My clients ask me about many different diet programs and what I think of the overall effectiveness of each. A number of them have asked me about the Raw Food Diet so I thought it would be a good topic to cover in today's article.
The Raw Food Diet has been around for some time now, so unlike some upstart programs, we have actual data to work with. Of course, many models and Hollywood types swear by this diet program but if history has taught us anything, we need to look closely and any diet coming from those sources.
The raw food diet is just that. You eat the bulk of your food in its raw state. Depending on the program, this can equal 75-80% of your meal with some die hards looking at the 85-90% range. Why should the food be raw? Many believe that when you cook the food you lose many of the helpful nutrients and more importantly destroy natural enzymes that help in the process digestion. Some of us already include many raw foods into our regular diets but not normally at those suggested levels.
Is It A Good Idea To Be On The Raw Food Diet?
There are some good and not so good points with this diet. Good points include the introduction of fresh fruits and vegetables which many of us do not tend to get enough of in our daily diets. Generally, the raw food diet also includes such items as fresh made juices, seaweed (if you can handle it), seeds (sunflower, etc.) and nuts. You can include dried fruits if the drying process does not require high temperatures as this would be considered 'cooking' the fruit. All of these foods will introduce additional nutrients that you body requires, which is always a good thing. Some doctors also advocate that the more raw foods you eat, the less likely you will contract diseases such as cancer.
Now for some not so good points. The diets where you eat 80-90% raw food actually requires you to become a vegetarian or vegan. Although this lifestyle has its benefits many of us are not looking in that direction as we just want to lose weight. With the 75-80% plan, there is still some flexibility to eat other foods thus becoming a vegetarian is not required. Proteins are required in our everyday diets and although nuts contain protein, only meats contain essential amino acids in levels that we need. Raw food diets also tend to be higher in natural fiber, which can lead to some embarrassing moments if we are not use to eating these foods. Organic foods do cost more but are also suggested as non-organic will tend to be exposed to pesticides, which could lead to medical issues if you are ingesting large quantities. Many doctors believe that a diet at even 75-80% raw food might be to much as it is not a true balanced diet. They all agree that raw foods are required in a healthy diet but these levels are a little high.
Would I suggest the raw food diet for weight loss?
If you are planning on a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, go for it as you have already made that choice. For the rest of us, eating such a high level of raw foods can become very uncomfortable if not boring. It is sort of like investing in the stock market. If you invest to heavily in one type of stock, you will not have a balanced portfolio and you are putting your money at risk. The same can be said bout your diet. It needs to be well-balanced (meats, fruits and vegetables) to introduce weight loss and ensure that your body is not put at risk. Properly cooked foods will still provide you with the nutrients that you body needs and adding additional raw foods will help make it a better balanced diet. A healthy and well balanced diet will help you lose your excess weight quicker than you can imagine and without any gimmicks.