Raw Food Diet

There’s a lot of talks going on about raw food diets these days, and many people swear these diets provide numerous health benefits.

What is the raw food diet?

This diet is based on uncooked and unprocessed plant foods like fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, sprouts, seeds, legumes, beans grains, dried fruit, freshly made juices, and seaweed.

The premise of this diet is to consume 75% uncooked food, since cooking food above 116 degrees F can destroy enzymes that help with the digestion of food. The cooking process also diminishes the food’s "life force" and its nutritional value.

What are the health benefits?

Many people attest to the numerous health benefits of raw food diet, including: weight loss, better digestion and absorption of nutrients, healthier skin, reduced risk of heart disease, and increased energy. This diet also contains less saturated and trans fats compared with the usual Western diet.

Moreover, the raw food diet is low in sodium and rich in magnesium, potassium, fiber, folate, and phytochemicals. These properties reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that eating raw foods can lower your total triglyceride and cholesterol concentrations.

What are the side effects?

You may experience some side effects of when you begin to include raw food to your diet program. You may experience detoxification reactions, especially if your previous diet consisted of foods rich in caffeine, meat, and sugar. Cravings, nausea, and mild headaches can also occur, usually lasting for several days.

What are the precautions?

The raw food diet may not be recommended for certain people like those with anemia, pregnant or nursing women, children, and people who have high risk of osteoporosis. Researchers at the Washington University found that a raw food diet could lower your bone mass. The study also found that bone turnover rates were similar to people who ate a regular American diet.

You need considerable commitment, time, and energy to achieve your goals on the raw food diet. Some ingredients are hard to find, like sprouted flour, young coconut milk, date sugar, carob powder, Celtic sea salt, and Rejuvelac.

Criticism of the diet

Critics say that while the cooking process inactivates some enzymes, it doesn’t really matter since the body produces its own enzymes that are used for digestion. Also, heating allows for an easier absorption of phytochemicals like beta-carotene in carrots and lycopene in tomatoes.