Eating Raw Foods: Does It Help With Weight Loss?

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

Eating raw foods is a popular way to lose weight. More people are going raw by munching on fruits and vegetables and other uncooked food options to help shave off extra pounds and body fat. But is going raw really an effective strategy for weight loss? Find out more about raw foods and whether they help with weight control.

Raw Food Weight Loss: What is a Raw Food Diet?

True raw foodists eat food in its most natural, unprocessed and uncooked state. They believe heating food to high temperatures destroys its natural enzymes and nutrients. Not surprisingly, they eat mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts – raw, of course. When they do heat food, they don’t raise the temperature above 118 degrees Fahrenheit and they usually “cook” their food in a food dehydrator.

Will You Lose More Weight By Going Raw?

There are some benefits to eating raw foods to lose weight. Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories, and when you eat them raw you don’t get the additional calories from the oil and butter used to cook them.

Eating raw foods, particularly raw vegetables, is a license to indulge since it’s hard to eat enough raw celery or broccoli to exceed your calorie quota for the day. Munching on raw vegetables throughout the day makes you feel like you’re eating a lot without taking in a lot of calories. Not surprisingly, most raw foodies have a low BMI and less body fat than the average population.

Raw Food Weight Loss: The Disadvantages

Eating raw foods can certainly help with weight loss, but it’s a difficult diet to stick with – for obvious reasons – and there are some drawbacks. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that raw dieters have lower bone densities, and raw vegetarians are more susceptible to vitamin and nutrient deficiencies including low levels of calcium, iron and vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is found only in animal-based foods and a B12 deficiency can cause permanent neurological damage. If you eat a raw food diet, you’ll also get fewer omega-3 fatty acids in your diet as well.

Going Raw for Weight Loss: Is It Smart?

Eating raw foods exclusively may be difficult to sustain long-term, and the risk of nutritional deficiencies and bone loss is higher. A compromise is to eat more raw foods – without going completely raw. Snack on raw vegetables and nuts throughout the day as an alternative to processed snack like chips and cookies. Instead of going raw completely, make a third or half of your diet raw. This is a more sustainable and healthier way to use raw food for weight loss.
References:

Web MD. “Raw Food Diet”
Medscape.com. ‘Raw Food Diet May Cause Low BMD”


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