There are a lot of diets and lifestyles out there on the market. You can try shakes, protein bars, low carbs, no carbs, veggies only, and teenie-tiny pre-packaged meals (just to name a few). One particular lifestyle that people are trying is the raw food diet.
It is very popular with naturalists who want to make sure their body is clean and free of all the unhealthy things that are sometimes found in foods such as grease, transfats, artificial ingredients, and other chemical enhancements. Advocates of the raw food diet claim that this diet choice lowers the risk of disease and leads to a fuller, healthier life. But what exactly is the raw food diet? What can you eat? Are there any side effects or disadvantages to it? If you want to find out if the raw food diet is for you then keep on reading.
The Raw Food Diet Lifestyle
The raw food diet is not a weight-loss diet. It is a lifestyle choice similar to vegetarianism and is made up of 75% fruits and vegetables. The raw food diet is a diet that promotes the consumption of unprocessed, uncooked, and often organically-grown plant foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, and seaweed. The basic principle behind the raw food diet, also sometimes called raw foodism, is that plant foods in their most natural state (i.e.: uncooked and unprocessed) are also the most wholesome for the body. The belief is that by heating food above 116 degrees Fahrenheit, nutrients are destroyed as well as certain enzymes in food that can assist in the digestion. Advocates of the raw food diet also believe that he more raw food you eat, the healthier you will be.
What Are Some Of The Advantages?
Followers of the raw food diet believe that by eating raw foods in their natural state, you can have more energy, clearer skin, have a leaner body, improve your digestion, cleanse any impurities from your body, and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. By sticking to the raw food diet, you are cutting out all trans fats and saturated fats. The diet is also low in sodium but high in potassium, magnesium, and fiber. It is a good way to lose weight, even if it is not advertised as a weight loss program.
What Can You Eat?
So exactly what do followers of the raw food diet eat? All foods should be unprocessed and at least 75 % of it should not be heated over 116 degrees. Some of the staples of the diet include fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, seaweed, beans, grains, dried fruit, legumes, freshly juiced fruits and veggies, purified water, unprocessed milk and cheese, honey, raw yogurt, and raw eggs. Although most raw foodists are vegans, there are some that eat raw meat such as fish and carpaccio.
There are many methods to food preparation. Some of them are simple such as fruits and salads. Others require food such as some seeds and nuts to soak overnight before they can be digested. There is also blending, dehydration, and mixing in a food processor.
Anything that is processed is out of the question. Followers of the raw food diet do not consume alcohol, refined sugars, or caffeine in any form. They do not believe in pasteurization, preservatives, or stimulants of any kind.
What Is The Controversy?
There is a tremendous amount of debate about just how healthy the raw food diet is. While advocates of the diet, who are mostly naturalists, claim that it is a much better way to eat, research and studies contradict this. The argument is that by eating raw food, you are at risk of some serious deficiencies. By cooking food, it tenderizes it, reduces water content, and makes the food more pliable of digestion and absorption. If you don’t cook it, then your diet will be deficient in calcium, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, iron, zinc, protein, and calories. Protein and calories are essential in muscle mass and energy. It is also dangerous for people with anemia because the diet does not help with production of red blood cells and it is not recommended for children and women who are pregnant. Also, long term use of the raw food diet can lower your plasma levels which help in the prevention of disease. In short, anyone who follows the raw food diet would do well to add to their diet with calcium and vitamin supplements or risk developing a serious deficiency.
See also: Is the South Beach diet healthy?