You Asked: Is the Raw Food Diet for Weight Loss Really Healthy?By Rob Poulos...
We all know that eating processed food isn’t good for our waistlines–but what if all you ate were vegetables, fruits, and nuts? Even to the most conscious dieter, the idea seems extreme, but in some parts of the United States, such as southern California, it’s soon becoming the latest diet fad.
The name? The raw food diet.
What is the Raw Food Diet?
So here’s the claim: By eating nothing but raw fruits, vegetables, and the obsessional handful of nuts, you’ll load your body with healthful enzymes–and lose weight naturally in the process. Theoretically, this isn’t far from the truth; fruits and vegetables are swimming with those good-for-you phytochemicals that can do everything from improve your immune system to cancer prevention.
And, of course, if you’re eating nothing but fruits and vegetables, you won’t eat many calories. Weight loss? A cinch.
According to U.S. News, getting slim couldn’t be easier with this plan–typical raw food dieters eat half the calories consumed during a normal cooked diet plan. Their intake of saturated fat and sodium is also virtually non-existent, since these components are commonly found in cooked, and oftentimes processed foods. That sounds like a great boost to your health–but not so fast.
Is a Raw Food Diet for Weight Loss Healthy?
Although you can expect your calorie (and fat) count to be low with a raw food diet plan, it’s not a perfect plan: Some nutritionists even say it’s dangerous.
Why? Turns out raw food diets are often correlated with a higher risk of disordered eating or eating disordered behavior because it promotes severe food restriction; many people who follow this plan are also former anorexics. Some nutritionists even say raw food dieters could develop an eating disorder called orthorexia, an eating disorder where a person is overly concerned with the purity and health of foods. While worrying about the health of some foods isn’t a bad thing, it is when it becomes an obsession–an obsession raw food dieters could develop.
Furthermore, raw food diets may be rich in phytochemicals but they lack other healthful nutrients you’ll only find in meat and fatty sources. The biggest risk: Not getting enough fat, which can trigger depression and reproductive problems. You’ll also struggle to get enough protein, since most protein sources are cooked, not served in raw form.
Is the Raw Food Diet Right for Me?
Although the raw food diet is more likely to make you slimmer, it’s not always the best bet: With a severe lack of fat and protein, you may also lose more muscle mass in the process, which can decrease your metabolism and actually make it harder to lose fat. Raw food diets also aren’t a good idea because of its highly restrictive nature; for most people, abstaining from cooked foods for the rest of their lives seems unfathomable, and it probably is.
Recommendation: It may seem healthy, but it’s far too restrictive and protein-deficient to make it a good diet plan. We recommend a diet plan that includes a balance of micro nutrients protein, fat, and carbohydrates for long-lasting, maintainable results instead.