The Pros Of A Raw Food Eating Plan
When you are on a raw food eating plan the focus of your diet revolves around plant-life. Because of that you can expect to see some improvement in your weight and your overall health. The simple explanation for this is that because you’re enjoying a diet of whole foods you are completely shunning foods high in sugar, salt, preservatives, and additives.
It’s a diet that is high in fiber, which is something that most Americans are lacking in their diets and it leaves you feeling fuller for longer as well as helping with the digestion process.
Of course, eating fruits and vegetables isn’t just great for your waistline. It’s also beneficial to your hair and skin. Not to mention how good it is for the environment.
Your health may see some benefits, too. After all, the foods that tend to contribute to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are no longer part of your diet, thus reducing your risk of developing these diseases.
If you’re looking for a way to reduce your body’s acidity, then eating raw vegetables and fruits is the way to do it. The majority of vegetables boast this fact and it can prevent acid build up while helping you balance your pH levels. This is something that’s particularly important when it comes to diseases like cancer, which thrive in these types of environments. Alkaline diets improve digestion, boost energy and heart health, as well as relieve inflammation.
We know that once foods are kicked it changes how we absorb the nutrients and digest the foods. Some nutrients are enhanced in the cooking process while others really are decreased. For example, B and C vitamins are water-soluble and they are generally quite sensitive to heat and when foods are cooked they escape. Broccoli is a good example, it can lose half of its vitamin C count when you boil it. When you broil or grill foods it can cause nutrients to drip off in the juices. The B vitamin family are depleted when they are baked or roasted and that’s due to the time they spend being cooked. Microwaving your foods can also affect the C vitamin count by as much as 30%.
No Unhealthy Foods
One of the biggest benefits of following a raw food eating plan is that you will swear off refined sugars and trans fats. Since processed foods are a major no-go area you are reducing your risk factor for all of the health problems that come from overdoing these types of foods. It’s a diet plan that is low in sodium thus heart healthy.
Our bodies rely on fruits and vegetables, and the majority of fruits are already enjoyed raw. The Mayo Clinic reports that produce helps promote healthy digestion and bowel movements, leaves us fuller, and while fighting inflammation, it also lowers cholesterol. In addition to improve your digestion, it can also help prevent colon diseases.
The Cons Of A Raw Food Eating Plan
It certainly seemed as though the positives would never end, but unfortunately, there are also cons that come with following a raw food eating plan. The drawback of eating raw lies in the extremes.
Any type of lifestyle or diet change that goes to the extreme is difficult to follow simply
because it’s unrealistic. You feel tempted constantly and knowing that you can’t have certain foods will only make you want them more.
It’s difficult to lead an active social life when you’re limiting what you can eat – it makes eating out incredibly challenging and will likely complicate going to a friend’s house for dinner, too. The premise is good, it’s just a difficult one to execute over the long-term and will throw up challenges you may find difficult to overcome.
Too Much Fiber
We can agree that fiber has its benefits, there are drawbacks to too much fiber, though. It can leave you feeling bloated and gassy and it’s fairly common when you’re eating lots of raw produce. Cooking your vegetables breaks them down to make it easier for your digestive system to process. Without that breakdown, your body has to work harder to process them which is what leaves you with that bloated feeling.
Overdoing Healthy Fats
Another risk of the raw food eating plan is that you overdo healthy fats. Yes, nuts, seeds, and avocados are good for you. They’re delicious, filling, and packed with healthy fats. There is such a thing as eating too much, even when it’s healthy fats. While the positives of healthy fats are reducing cholesterol, improving brain health, and protecting your heart, the risk is weight gain when you overdo it.
Lack Of Protein
There is another risk when you eat raw, even if you settle on the 80/20 ratio. It takes a lot of planning to get your protein balance right. It’s incredibly difficult to get plenty of protein when your focus is entirely on raw foods, that means when you do reach for cooked foods they need to be excellent protein sources to make up for what you’re missing out on. That’s why a 100% raw food eating plan is unsustainable.
Lost Nutrients Found Through Cooking
We covered how certain cooking methods can affect certain vitamins in particular foods. What we didn’t cover, though, is how it can also enhance other nutrients (Cooking and the human commitment to a high-quality diet; Carmody, et al). For example, stir-fries and sautéing are generally considered to be healthier cooking methods because the food isn’t overcooked nor is it boiled to allow nutrients to escape.
When it comes to carrots tossing them in your stir-fry can increase the beta-carotene count, while giving your tomatoes a quick sauté in olive oil increases the body’s lycopene levels. Cooking meats increases antioxidants and it can also make it easier for the body to digest certain nutrients.
A good example would be eggs, considering may raw foodists will eat them raw. Once cooked, your body can digest more of the protein than when ingesting eggs raw (Digestibility of cooked and raw egg protein in humans as assessed by stable isotope techniques; Evenepoel et al).
Lack Of Certain Nutrients
We discussed how difficult it is to get the protein your body needs, but there are other nutrients your body relies on. The risk in cutting out major types of food from any diet means you face a challenge to get the proper vitamins and minerals. As noted with protein, running an 80/20 ratio may make things a bit easier, but certainly, following a raw food eating plan 100% will make it virtually impossible to get everything that your body needs.
You typically miss out on important nutrients like vitamin D, calcium, and the crucial brain food omega 3. A lot of the foods we normally eat are fortified with the nutrients we need to make it easier to get them. However, that is difficult when eating raw food only which means you’re more likely to suffer from a deficiency (Low bone mass in subjects on a long-term raw vegetarian diet; Fontana L, et al).
Something else we haven’t quite touched on yet is how cooking food makes it easier for human consumption. This is why restaurants have strict regulations to follow when cooking food from raw, reheating foods, and handling different types of food.
No one wants to bite into a burger to find it bright red. It helps protect us against food poisoning, listeria, salmonella, and E. coli. The mildest of these symptoms are certainly inconvenient, but the more serious conditions can result in death. The safest way to consume meat is by ensuring it’s thoroughly cooked before eating it.