Raw food diet – Processing techniques, Disadvantages and Controversies

The raw food diet is a naturist diet that is distinguished by one great commandment: DO NOT cook food.
The first foundations of the raw food diet can be traced back to the “Gospel of Peace”, a sacred text belonging to the Jewish lineage of the Essenes, while in the last century its diffusion is mainly due to “independent or naturist” doctors such as HM Shelton.

A very important quote for supporters of the raw food diet is that of Gandhi, in his last book of 1949, “Regime and food reform”:

To get rid of an illness, the use of fire in the preparation of dinner must be suppressed

Currently, the raw food diet or raw food it is a food style that is very fashionable in the USA, thanks to its diffusion among Hollywood celebrities; its success is mainly attributable to an alleged anti-aging action of raw foods and to the dissemination of a principle according to which human nutrition IS BORN raw and must remain so, as heat, as a processing technique of food, represents a recent innovation, of little use or even of dubious health.
According to the raw food diet, the use of fire in the kitchen inhibits the perception of satiety, induces excessive palatability and gives foods a “soft” consistency, making them unnatural; cooking is responsible for the destruction of vitamins, enzymes, auxones and protein coagulation.

Definitely, the raw food diet renounces the traditional heat treatment of food, considering cooked food as an unpleasant ballast for the body.

Processing techniques allowed

Although in the raw food diet the food is not subjected to cooking, the food can still be taken in the form of a smoothie, centrifuged, pureed, chunks or juice, and can be subjected to dehydration, germination or marinade.
Food can also be dried at a maximum temperature of 42°C.
In all these ways, the food preserves the nutritional properties of which it is composed in the best possible way and, in the case of germination, it is enriched with more nutrients.

Temperatures below 42°C…

According to the raw food diet, “42” expresses the maximum temperature to which food can be subjected before being eaten. According to this food philosophy, exceeding 42°C would compromise the nutrients, vitamins, mineral salts and enzymes present in the food.

Disadvantages and Controversies

From a food point of view, the raw food diet is fully associated with conventional nutrition, suggesting to increase the frequency of consumption of fruit and above all raw vegetables, aiming at the conservation of some heat-sensitive nutritional principles such as vitamins (not all) and antioxidants. Obviously, this is a principle that subordinates the AVAILABILITY and the TYPE of food, as well as the seasonality of the foods. It would be curious to see the physiological reaction induced by the digestion of raw potatoes, turnips and beets; not to mention chestnuts and legumes. Shouldn’t it be a rousing sight!

Furthermore (quote from those who tried it), it seems that the raw food diet often induces adverse intestinal reactions, such as abdominal tension, bloating and gas flatulence; practically, the exact opposite of what a potential consumer might expect from a “natural” diet.

Especially in women, the raw food diet does NOT improve resistance to low temperatures, on the contrary, the abolition of hot foods favors the perception of the cold, further reducing the practicability of this diet in the winter season.

From a hygienic point of view, the raw food diet is a real disaster. The followers of this food style cling to slightly bizarre concepts, demonizing pasteurized or sterilized food; obviously, according to raw foodists this also applies to animal feed and in the appropriate web spaces it is possible to read ravings about possible economic speculations in the veterinary field (better not to go into further detail). If this may seem like a potentially risky attitude for the spread of diseases on farms, a pitiful veil should be drawn on the wholesomeness of foods intended for human consumption. The INEVITABLE presence of parasites (Entamoeba histolytica/disper, Giardia lamblia, Trichuris trichiura, Strongyloides stercoralis, Ancylostoma duodenale, Ascaris lumbricoides, Hymenolepis nana, Taenia solium, Taenia saginata, Echinococcus granulosus, Enterobius vermicularis), molds (Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium, Alternaria) and bacteria (Clostridium botulinum and perfringens, Bacillus Cereus, Salmonella typhi and paratyphi, Staffilococcus aureus etc.) in foods is an unknown factor that should not be underestimated. Suffice it to say that for a pregnant woman, adherence to the raw food diet would dramatically increase the risk of complications for the unborn child, such as fetal malformations or miscarriage. The same is true for immunosuppressed patients such as chemotherapy and AIDS patients.

We also remind the followers of the raw food diet that the enzymes contained in food are in any case denatured by the gastric pH and subsequently split by the pancreatic and intestinal peptidases; therefore, the presence or absence of these active molecules in food is an unknown factor that does not affect us in the slightest.
Contrary to what the raw food diet claims, cooking is a process which, if carried out properly, facilitates digestion and, in some cases, also favors the absorption of nutrients (such as the biotin contained in egg white).

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