When it comes to weight loss a lot of people have tried everything, low carbs, no carbs, diet pills, and many others. However, there is a diet that is not heard of as often and it is the Raw Food Diet. This diet has been used for years and it can allow a person to lose a good amount of weight, however, there are arguments that claim this is not the healthiest way to lose excess weight.
The Raw Food Diet is a diet that consists of eating 75% of foods in raw form. This means there is no processing or cooking allowed. People who swear by the raw food diet believe that eating food in the rawest form allows for the best nutrient absorption into the body. It is believed that cooking foods that above 116 degrees F strips the food of its highest quality nutrient value. The raw food diet is a vegetarian based diet that involves eating plant based foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, beans, sprouts, seaweed, and seeds.
This diet may have several benefits which include, weight loss, higher energy levels, better skin, quickening metabolism, and reducing the risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Since the raw food diet eliminates the need for butter, margarine, oils, sodium, and sugars, the body does not have to process any un-natural dietary elements that clog arteries or cause weight gain. Foods in the rawest form also digest much quicker which causes the body to eliminate them quicker. The only fats that the body is taking in are the healthy fats that come from nuts and seeds. Therefore, it is easier to drop weight and lose excess fat on the body.
Some of the side effects of a raw food diet may include becoming deficient in calories, fats, calcium, protein, B12, and iron. This is not a diet that one should try to maintain while pregnant, or nursing. Also children should not live on a raw food diet since they may not consume enough calories or enough of these important vitamins and minerals for adequate growth. Others that should stay away from a raw food diet are people suffering from anemia or osteoarthritis. It is not uncommon for one to experience a detoxification process after starting the raw food diet. Those that have lived off of a diet rich in sugar, sodium, caffeine or meat may experience side effects for the first few days. Headaches and diarrhea may occur but usually pass once the body has adjusted to the new diet. Although people who consume a raw food diet often do not believe in taking store bought vitamins, those who are trying to use the raw food diet for weight loss may benefit from taking extra vitamins to reduce the risk of becoming deficient in any essential vitamin or mineral needed to stay healthy and active.
If you are considering starting the raw food diet it is best to consult your physician or your dietician. Your doctor may want to monitor your vitamin intake. A dietitian may be able to help you choose foods that will fulfill your dietary needs. Once you start a raw food diet it may be hard on your body to switch back to eating processed foods once again. There may be side effects to eating foods that your body has adjusted to living without. So keep this in mind. You may want to eventually introduce cooked and processed foods back into your diet slowly. The same applies for switching to the raw food diet. It is best to start the transition slowly. Make sure you eliminate certain foods one at a time in order to make the diet change a smooth one. This will help lessen the likelihood of side effects.
Jackie Hogan, MS, RD is a registered dietitian based in Los Angeles. She is a member of the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (CAND-LAD) and the Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine Practice Group and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Jackie has been featured on Women’s Health, Fitness Magazine, Women’s Fitness, and Men’s Fitness magazine.