Does A Raw Food Diet Really Work?
Developed by nutritionist Natalia Rose, the Raw Food diet is a detox diet that propagates the consumption of raw food. This diet is based on the premise that cooking food above a certain temperature rids the food of enzymes that aid digestion. It is also believed by the propagators of this diet that cooking the food reduces its nutritional value and kills its ‘life force’.
Foods You Eat On The Raw Food Diet
The Raw Food diet allows followers to consume any kind of raw food. This includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, dry fruits, fruit juices and grains. While consuming fruits and vegetables in their raw form is possible, some amount of processing is generally required for other foods.
The Raw Food diet allows food to be blended, crushed, sprouted, soaked, dehydrated and juiced. Therefore, people planning to adopt the Raw Food diet may need to ensure that they possess a dehydrator, blender, juicer and chopper at home or else invest in these.
Let alone processed foods, in its strictest form, the Raw Food diet does not allow the consumption of even boiled vegetables since they are treated to temperatures above 116 degrees Fahrenheit.
5 Levels of The Raw Food Diet
The Raw Food diet was developed as a detox diet. Since a sudden and drastic change in the diet can cause side effects like headaches, nausea, fatigue and craving for food, the Raw Food diet is typically divided into 5 stages.
Level 5 is the initial stage in which you are slowly eased into eating raw food. In this stage about 75% of the food that you consume is actually raw and one cooked meal is allowed in a day. Level 1 is the strictest where the recommended diet is completely raw and vegetarian.
Benefits of The Raw Food Diet
With almost no saturated fats or trans fats, the Raw Food diet has low levels of sodium, high levels of potassium, fiber, folate and phytochemicals (biologically active substances obtained from plants).
Those who follow the diet claim higher levels of energy, improved digestion, better complexion, lower risk of heart diseases and weight loss. The Journal of Nutrition published a study to show that following a Raw Food diet reduced the levels of plasma, cholesterol and triglycerides.
Critics are of the view that the diet does not provide adequate nutrition, especially calcium, iron, Vitamin B12 and proteins. It is argued that the digestive enzymes that are killed by the cooking process are enzymes that the body can produce on its own for digestion.
Will I Lose Weight On The Raw Food Diet?
The Raw Food diet was not developed as a weight loss diet and therefore, does not claim to help you lose a specific amount of weight in a certain amount of time. It is a detox diet that helps cleanse the body of toxins.
However, with a drastic reduction in the consumption of saturated fats, trans fats and sodium (villains in our regular diet that lead to weight gain), almost everyone who starts on the Raw Food diet experiences weight loss and a feeling of lightness and wellness.