungent fruit known for its spiky exterior and custard-like flesh, for the past seven years.

The influencer had often spoken about the transformation she experienced due to her diet, expressing satisfaction with the changes she saw in her body and mind. She attributed the inspiration for her diet to seeing her peers age prematurely due to unhealthy eating habits. Despite her enthusiasm for her diet, friends believe that her restrictive food choices may have contributed to her death.

Samsonova’s mother, however, attributed her daughter’s death to a cholera-like infection. The official cause of death has yet to be determined. Despite the potential health risks associated with a raw vegan diet, many of Samsonova’s followers refuse to believe that her dietary choices led to her death. Instead, they speculate that chemicals in the fruit she consumed may have been the cause.

Healthline reports that while a raw foods diet can offer several health benefits, such as weight loss, improved heart health, and a lower risk of diabetes, it can also lead to nutritional deficiencies if not properly planned. These deficiencies can include calcium and Vitamin D, which are essential for bone health, and can result in suboptimal B12 levels, leading to anemia, nervous system damage, infertility, and heart disease.

A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that all participants following a raw vegan diet consumed less than the recommended daily intake of vitamin B12. Samsonova’s family is currently awaiting a medical report and death certificate to confirm her official cause of death.