Introduction to Raw Food Diet
The raw food diet, based on the consumption of unadulterated, unprocessed and uncooked foods, is certainly not for everyone.
After all, it’s hard to give up childhood delicacies and long cherished comfort foods like fried chicken and mashed potatoes or chili and cornbread. Although there are definite tangible benefits to going raw, it can be a very difficult diet to sustain in the long run.
So before you make up your mind about going raw, take a look at the major Pros and Cons of a Raw Diet – it might just give you the nudge you need.
Without a doubt, the most immediately obvious benefit of a Raw food diet is the weight loss, which can be very rapid and dramatic in some individuals. However, this benefit is not so much the result of eating raw foods as it is the result of eating healthy and cutting out processed, preservative packed foods and refined sugars. Without the chips and cookies to snack on, it’s hard not to lose weight.
The increased energy levels resulting from the higher intake of fresh fruits and vegetables lead in turn to an increased metabolism and even greater weight loss.
Other benefits include lowered risk for heart disease and obesity-related conditions such as gout and diabetes. The raw diet also leads to a brighter complexion, clearer skin tone, sharper focus and better digestion.
Negative Long-Term Health Impact
Unfortunately, the biggest drawback to the Raw Food diet is its inherent lack of balance. Unless you commit to the omnivore raw diet where you eat everything, including meat, fish, dairy and eggs, you run the risk of long-term health complications. These include anemia, ketosis and increased susceptibility to disease.
Research has also shown that cooking vegetables may destroy some enzymes and nutrient compounds, but it also helps to release other nutrients which can only be metabolized by heat.
Nutrients like beta-carotene in carrots are important for our general health, but they cannot be metabolized without cooking and you cannot absorb them in the required quantities from eating raw foods.
This lack of long-term balanced nutrition can cause significant health issues and is one of the main sticking points when it comes to the raw diet.
Is it a Feasible Diet?
The truth about raw food diets is that they are as feasible as you make them.
It truly is up to you whether you have the willpower to stick with raw foods for a prolonged period of time. It is also better to indulge is as wide a range of raw foods as you can tolerate because the more varied your diet, the greater access you have to key nutrients and minerals.
However, even if you commit to being an omnivorous raw dieter, you will still miss out on key nutrients which can only be metabolized in cooked foods. Truly, the only way to sustain a raw diet in the long run and maintain a high standard of health is to be omnivorous and to follow the 75/25 standard whereby approximately 75% of what you eat is raw food, but the rest is cooked.
In the end, any diet is only as effective as you choose it to be and the most important tool to a successfully executed dietary plan is knowledge. Before you switch to a purely raw diet, think about the types of foods you like to eat and the positive and negative effects such a switch would have on your overall health and lifestyle. An informed decision is a good decision and while some people thrive on the raw food diet, it is definitely not the best option for everyone.