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 The Raw Food Diet: A Beginner's Guide and Review

The raw food diet has been around since the 1800s, but its popularity has risen in recent years. Its supporters believe that eating mostly raw foods is beneficial to human health and has many advantages, such as weight loss and improved overall health. However, health experts warn that eating a mostly raw diet can be harmful to one's health. This article discusses the benefits and drawbacks of the raw food diet, as well as how it works.

What Is the Raw Food Diet?

The raw food diet, also known as raw foodism or raw veganism, consists of mostly or entirely raw and unprocessed foods. If a food has never been heated above 104–118°F (40–48°C), it is considered raw. It should also not be refined, pasteurized, pesticide-treated, or otherwise processed. Instead, the diet allows for juicing, blending, dehydrating, soaking, and sprouting as alternative preparation methods. The raw food diet, like veganism, is typically plant-based, consisting primarily of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. While the majority of raw food diets are entirely plant-based, some people do consume raw eggs and dairy. Raw fish and meat, which are less common, may also be included. Taking supplements is also generally discouraged on the raw food diet. Proponents frequently claim that the diet will provide you with all of the nutrients you require. Cooking foods, according to supporters, is also harmful to human health because it destroys natural enzymes in foods, reduces nutrient content, and reduces the "life force" that they believe exists in all raw or "living" foods. People follow the raw food diet for the benefits they believe it provides, such as weight loss, improved vitality, increased energy, improved chronic disease management, improved overall health, and a lower environmental impact.

How to Adhere to a Raw Food Diet

To follow the raw food diet, make sure that at least 75% of your food is raw. The majority of raw food diets consist primarily of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Grains and legumes are frequently permitted, but must be soaked or sprouted before consumption.

Foods to Eat

  • All fresh fruits
  • All raw vegetables
  • Raw nuts and seeds
  • Raw grains and legumes, sprouted or soaked
  • Dried fruits and meats
  • Nut milks
  • Raw nut butters
  • Cold-pressed olive and coconut oils
  • Fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut
  • Seaweed
  • Sprouts
  • Raw eggs or dairy, if desired
  • Raw meat or fish, if desired

Foods to Avoid

  • Cooked fruits, vegetables, meats and grains
  • Baked items
  • Roasted nuts and seeds
  • Refined oilsTable salt
  • Refined sugars and flour
  • Pasteurized juices and dairy
  • Coffee and tea
  • Alcoho
  • lPasta
  • Pastries
  • Chips
  • Other processed foods and snacks

Is Raw Food Healthier Than Cooked Food

Supporters of the raw food diet believe that eating mostly or all raw foods is beneficial to human health.

This idea, like many of the raw food diet's core beliefs, is not supported by science.

In fact, studies show that both cooked and raw foods are beneficial to one's health.

One of the primary reasons why the raw food diet discourages cooking is the belief that cooking destroys natural enzymes in foods. Advocates of the diet believe that these enzymes are essential for human health and digestion.

Most enzymes denature — that is, unravel or change shape — when exposed to high temperatures. However, many enzymes denature in the stomach's acidic environment.

In fact, the body already produces enzymes to help with chemical processes such as digestion and energy production (3Trusted Source).

Another fundamental belief underlying the raw food diet is that cooking destroys food's nutrient content.

Cooking can reduce the amount of certain nutrients in food, particularly those that are water-soluble, such as vitamin C and B vitamins.

Cooking, on the other hand, increases the availability of other nutrients and antioxidants like lycopene and beta-carotene.

Cooking also aids in the inactivation or destruction of some harmful compounds found in food. Cooking grains and legumes, for example, reduces lectins and phytic acid. When consumed in large quantities, these can prevent your body from absorbing minerals.

Furthermore, cooking kills harmful bacteria

For these reasons, it is critical to consume a variety of both raw and cooked foods.

Nutrition Review: Pros and Cons

A raw food diet has some advantages. It is primarily high in fresh fruits and vegetables. It also includes other foods high in nutrients and fiber.

To its credit, a raw food diet restricts the consumption of foods that are known to contribute to poor health when consumed in excess, such as processed junk foods and added sugar.

Furthermore, because it is low in calories, a raw food diet almost guarantees weight loss. Despite this, there are numerous disadvantages to a raw food diet.

When someone transitions from a mostly cooked to a mostly raw diet, their calorie intake is likely to drop dramatically. Some people may not be able to consume enough raw food to meet their daily calorie requirements.

This is due in part to the fact that, while fruits and vegetables are healthy, they do not provide enough calories or protein to constitute the majority of the diet.

Cooking also improves the digestibility of foods, making it easier for your body to obtain calories and nutrients from them. In some cases, raw foods provide significantly fewer calories to your body.

Cooking also increases the absorption of certain nutrients and antioxidants in your body.

Finally, raw diets are nutritionally unbalanced because they must be primarily composed of either fats or fruits to meet calorie requirements.

As a result, raw diets may be deficient not only in calories, but also in certain vitamins, minerals, and protein.

Health Benefits Review: Pros and Cons

Many of the purported health benefits, like most of the beliefs underlying the raw food diet, are not supported by evidence.

Some studies have found that the raw food diet has positive health effects, but the majority of the research has found that it has negative health effects.

A raw food diet was found to lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels in one study of people who followed it. However, it also reduced "healthy" HDL cholesterol levels and caused vitamin B12 deficiency in many people.

Another study discovered that people who ate a raw diet for an extended period of time had an increased risk of tooth erosion.

Nonetheless, research has consistently found that a raw food diet is associated with lower body fat.

One study of participants who followed a raw diet for an extended period of time discovered that it was associated with significant weight loss.

After switching to a raw diet, men lost an average of 21.8 pounds (9.9 kg), while women lost an average of 26.4 pounds (12 kg). However, 15% of men and 25% of women in the study were also underweight.

Furthermore, 70% of women on the diet experienced irregularities in their menstrual cycle. And nearly one-third of women developed amenorrhea, which means they stopped menstruating as a result of being underweight.

Another small study discovered that people who followed a raw vegan diet had significantly lower calorie intake and body fat than those who did not. Nonetheless, they consumed insufficient protein, calcium, and vitamin D.

Overall, a raw food diet may result in weight loss or even improve some health markers, such as blood lipids. Nonetheless, the substantial risk of negative health effects outweighs the potential benefits of this diet.

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