If you are trying to lose a few pounds while improving your overall health you have no doubt looked at the various diets currently available to try, perhaps you have even come across the Raw Food Diet.
What is this diet though, and will it promote weight loss and good health?
Lets look at the benefits of the Raw Food Diet and any potential issues you may encounter too.
What is the Raw Food Diet?
The theory behind the Raw Food Diet is that when you cook foods above 116°F the vitamins and nutrients that the food contains will be destroyed.
Those who choose to eat this diet tend to stick to vegan options like:
- Fresh fruit
Although you are also allowed to following if you wish:
- Raw, unpasteurised milk and cheese
- Raw honey
- Raw fish
- Raw meat
- Extra-virgin olive oil and raw virgin coconut oil
Benefits of eating a Raw Food Diet
It is true that cooking certain foods will reduce the nutrient content of the food, so choosing this diet will likely offer various health boosting benefits.
As the diet involves eating fruits and vegetables, which are naturally low in calories, your overall calorie intake should fall resulting in weight loss occurring.
Raw foods are also harder to digest, so you will need to use more calories to break them down when you digest them.
Potential issues of the Raw Food Diet
While there are certainly benefits to eating a Raw Food Diet, there are also a number of potential issues that you should be made aware of. Here are some of them:
#1: There is a risk of nutritional deficiencies
Research has shown that those who eat this diet have lower levels of vitamin B12, which is essential for keeping your red blood cells healthy.
If your red blood cells are not healthy you will be more prone to anaemia and heart disease.
You are also likely to be deficient in other nutrients such as vitamin D, selenium, iron, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, which is why vitamin supplements are often recommended.
#2: Cooking doesn’t always make food unhealthy
Despite the main claim of this diet that raw is best. Certain foods when cooked are actually healthier than raw.
For example, cooking tomatoes will increase the amount of lycopene (a powerful antioxidant) present.
Also, cooking carrots will make the beta-carotene easier to be absorbed by your body.
This ease of absorption after cooking is also shown when various root vegetables are cooked too.
Rather than sticking to a purely raw diet, perhaps a mixture of the two would be the better option.
#3: The diet could be boring
If you are eating the same or similar foods every meal you will soon start to get bored of your diet, which will make it almost impossible to stick to.
Eating out for a special occasion may even prove to be impossible.
#4: It may cause digestive issues
If you suffer from IBS or IBD then the Raw Food Diet may not be suitable.
This is because many of the foods recommended to be eaten in this diet are high in fibre that can wreak havoc with those with digestive issues.
#5: Plant enzymes are destroyed by your stomach acid anyway
These nutrients and plant enzymes destroyed when cooked are often lost to the stomach acid anyway, so you wont necessarily experience any more benefits from eating these food raw.
#6: Some foods cannot be eaten raw
There are certain foods, for instance the grains, beans, pulses and lentils that cannot be eaten raw.
This is because without being cooked they are not able to be digested.
#7: You need to be careful with food hygiene
Uncooked foods are often full of bacteria, salmonella and E-coli. So you should pay extra attention when washing and preparing them.
For this reason, it is best that pregnant women, children or those with weakened immune systems avoid this diet.
After looking at both the benefits and potential issues of the Raw Food Diet you can hopefully make a more informed decision about the diet.