The Raw Food Diet

Lately it seems that there�s a new diet craze every week, from the Macrobiotic diet to the Atkins diet, all claiming to be the best way to lose that extra weight. Some target carbohydrates as being the bad guys, while others believe protein is to blame for America's battle with the bulge.

The raw food diet is a new diet food program that claims to be the key to healthy, fast weight loss. What is the raw food diet and what are the benefits and risks associated with it? If you're thinking of changing to a raw food diet, then read on!

The Raw Food Diet Program

The raw food diet weight loss program is based on the consumption of unprocessed and uncooked foods, preferably organic, whole plant-based foods.

Staples of the raw food diet include:

  • fresh fruits and vegetables
  • seeds
  • nuts
  • seaweed
  • legumes
  • grains
  • dried fruits
  • purified water
  • fresh fruit juices
  • milk from young coconut

Foods are not cooked because it is believed that raw, or living, foods have more essential enzymes that help the digestive process. Cooking, on the other hand, is believed to destroy these enzymes.

The only cooking allowed in raw food diets is done through a dehydrator, a special machine that blows hot air through food without ever reaching a temperature of more than 116 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the raw food diet, food is generally prepared from scratch through blending, chopping and juicing; a food processor is also often used to prepare meals.

Benefits of The Raw Food Diet

The raw food diet has been touted by its supporters as having many health benefits, including:

  • boosting energy levels
  • improving the appearance of the skin
  • reducing the risk of heart disease
  • improving digestion
  • lowering weight

Because it contains little to no saturated fat, little salt, and is high in fiber and potassium, the raw food diet has been associated with lowered cholesterol (an assertion which is backed up by findings from a recent study), and lowering the risk of some cancers, as well as diabetes.

The Raw Food Diet: Risks and Side Effects

A reaction to the detoxification process of the raw food diet can include headaches, nausea and mild depression. These symptoms generally only last for a few days.

Some experts question the benefits of the raw diet; studies have shown that some phytochemicals - plant chemicals containing disease-preventative properties - are more easily absorbed by the body when cooked, as is the case with lycopene found in tomatoes and carotenoids found in carrots.

Critics of raw food diets also state that it doesn�t matter if food is heated. While the heating process does inactivate some enzymes found in food, the body uses its own enzymes for digestion.

Some critics also claim that the raw food diet is not appropriate for the following people:

  • pregnant women
  • people with anemia
  • people at risk of developing osteoporosis
  • children

However, many women have experienced successful pregnancies on the raw food diet, and some suggest that it is not the raw food diet but rather insufficient variety and quantities that are a cause for concern in children.

Always talk to your doctor before starting any weight loss programs, and make sure to gather appropriate information before drastically changing your diet. This is especially true if you fall into any of the above listed categories.

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