Raw vegan diets are more popular than ever. But are we made to eat only raw food? Do we get all the necessary nutrients with a raw food diet? And is it healthy in the long run? The answers are no, no and you don’t know for sure.
Advantages of a raw vegan diet
A raw vegan diet has advantages in any case, it can
- help sb. lose weight
- improve blood lipids
- lower blood sugar
- Relieve digestive complaints
- raise the energy level
- improve sleep
- eliminate the desire for unhealthy food.
The fact is, however, that we humans are adapted to eat part of our food in cooked form. Many nutrients only become available when they have been heat-treated in some form. A good mix of raw food and cooked food would, therefore, be ideal.
Nutrient supply in a raw vegan diet
Pure raw food lacks protein, vitamin B12, B2, B1, vitamin D, calcium, selenium, iodine, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. If you eat very little fat at the same time (e.g. no nuts and seeds), you may experience a general low-calorie diet and an undersupply that is perceived by the body as a threat.
Some secondary plant compounds also become more readily available when the food is heated. Beta-carotene, for example, is better absorbed from cooked foods than from raw ones.
Lycopene also becomes more available when the tomatoes are cooked. Nevertheless, most people who eat pure raw food feel energized and good – as long as this is the case and no physical deficiency symptoms occur, there is nothing to prevent them from eating raw food for a longer period of time.
However, there are no studies that show that a raw vegan diet is healthier than a predominantly vegetable, wholesome and low-fat diet, which is a mixture of cooked and raw foods.
Risks of raw vegan diet
The alarm bells should sound when women fail to menstruate – a classic side effect of the raw food diet. If the body fat percentage falls below a certain percentage, amenorrhea occurs. Some young women even eat extra raw vegan in order to provoke a lack of menstruation. If you want to have children, this can understandably become a problem.
A pure diet with raw food can also cause severe digestive problems (abdominal pain and flatulence) in sensitive people. By the way, this is the main reason why many raw food beginners go back to a mixed diet.
If you eat raw vegan and don’t have any health problems, you should still add
- take a potent vitamin B12 preparation
- eat about 500 g green leafy vegetables daily
- take at least 50 g of nuts and seeds a day
If you do not menstruate and would like to have children, you should consider whether this is the right form of nutrition for you, or whether you should not eat part of your food in cooked form again. Also the fat portion should not fall below 10% of the total calories, so that the body fat portion does not sink too strongly. With an average calorie requirement of 2000 kcal this would be about 20 g fat.
Should children be fed raw vegan?
Under no circumstances should children be fed raw vegan, the risk of severe deficiency symptoms is too high. At least 40% of the diet should be cooked – in the form of potatoes, whole grains and vegetables. Grilled, cooked or roasted tofu is also a good supplement to a predominantly raw vegan diet.
Which foods should be eaten raw and which cooked?
These foods can and should be eaten raw:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Nuts & Seeds
- Germinated cereals
- Sweet potatoes
These foods should not be eaten raw:
- Raw wholemeal cereals
Conclusion: Is a raw vegan diet healthy?
A raw vegan diet has health benefits and can be taken over a longer period of time if it does not cause any discomfort.
A raw vegan diet can result in a lack of protein and various vitamins and minerals
Compared to a full-fledged, vegetable and low-fat diet, the raw vegan diet has no advantages
if menstruation fails, more fat and cooked food should be added to the diet
Children should not be fed raw vegan food to prevent deficiency symptoms.
Do you have any questions on this subject? Then feel free to leave me a comment!