Raw food diet is the latest in the line of popular low-calorie diets that is taking the world by storm.
The goal of the diet is rapid weight loss while some also try it to help the environment (no processing) and improve their overall health.
The raw food diet commands you to consume fewer calories than the general and standard daily recommended dose, which results with rapid weight loss.
Now, the raw food diet is not new.
Actually, its traces go back to the late 1800s, when the doctor Maximilian Bircher-Benner discovered he could cure his jaundice by consuming raw apples.
This began a series of experiments testing raw food and the link with human health.
When opting for raw food diet, you are consuming uncooked, unprocessed food that is not irradiated, engineered or microwaved.
Before you start
There are two things you must know before you opt for raw food diet.
These three tools are your essential cooking assets when you opt for raw food diet.
One good example is to dehydrate apples to prepare apple chips.
The second thing you must know is that raw food diet is an expensive diet.
You will be buying mostly organic foods which are sometimes two or three times more expensive than frozen foods.
Cons of raw food diet
Before we go to the benefits, let’s take a look at some of the downsides or the cons of trying raw food diet.
I’ve heard friends that are opposed to the diet trying to convince many other friends to switch from raw food diet to cooked food diet.
And while raw food movement is gaining steam and popularity, there are cons.
First off, people with a weak digestive system or those suffering from allergies should always avoid raw foods as they cannot digest them easily.
Chinese medicine believes that raw foods are yin, and they require your body to burn way too much energy to digest them.
Aside from that, here are several other downsides.
Thyroid health is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to raw food diet.
Once you start raw food diet, you are frequently consuming kale, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and other cruciferous family.
And while they are healthy in moderate doses, they also contain goitrogens, naturally-occurring compounds that might block thyroid function.
For people with weak thyroid function, heavy dose of raw foods rich with goitrogens is more harmful than healthy.
The next downside is digestive health, as raw vegetables are harder for your body to process and digest.
When consumed raw, vegetables and plants are made out of fibrous structures that our body has a hard time breaking down.
Cows and other vegetarian animals have stomach better fit for vegetarian diet, but we do not.
This makes especially difficult for humans to digest vegetable fibers.
Last, but not least, another downside of the raw food diet is the nutrient absorption.
Since you are probably unable to digest most of the foods you consume, at least not easily, chances are you are not absorbing all the nutrients in the foods you consume.
Some of the healthiest nutrients in vegetables are stored in the tough fibers that our body has troubles breaking down.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should cook all vegetables and fruits.
Cooking is also harmful to the nutrients of some veggies and fruits.
Finding the perfect balance is the key to success.
Some foods are just meant to be eaten raw, while are meant to be cooked.
Benefits of Raw Food Diet
As there is no scientific research or support for the downsides of raw food diet, there isn’t any scientific support for the benefits.
However, according to some supporters and practitioners of the raw food diet, there are numerous improvements in the overall health and the weight loss department.
Weight loss is the main reason why people opt for the raw food diet, as the diet is low in calories, yet significantly rich in healthy nutrients.
This makes the raw food diet exceptionally good for rapid weight loss, without hurting your overall health.
Another benefit is that you are mostly consuming healthy nutrients, such as raw vegetables and fruits.
These foods are extremely rich in vitamins, fiber, minerals and other healthy nutrients.
Practitioners of raw food diet claim that they have increased energy. Other overall health benefits include clearer skin, reduced risk of disease, better sleep, and better acidic-alkaline balance.
With all cons and pros of raw food diet, it all comes down to whether you are ready to endure the low calorie diet, and whether you can afford to increase your monthly food expenses.
The biggest benefit of the low calorie diet is rapid weight loss, but the problem is that it is not sustainable.
You cannot practice raw food diet on a long-term plan, as it is highly restrictive and nutritionally inadequate.
To put it simply, cooking makes food safer and more easily digestible.
And even worse, some superfoods such as whole grains, lean proteins and beans cannot be eaten raw.