How Healthy is the Raw Food Diet?

Q: What are the health benefits of a raw food diet?

A: The raw food diet is a special type of vegan or vegetarian eating in which no cooked foods are consumed (which eliminates the safe consumption of most meat products).

People who stick to a raw food diet (itís hard to do!!) often consume fewer fats (many of which come from the oils and butter used in cooking). This leads to better cardiovascular health.

Cooking fruits and vegetables can decrease the amounts of Vitamin C and the B vitamins, so eating a raw diet will likely increase your consumption of these healthy nutrients, too.

Just like any vegetarian diet, you need to make certain that you are not robbing your body of important nutrients, particularly proteins. Practitioners of raw food diets have also been found to have thinner bones.

If this is a path you are interested in exploring more, I recommend finding a nutritionist to work with you to create a healthy diet plan that you can eventually manage independently.

Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.

Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at drbrent@care2.com.

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34 comments

Roxanne N.
Roxanne N.3 years ago

Ah, the paranoia about protein. Most Americans and other Westerners have the opposite problem--too much protein and acidic blood from all the animal products, which is turn pulls calcium out of the bones to tone down the acidity and voila--you get thinner bones and osteoporosis. So where is the research on raw food eaters and thinner bones. i would like a reference please. And then see the studies that showed this, ie how many people did they look at, how did they measure the bones, did the people in the study have osteoporosis, fractures, etc. And who paid for it. Throwing out these vague statements is ridiculous and just seems to be a ploy to make the practice look bad.

Laurie D.
Laurie D.3 years ago

I lived on a raw diet for many years and physically THRIVED!! It was the healthiest I've ever been -- and I'm trying to regain that now. (What took me off it? I wanted "comfort foods...") If you too are interested in raising your quality of health, I would recommend reading raw food books to get you started. This isn't just a diet of living on salads -- you need to ferment and sprout some of your foods as well to stay healthy.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.3 years ago

I bet it depends on your liver!

Shannon B.
Shannon M.3 years ago

People on raw food diets have thinner bones? Seriously? What was your test group? How did you compare the groups? When was this study done? WHO PAID FOR IT? Anyway... raw food has much more nourishment then cooked food, how could it possibly deprive you of anything? Do people actually buy this?

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers3 years ago

Thanks for he article.

Eddie C.
Past Member 3 years ago

Some good stuff here, but of course there is that protein paranoia. Ask a 3 year old, 600 lb. cow if she is worried about getting enough protein.

roseann s.
rose ann s.3 years ago

ty for all this valuable info..

Nimue Pendragon
Nimue Pendragon3 years ago

Worried about B12? Eat dirt. Raw of course :)

Jennifer C.
Past Member 4 years ago

Great article. Thanks for sharing.

K s Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.