The summer heat may be inspiring you to give your stove a break — but could you give up cooked foods for good? Proponents of the raw food diet say you can and should.
The raw food diet comprises unheated foods and foods heated to no more than 115 degrees. Advocates of the diet claim that it wards away cancer, diabetes and other health problems, because powerful enzymes that aid in health are not destroyed through cooking.
“There’s no question in my mind that this is the way man was meant to eat,” says Brian Clement, Ph.D., the co-director of Hippocrates Health Institute, which incorporates a raw food diet to support the healing of its patients. “It’s not magic, it’s chemistry we’re talking about.”
But not everyone is touting the diet’s benefits.
“Scientifically, there isn’t a lot of evidence that supports the benefits of a raw food diet above and beyond what a healthy vegan or vegetation diet would offer,” says Monika Saigal, a registered dietitian. “There are some nutrients that are actually more available when foods are cooked.”
Saigal also says that going on the diet takes work.
“I think for the majority of the population, it’s very difficult to meet your nutritional needs on a raw foods diet. It takes a lot of time and preparation to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need,” she says.
If you think the diet is right for you, Clement first recommends reducing your intake of meat and dairy, and then going totally raw on a gradual basis.
“You don’t have to take this lock, stock and barrel,” he says. “Take your time, and it’s so easy to do.”
Follow Meredith Engel on Twitter @MeredithatMetro.