Pros and Cons of Eating Raw

One of the most popular and talked about diets today is The Raw Food Diet! Just as any other diet the raw food diet follows a very specific philosophy on food and has some pros and cons.

What is a Raw Food diet?  

The raw food diet consists of unprocessed and uncooked plant foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, nuts, dried fruit and seaweed. The diet includes foods in their unprocessed and uncooked state and omits most other foods. Typically, at least 75% of the foods must be living or raw in this diet. Most people include a limited amount of foods that have undergone some processing, as long as the processing does not involve heating the food over 115 degrees Fahrenheit. The most popular raw food diet is a raw vegan diet, but other forms include raw animal products and/or meat.

There are specific food preparation techniques used to make foods more digestible and add variety to the diet, these include, sprouting seeds, grains, and beans, juicing fruits and vegetables, soaking nuts and dried fruit, and dehydrating food.

Raw foodists believe that heating food above 115 degrees Fahrenheit can destroy enzymes in food that assist the digestion and absorption of food. They believe that foods cooked above this temperature have lost a significant amount of their nutritional value and are harmful to the body, whereas uncooked foods provide living enzymes and proper nutrition.

Some of the benefits of the raw food diet include the beliefs that it prevents degenerative diseases, slows the effects of aging, provides enhanced energy, boosts emotional balance and improves overall health. Many people of chronic diseases such as insulin dependent diabetes can benefit highly from this diet. Since their bodies PH is out of balance and more acidic this diet is more alkaline diet it can help and balance their PH.

Some cons of this diet may include certain nutritional deficiencies such as calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and calories. Raw foods are associated with greater incidence of food borne illnesses, such as food poisoning and gastroenteritis. This diet may not be appropriate for children, pregnant or nursing women, people with anemia, or people at risk for osteoporosis. Also if you live in a very cold climate such as Alaska or New York it will be hard for the body to adjust to such a diet and to keep yourself warm. So it’s best to consider your body type, geographical location and climate before starting this diet.

[From: Institute of Integrative Nutrition. David Wolfe.]