Raw Food Diet

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These changes appear to reflect increased interest in vegetarian and vegan diets potentially including the raw food diet. However, according to a Gallup Poll only 5 percent of Americans identified themselves as vegetarians and 3 percent as vegans, numbers virtually unchanged from People whose diets consist mostly of raw foods believe this way of eating is ideal for human health, leads to improved vitality and energy and also reduces the impact of food production on the environment.

Because their food choices are so limited, most people on a raw food diet only consume about half the calories they would get if their food were cooked.

For example, lycopene, the carotenoid pigment that protects against prostate cancer is available only from cooked tomatoes, not from raw ones. The carotenoids in carrots are more bioavailable from cooked carrots than from raw ones. In addition to killing potentially harmful bacteria, cooking also destroys phytic acid, a compound found in whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds which impairs absorption of iron, zinc and calcium, possibly promoting mineral deficiencies.

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Cooking also neutralizes lectins, plant proteins found in legumes, grains, tomatoes and various fruits. If foods containing high amounts of these proteins are uncooked or undercooked, they can make you sick with symptoms of food poisoning — nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, although these symptoms usually subside within hours.

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In addition to fruits and vegetables, the diet includes nuts and seeds as well as uncooked grains, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, raw virgin coconut oil and raw coconut butter. Herbal tea is also permitted. While not intended as a weight loss diet, a raw food diet involves consuming, on average, approximately half the number of calories you would likely be eating on a vegan or vegetarian diet.

One study found that after switching to a raw food diet, men lost an average of This same study found that 15 percent of the men and 25 percent of the women routinely consuming a raw diet were underweight. If doctors are familiar with the negative health consequences of a raw food diet discussed above, they are unlikely to recommend or endorse it. A panel of physicians and nutrition experts that rated 41 diets for U.

Since I am already a vegan, I never eat any animal products anyway. The rules of being raw are you can only eat fresh, whole, unrefined, plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, raw nuts and raw seeds. Everything has to be eaten in its natural state. So I went grocery shopping and made sure that I had everything I needed to last me five full days of eating.

So I needed a LOT of fresh fruit, vegetables, raw nuts and raw seeds to make up for it. I wanted to bulk prepare. You will get hungry a lot more often on this diet. I have a confession though.

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I am a BIG coffee drinker. To be honest, I have 4 or 5 each day.

To go cold turkey and have zero caffeine would give me excruciating headaches, so I allowed myself to have one or two black coffees a day. It was quite delicious actually. The avocado made it creamy and the banana and berries added sweetness. So I spiralised zucchinis and created a sauce, which consisted of three avocados for the five days , one clove of uncooked garlic and raw broccoli… and it was delicious.

So I started the day with my smoothie and a black coffee. Mainly, it is very high in fresh fruits and vegetables.

‘I Went Raw Vegan For A Week – This Is What Happened’

It also incorporates other foods that are high in nutrients and fiber. To its credit, a raw food diet limits the intake of foods known to contribute to poor health if you eat them in excess, such as processed junk foods and added sugar. Additionally, a raw food diet nearly guarantees weight loss because it is low in calories. Yet despite this, there are also many cons to a raw food diet. When someone switches from a mostly cooked diet to a mostly raw diet, their calorie intake is likely to decrease dramatically.

Some people may not find it possible to eat enough raw food to meet their daily calorie needs 12 , This is partially because fruits and vegetables, though healthy, simply don't provide enough calories or protein to make up the majority of the diet. Additionally, cooking increases the digestibility of foods, making it easier for your body to get calories and nutrients from them.

In some cases, your body gets significantly fewer calories from a food if it's raw 14 , Cooking also increases the amount of certain nutrients and antioxidants your body absorbs 6 , 7 , 8. Finally, raw diets tend to be nutritionally unbalanced because they must be mostly made up of either fats or fruits to meet calorie needs This means raw diets may be deficient not only in calories, but also in some vitamins, minerals and protein Like most of the beliefs behind the raw food diet, many of the supposed health benefits are not supported by evidence.

Starting a Raw Food Diet

Some studies have found the raw food diet to have positive health effects, but much of the research has found it has negative effects. One study of people following a raw food diet found that it lowered blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, it also lowered "healthy" HDL cholesterol levels and led to a vitamin-B12 deficiency for many Another study found that people following a raw diet over long periods of time had an increased risk of tooth erosion Nevertheless, studies have consistently found that the raw food diet is associated with having less body fat.

One study of participants following a raw diet long-term found that it was associated with large losses of body fat Men lost an average of And nearly one-third of women developed amenorrhea, meaning they stopping menstruating, which can be a consequence of low body weight. Another small study found that people following a raw vegan diet had significantly lower calorie intake and body fat than those who weren't following the diet.

Nonetheless, they also had low protein, calcium and vitamin D intakes The same study found that participants following a raw vegan diet had low bone mass, potentially due to low calorie and protein intake Overall, following a raw food diet may lead to weight loss or even improve some markers of health, such as blood lipids. But despite this, the significant risk of negative health effects outweighs the potential benefits of this diet.


A mostly raw diet makes it difficult to get enough calories, protein and certain vitamins and minerals. Some people may not be able to get enough calories from this diet. The evidence also shows that the larger the proportion of raw food in your diet, the higher the risk of negative effects Unless you take supplements, you may develop problems from nutrient inadequacies over time as your body's vitamin and mineral stores are used up.

Vitamin B12 and vitamin D are particularly hard to get in raw vegan diets. However, even nutrition supplements cannot make up for a lack of calories and protein in the diet. Additionally, the risk of being exposed to a foodborne illness is increased when you consume foods raw This is especially true if raw dairy, eggs or meat are part of your diet.