The founder of the raw food diet is considered by many to be the Swiss nutritionist Maximilian Berer-Benner. He believed that instead of consuming large amounts of white bread and meat, it is better to eat vegetables, fruits, and nuts. It is worth clarifying that the nutritionist insisted only on a partial rejection of an excessive amount of flour and meat products, and not on a complete transition to vegetables and fruits.
The idea of a raw food diet began to actively develop. Over time, such a food culture has acquired several directions, the followers of each of which are called:
- omnivorous raw food eaters – they eat any food, the heat treatment of which does not exceed, on average, 33-48 degrees;
- cheese-vegetarians – do not consume meat and fish products, however, raw eggs and dairy products may be present in their diet;
- fruitorians – they eat only nuts, seeds, berries and fruits;
- Jusorians – prefer juices and cocktails from vegetables and fruits;
- sprutorians – the basis of the menu is sprouted grains, seeds and legumes.
The pros and cons of a raw food diet
Let’s start with the cons. As a rule, ardent fans of a raw food diet do without the participation and supervision of a doctor. However, I believe that following such a diet clearly requires the involvement of a therapist or gastroenterologist. A raw food diet isn’t for everyone.
Larisa Selivanova, a gastroenterologist at the ON Clinic Kharkiv Sports Palace Medical Center, notes:
“A raw food diet is only indicated for people with a healthy digestive system. It is better for patients with gastrointestinal tract diseases to refuse such food. Raw foods are fortified with fiber, which irritates the mucous membranes of the digestive system. This leads to an upset stomach, increased gas production, exacerbation of gastritis, the development of irritable bowel syndrome. “
Doctors do not recommend switching to a raw food diet for children, pregnant and lactating women, as well as those who have been diagnosed with heart and liver problems. In most cases, the raw food eater eats 2 or even 3 times more food than people who eat the usual way.
This is easy to explain: the feeling of fullness from raw foods does not come immediately. To satisfy hunger, portions of the raw foodist are increased in size. Of course, the load from the eaten falls on all internal organs and systems, because the body needs to process the incoming food. Moreover, the quality of modern products is far from ideal. And if raw vegetables and fruits contain chemicals (such as nitrates), their concentration in the body also increases. On average, in proportion to the size of the food eaten. Because of this, the liver suffers, which is responsible for cleaning the body.
The medical journal “BMJ” published the results of 16 studies conducted in the USA, Asia and Europe on the issue of consumption of fruits and vegetables. Scientists have concluded that each serving reduces the risk of premature death. However, after 5 servings, their healing effect is not for the benefit of human health.
The World Health Organization also does not recommend eating more than 5 servings of vegetables and fruits. This norm includes both fresh and canned vegetables and fruits, juices and dried fruits.
Now about the pros. Of course, food that doesn’t take long to cook saves time, especially if you have a blender, juicer or food processor. In addition, raw vegetables and fruits do contain many nutrients, including
Hello, I am your Fiber!
cellulose. According to one American study, they improve heart health, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease. And the consumption of nuts and sprouted grains – the level of cholesterol in the blood.
It is also proven that a raw food diet:
- prevents the appearance of diabetes mellitus due to the high fiber content in raw vegetables and fruits;
- helps to lose weight;
- normalizes stool, digestive processes due to the presence of dietary fiber, which is an excellent prevention of constipation.
Myths and reality
Myth # 1. Raw food contains enough nutrients for health.
Unfortunately, 100% compliance with a raw food diet will lead to the fact that a person will no longer receive the required amount of protein, B vitamins, zinc, selenium and vitamin D. In particular, a lack of vitamin B12 leads to anemia, heart disease, damage to the nervous system, threatens infertility and bone problems.
A large amount of protein is found in fish, poultry (chicken, turkey), eggs, nuts and legumes, low-fat dairy products (for example, yogurt, milk). B vitamins play an important role in cellular metabolism and are mainly found in:
- liver, meat, kidneys (B3 is involved in the synthesis of fats and proteins);
- fish caviar, heart, kidneys, egg yolks, yeast (B5 – in the synthesis of antibodies);
- boiled eggs, liver, kidneys, meat and dairy products (B7 – in the synthesis of glucose, amino acids and fatty acids);
- products of animal origin: liver, yolks, fermented milk products (B12 – in the formation of erythrocytes, is responsible for the functioning of the nervous system).
Selenium provides a healthy thyroid gland and is found in large quantities in turkey and duck liver, chicken eggs. Zinc takes part in many metabolic processes and is found in sufficient quantities in beef, lamb, pork, processed cheese and liver.
As for vitamin D, this biologically active substance is synthesized in our skin under the influence of ultraviolet radiation and ensures the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. This vitamin is found in small amounts in food of animal origin. For example, in fatty fish, egg yolks, butter, cheese. With a lack of sunlight, it can be obtained from food. However, its intake only from the listed foodstuffs is still not able to provide the daily rate, and even more so from food of plant origin.
American scientist Don Bennett wrote in his publication Cancer Prevention and Vitamin D that vitamin D is a nutrient that cannot be obtained from natural, unprocessed, healthy foods.
Doctor-proctologist of the ON Clinic Dnepr medical center Anna Rufanova says:
“Raw vegetables contain difficult-to-digest fiber, which is only broken down in the intestines. Heat treatment softens the fiber, which makes it easier for the gastrointestinal tract. For bowel problems, raw foodists are often diagnosed with flatulence, bowel disease. “
Myth # 2. Raw food is healthier
This is a myth, even though heat does destroy some vitamins, in particular vitamin C. However, certain foods after heat treatment are better absorbed by our body. These include tomatoes, asparagus and mushrooms. Heat treatment also protects us from the action of pathogenic microorganisms contained in raw foods.
Doctor-pediatrician of the medical center “ON Clinic Kharkov Palace of Sports” Alina Borisyuk says:
“A raw food diet is not suitable for children. Raw food is very rough for a child’s body, which can lead to diseases of the digestive system. And for the full growth of a child, he needs protein and fats, calcium and phosphorus, which are found in large quantities in meat and fish. “
Practicing nutritionists and gastroenterologists believe that a raw food diet can be called an effective diet only for the treatment of certain diseases. In particular, diseases of the heart and blood vessels, kidneys, as well as to restore the intestinal microflora. This helps to choose a balanced menu that effectively restores the functioning of the intestines, kidneys, heart and blood vessels. However, such a diet is temporary and forced. Medical practice has shown that with this approach, a raw food diet can have a health-improving effect.
Some psychologists classify the raw food diet as a type of eating disorder (in particular, orthorexia). They believe that a person who is too obsessed with a healthy diet experiences constant anxiety about food. However, it lacks common sense. If a person pays sufficient attention to their health, this is normal. But giving too much attention to food and reacting painfully to food eaten in spite of the chosen food system speaks of mental obsession.
I will add: any restriction in food on an ongoing basis can lead to a lack of nutrients in the body. If you want to be a raw foodist and lead
How is a healthy lifestyle beneficial?
a healthy lifestyle, discuss this with your doctor. If there are no contraindications, gradually switch to a raw food diet.
Do you have any experience with a raw food diet and what is it like?