It is an intriguing concept – that heating food above 116 degrees Fahrenheit destroys essential enzymes that assist us in the digestion of the food we eat, and that the very act of cooking food diminishes the nutritional value and “life force” of food. The irony is – the body creates its own enzymes for digestion, and the act of cooking makes certain phytochemicals easier to absorb, such as beta-carotene in carrots.
But it is easy to see why people are attracted to a raw food diet as there are a number of benefits for general health such as weight control as it is difficult, if not impossible, to become obese on a raw food diet plan. Better digestion, increased energy, a stronger immune system, mental clarity and creativity, and improved skin condition are among other advantages. It is also believed, and other studies have proved, that eating a raw food diet can play a significant role in the fight against certain heart diseases and other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, and that cancer can be prevented. There are fewer trans fats and saturated fat in raw food diet plans than in the typical American diet, and is low in sodium, high in potassium, magnesium, folate, and fiber.
The list of raw foods for the raw food diet include fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, grains, legumes, dried fruit, seaweed, unprocessed organic or natural foods, fresh fruit and vegetable juice, purified water, and young coconut milk.
The trouble is sticking to a diet such as this can be difficult, as is the time and preparation it takes to make raw food appetizing. Another drawback to the raw food diet menu is the unsuitability of the diet for children, nursing mothers, and pregnant women.
One of the more serious risks for anyone looking to achieve weight loss on a raw food diet is that they may find themselves becoming fanatical about it and subsequently develop an eating disorder called orthorexia nervosa, which is a term applied to someone who succumbs to a pathological fixation to eating ‘proper,’ ‘pure,’ or ‘superior foods’ to a point where it takes over their lives.
However, it is also the considerable lack of nutrients that may result from adhering to such a diet that could have the most negative impact on the body. While it is undoubtedly true that many of the foods on the raw food diet list would be generally wholesome, certain nutrients such as protein, B vitamins, calcium, and iron would be seriously lacking. For instance, a report for the American Society for Nutritional Sciences concluded that a very low intake of B-12 that could occur as a result of adopting a diet as extreme as a raw food diet could be harmful in the prevention of coronary heart disease, as opposed to the known positive effects of vegetables in a less extreme diet regimen.
In another study published by the Journal of Nutrition, Metabolic Diseases and Dietetics it was discovered that 30% of the women under the age of 45 participating in the tests had partial to complete amenorrhea as a result and that 90% of those eating high amounts of raw food were affected more frequently than those on a moderate raw food regimen. It was also found that although a raw food diet could lead to significant weight loss, many of the raw food dieters actually became underweight and suffered from amenorrhea. The researchers concluded that “a very strict” raw food diet was not recommended for long term health.
Striking a balance between eating healthily, at the same time sensibly, is the key for anyone considering diets that one might call extreme – but that is exactly what the team at www.changingshape.com do every day for thousands of people each year. Using their expert nutritionists and professional fitness coaches, changingshape.com provide the bridge that allows dieters to find the eating and exercise plan they are happy with and can follow reasonably in an effort to lose weight or just maintain a healthy lifestyle for years to come.