The Raw Food Diet: What You Need to Know
We all know we need to incorporate more fruits and veggies into our diet, but what if our entire diet consisted of only raw produce, nuts and seeds? That’s the premise of the raw food diet or raw foodism (also known as rawism). Unlike vegetarianism or veganism, raw foodism is a plant-based diet where food is consumed in its most natural, organic state – uncooked. It is theorized that the raw food diet is healthiest for the body, but there are some advocates who see otherwise. In this blog post, we give you a brief overview of the raw food diet, including the risks and benefits.
As with any diet, raw foodism is a lifestyle choice which requires a great deal of commitment. With this particular lifestyle, 75% of your diet consists of plant-based foods that are uncooked (never heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit) and unprocessed. There are variations to the diet that allow for the consumption of raw animal products such as cheese, raw milk and fish, but raw foodists should be careful of potential food poisoning from these uncooked foods.
Raw foodists claim that when you eat only raw food, the body is able to use all of the enzymes and nutrients in fruits and veggies that aide in proper digestion. They also believe cooking food destroys these enzymes making it less healthy to eat. Because raw foodists generally consume fewer calories, they tend to be leaner due to the weight loss. Note: This is not a weight-loss plan.
Medical research and literature is scarce on the effects of the raw food diet. While there are health benefits to this high-fiber, low-sugar diet – lower cholesterol, higher energy levels, reduction in certain cancers, and high levels of vitamin A – there are some risks.
There is concern that raw foodists aren’t getting enough vitamins and minerals. A common risk is vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 helps with brain function and is naturally found in animal products. Another concern is that this diet may increase the risk of poor bone density and increase the chances of developing osteoporosis due to a lack of calcium and vitamin D.
So is the raw food diet a healthy lifestyle choice?
It depends on how strict your diet is. Nutritionists recommend that those who follow the raw food diet should increase their calcium intake as well as B12, iron and omega-3 fatty acids. To be on the safe side, raw foodists should take supplements to make up for the loss of nutrients that are naturally found in animal products.
If you are considering switching to the raw food diet, consult with your physician, nutritionist or dietitian before starting this strict dieting regimen.
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