Though the raw vegan diet is not new, it has recently gained popularity.
It combines vegan principles with raw food principles.
While some people follow it for environmental or ethical reasons, the majority do so for the alleged health benefits. Improved heart health, a lower risk of diabetes, and weight loss are among them.
On the other hand, a completely raw vegan diet may pose some health risks if not properly planned. Be sure to research how to be a healthy vegan.
This article examines the raw vegan diet, including its advantages and disadvantages.
What Is a Raw Vegan Diet?
Veganism is classified into two types: raw veganism and veganism.
It, like veganism, forbids all foods derived from animals.
Then it introduces raw foodism, which states that foods should be eaten completely raw or heated at temperatures between 104 and 118 degrees Fahrenheit (40 and 48 degrees Celsius).
Eating only raw foods has been around since the mid-nineteenth century when the Presbyterian minister and dietary reformer Sylvester Graham promoted it as a way to stay healthy.
Fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, sprouted grains, and legumes are common components of a raw vegan diet. It is also naturally low in processed foods.
Those who choose a raw vegan diet are frequently motivated by health concerns.
They believe raw and minimally heated foods are more nutritious than cooked foods.
Instead of cooking, alternative meal preparation methods such as juicing, blending, soaking, sprouting, and dehydrating are used.
Some supporters also believe that a raw vegan diet contains all the nutrients humans require, which is why supplements are frequently discouraged.
How to follow a raw vegan diet
To begin a raw vegan diet, make sure that at least 75% of your food is raw or cooked at temperatures below 104-118°F (40-48°C).
Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds should be abundant, while animal products should be avoided entirely. Grains and legumes are permitted but must be soaked or sprouted before consumption.
What to eat
- Fresh, juiced, dehydrated, or dried fruits
- Uncooked, juiced, dehydrated, or dried veggies
- Raw seeds and nuts
- Raw legumes and grains (soaked or sprouted)
- Raw nut milk
- Raw nut butter
- Cold-pressed oils
- Fermented foods like miso, kimchi and sauerkraut
- Some sweeteners, such as unprocessed raw cacao powder, and pure maple syrup
- Condiments, including vinegar and unpasteurized raw soy sauce
See also: What do vegans eat
What to avoid
- Cooked fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes
- Cooked grains, such as quinoa or rice
- Baked goods
- Roasted nuts and seeds
- Refined oils
- Refined sugars and flours
- Pasteurized juices
- Coffee and alcohol
- Processed foods such as pastries and chips
See also: What is not vegan
Pros of a raw vegan diet
A raw vegan diet is nutritious because it includes a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts. The diet also includes few processed foods, which may be high in sugar, salt, and saturated fat. Certain foods lose nutritional value when cooked, so eating them raw may help retain those nutrients.
The raw vegan diet may have a number of health benefits, including:
Improving heart health
Because it contains more fruits and vegetables, a raw vegan diet may benefit heart health.
According to research, increasing fruit and vegetable consumption from less than three servings per day to more than five results in a 17% reduction in the risk of heart disease.
Raw vegan diets also include a variety of other foods linked to improved heart health. These are:
- Legumes: Eating legumes may reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Whole grains: Consuming whole grains may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease.
- Nuts: Eating nuts may help to reduce risk factors for heart disease.
Research shows vegans have a 75% lower risk of developing high blood pressure.
Aiding weight loss
Raw vegan diets may help you lose weight. According to one study, people on raw vegan diets lost 9.9-12 kilograms over 3.7 years (21.8–26.5 pounds). However, approximately 14-25% of study participants became underweight.
Obesity and overweight may increase a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. A raw vegan diet may assist a person in losing weight and lowering their risk of these health conditions.
Reducing diabetes risk
Few studies have looked into how raw vegan diets affect diabetes risk. However, according to 2009 research, vegan diets nearly halve a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to non-vegetarian diets.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises people to make dietary changes to lower their risk of developing diabetes. These may include eating more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods and trans fats found in baked and fried foods.
People who follow the raw vegan diet also make these dietary changes, which may reduce their chances of developing diabetes.
See also: Environmental benefits of veganism
Cons of a raw vegan diet
A raw vegan diet can be healthy. It can, however, be low in calories and high in natural sugars, negatively impacting a person’s health.
The raw vegan diet may cause the following health problems:
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
Because the raw vegan diet excludes a wide variety of foods, a person may not get all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
According to a 2019 study, the raw vegan diet may not provide enough:
- vitamin B12
- vitamin D
According to the study, cooking also helps break down fibers and cell walls in food, which may improve its nutritional value in some cases.
According to a 2005 study, 38% of raw food diet participants were vitamin B12 deficient. A lack of vitamin B12 can lead to:
- yellowing skin, or jaundice
- sore tongue, or glossitis
- mouth ulcers
- pins and needles
- vision problems
- mood and behavior changes
A raw vegetarian diet study discovered a link between the diet and lower bone density. A person with low bone density is more likely to suffer from bone fractures and osteoporosis.
Fruit has a lot of natural sugars in it. People who consume a lot of fruit as part of their diet may be at risk of developing tooth decay.
One study discovered tooth decay in 97% of raw food diet participants.
According to research on the effect of a raw food diet on menstruation, approximately 30% of people under the age of 45 on long-term raw food diets had irregular periods or their periods stopped completely.
The researchers discovered that people who consumed more raw food had more irregular and absent periods.
According to the researchers, the raw food diet has been linked to both high weight loss and menstrual cycle irregularity problems, so it cannot be recommended long-term.
Most people who consume raw fruits and vegetables do not develop food poisoning symptoms. However, if someone prepares a salad without washing their hands, they may ingest harmful bacteria and experience stomach upset.
When eating raw vegetables or fruits, it is critical to avoid bacterial cross-contamination by washing hands and storing the food in a clean environment.
Food poisoning can also be caused by raw sprouts such as alfalfa and beans. Bacteria thrive in the humid conditions required for sprouting and growing beans. To reduce the risk of food poisoning, the CDC recommends thoroughly cooking them.
A raw vegan diet includes healthy fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouted grains, and legumes, and can help with weight loss and digestion when properly planned.
However, if not properly planned, this diet can lead to nutrient deficiencies, infertility, muscle, bone, and tooth weakness.
If you try the raw vegan diet, make sure it is calorie sufficient. Taking supplements to meet your daily nutrient requirements is also a good idea.