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Raw food diet

Related Terms

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Background

  • The raw foods diet is based entirely on the consumption of uncooked foods as a majority of an individual's entire nutritional intake. A person who consumes a raw foods diet is sometimes referred to as a raw foodist. Followers of the raw foods diet may eat fresh or dehydrated vegetables, nuts, and fruits, as well as sprouted seeds, grains, and legumes. Some individuals may also consume unpasteurized dairy products or raw eggs, fish, and meat. Pasteurization heats foods and liquids to about 63°C (145°F), which is over the food temperature limit observed by most raw foodists.
  • The primary rationale behind following the raw foods diet is that the enzymes present in uncooked foods become inactive when heated. Raw foodists believe that these uncooked food enzymes aid digestion, thereby potentially allowing the body to devote more of its energy towards other bodily processes, such as immune system functioning.
  • The publication of Leslie Kenton's book, "The New Raw Energy" in 1986 popularized the consumption of sprouts, fresh vegetable juices, and seeds as a dietary option.
  • Advocates of the raw foods diet claim that eating uncooked foods may help to prevent a variety of diseases, including diabetes, fibromyalgia, acne, migraines, back pain, neck and joint pain, asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hypoglycemia, colitis, diverticulitis, yeast infection, arthritis, allergies, depression, anxiety, mood swings, heartburn, gas, bloating, skin diseases, obesity, chronic fatigue, and various types of cancers. Many adherents believe that in addition to destroying enzymes, which assist in digestion, cooking food may also change the chemical structure of foods in a way that makes them more toxic.
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Diet

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Theory/Evidence

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Safety

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.