What’s up with the Raw Deal?
The Atkins diet? South-Beach Diet? Jenny Craig? Weight Watchers? But a Raw-food only diet? What the?! Consuming only raw foods? Not cooking anything? Isn’t that unhealthy? Not according to advocates of this diet. The raw foods diet is among some of the latest fad and celebrity-hyped diets out there today, you can even find some restaurants that only serve raw foods. The name of the raw food diet says it all: You only consume raw, unprocessed foods. Diet devotees claim the diet improves nutrition and health, offers spiritual enlightenment and improves digestion among other things. But can a diet consisting only of raw foods truly live up to its promises and can it be healthy?
Followers consume a diet regimen made up of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, sprouted seeds, nuts, legumes, dried fruits, milk from coconut, fresh fruit and vegetable juices and other organic or natural foods which have not been processed. Sounds healthy. It stems from the thinking that raw and living foods contain the essential enzymes needed for proper digestion, as well as containing higher nutrient values. Raw food dieters believe the enzymes in raw foods are the life force and that every food has its own essential enzymes. These enzymes help the body digest the foods completely, without relying on the body’s own enzymes. This means that cooked foods, foods cooked higher than 116 F, are “
dead” because all of these enzymes and nutrients are destroyed.
But is their scientific data to back this up? No, not really. It has been widely known and accepted that cooking our food is healthier and safer. Cooking foods kills any harmful bacteria, it lets us eat a wide variety of foods especially those who cannot tolerate raw uncooked vegetables, which can leave individuals with nutrient deficiencies. And well, yes cooking does kill the foods enzymes, our body has its own enzymes for proper digestion and health and doesn’t need other enzymes. Plus, when we do consume raw foods, our own stomach’s acids kill off any enzymes before we absorb food anyway.
So, think twice about going raw. Any diet omitting completely certain types of foods isn’t healthy. Having raw fruits and vegetables along with legumes is great. As long as it is part of a well-balanced diet.