In an age where eating healthy can often times lead people to strange and exotic diets, it should come as no surprise that there are diets built around everything from only eating foods which early man had access too, like the Paleo diet to eating raw foods.
To many considering this diet, the idea of detoxifying their bodies and improving overall health is very alluring, and many who actively follow this diet swear by it as a safe and effective way to loose a lot of weight and get rid of toxins in the body, but just what is the raw food diet?
What is The Raw Food Diet?
The raw food diet is a type of vegan diet focused on primarily on the consumption of unprocessed– preferably organic– whole foods that are almost all uncooked. According to practitioners of the diet, you should eat at least 75% of your caloric intake in the form of raw vegetables and fruits, juices, seeds and nuts along with seaweeds.
Sound good and healthy in theory?
There’s a problem. Several, in fact. In this article we’re going to cover three of the biggest:
Irritability and Fatigue
One of the most common side effects of a raw food diet is irritability and fatigue. This is because the body is trying to deal with the sudden change in diet while breaking down the raw food you’ve consumed.
Major nutrient deficiencies:
This is an especially important side effect of the raw food diet. Since the diet precludes you from eating a wide variety of foods, many of which contain essential protein, amino acids and complex vitamins, your body will not have the energy to function correctly and may in fact shut down if this goes on too long.
According to an article published in the October 2005 issue of the “American Society for Nutritional Sciences,” a German study on people whose diet consisted of more than 70% raw food, mostly fruits and vegetables, found that the diet had a positive effect on ‘bad’ cholesterol but it raised levels of homocysteine. This is a type of amino acid believed to increase the risk of heart disease.
The article also noted meta-statistics from many studies which found that those who followed vegan diets were much more likely to die from heart disease compared to those who followed a vegetarian diet which included dairy and eggs.
While the glossy surface of weight loss programs like the raw food diet may appear to be the healthy and natural, there’s no question that the change from a diet rich in processed foods, heavy fats and plentiful sugars will be a major shock to the system and could lead to very serious health complications down the line.
Nowhere is this more clearly evidenced than when looking at the side effects of the raw food diet. Those who have preexisting health conditions, especially ones related to blood sugar and nutrient problems, should consult a doctor and nutritionist before beginning any regeim as unusual as this one.