Being raw food is not as healthy as it seems

The raw food (raw food) diet has been around since the 19th century, but has gained popularity in recent years. Its practitioners believe that consuming primarily raw foods is ideal for human health and has many benefits, including weight loss and better overall health.

However, health experts warn that eating a primarily raw diet can have negative health consequences.

How is it done?

The raw food, raw food diet, raw veganism, or raw veganism, consists of mostly or entirely raw, unprocessed foods.

A food is considered raw if it has never been heated above 40 to 48°C. It should also not be refined, pasteurized, treated with pesticides, or processed in any other way. Instead, the diet allows for several alternative preparation methods, such as juicing, blending, dehydrating, soaking, and sprouting.

Like veganism, the raw food diet is generally plant-based , consisting primarily of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Although most raw food diets are plant-based, some people also eat raw eggs and dairy products . Less commonly, raw fish and meat may also be included.

Also, taking supplements on the raw food diet is typically discouraged. Advocates often claim that the diet will give you all the nutrients you need. Supporters also believe that cooking food is detrimental to human health because it destroys the food’s natural enzymes, reduces its nutrient content, and depletes the “life force” that they believe exists in all raw or “live” foods.

People follow the raw diet for the benefits they believe it has, including weight loss, improved vitality, increased energy, improved chronic disease, improved overall health, and reduced stress. Impact on the environment.

What is eaten?

To follow the raw food diet, we will make sure that at least 75% of the food we eat is raw. Most raw food diets are made up primarily of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Grains and legumes are also normally allowed, but generally must be soaked or sprouted before eating.

allowed foods

  • all fresh fruit
  • all raw vegetables
  • raw seeds
  • Raw, sprouted or soaked cereals and legumes
  • Nuts
  • nut milks
  • Raw Nut Butters
  • Cold-pressed olive and coconut oils
  • Fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut
  • Seaweed
  • cabbages
  • Raw or dairy eggs
  • Raw meat or fish

Although cooked foods are not allowed, some raw fooders get around this limitation by using techniques such as soaking, sprouting, dehydrating, fermenting, juicing, and blending to add variety to their meal plan. Using a high-speed blender for several minutes can increase the temperature of foods such as gazpacho and raw soup without exceeding 48ºC. Dehydration of fruits and vegetables has a similar effect, making it a reference method for preparing foods such as “hamburgers” and “pizzas” from raw vegetables.

Smoothies are a great breakfast option on a raw diet, as they are packed with fruit, nuts, seeds, and nut butters. We can mix it up by changing the ingredients in the shakes. Salads and bowls are staple recipes for lunch and dinner. They are a great way to incorporate multiple food groups: vegetables, grains, legumes, and healthy fat sources like avocado, nut-based dressings, and olive oil.

A raw food diet is simpler when you use unprocessed foods in their raw, whole form. Processed foods can be eliminated in some variations of a raw food diet, but if they’re allowed, you’ll need to pay close attention to product labels. Canned foods are also not raw.

foods to avoid

  • Fruits, vegetables, meats and cooked cereals
  • baked foods
  • Roasted nuts and seeds
  • refined oils
  • Table salt
  • Refined sugars and flour
  • Juices and pasteurized dairy products
  • Coffee and tea
  • Alcohol
  • Pasta
  • Cakes
  • Chips
  • Other processed foods and snacks

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Raw vs Cooked Foods

Raw fooders believe that eating most or all foods raw is ideal for human health. However, like many of the core beliefs behind the raw food diet, this idea is not backed by science. In fact, research shows that both cooked and raw foods have health benefits.

One of the main reasons the raw diet discourages cooking is the belief that cooking destroys the natural enzymes in food. Advocates of the diet believe that these enzymes are vital to human health and digestion.

High temperatures cause most enzymes to denature, meaning they fall apart or change shape. However, many enzymes are denatured in the acidic environment of the stomach anyway. In fact, the body already produces its own enzymes to facilitate chemical processes, including digestion and energy production.

Another core belief behind the raw food diet is that cooking destroys the nutrient content of food. In fact, cooking can decrease certain nutrients in food, especially water-soluble ones like vitamin C and B vitamins. However, cooking actually increases the availability of other nutrients and antioxidants, like lycopene and beta-carotene.

Cooking also helps inactivate or destroy some harmful compounds in food. For example, cooking grains and legumes reduces lectins and phytic acid. In large amounts, these can prevent the body from absorbing minerals. In addition, cooking also kills harmful bacteria.

For these reasons, it is important to eat a variety of raw and cooked foods.


A raw diet has some positive points. Mainly, it is very high in fresh fruits and vegetables. It also incorporates other foods rich in nutrients and fiber. In its favor, it limits the intake of foods that are known to contribute to poor health if eaten in excess, such as processed junk food and added sugar.

Also, a raw food diet almost guarantees weight loss because it is low in calories. When someone switches from a primarily cooked diet to a primarily raw diet, their calorie intake is likely to drop dramatically. Additionally, studies have consistently found that the raw food diet is associated with having less body fat .


Some people may not be able to eat enough raw foods to meet their daily caloric needs. This is in part because fruits and vegetables, while healthy, simply don’t provide enough calories or protein to make up the bulk of the diet.

In addition, cooking increases the digestibility of food, making it easier for the body to obtain calories and nutrients from it. In some cases, the body gets significantly fewer calories from a food if it is raw. Cooking also increases the amount of certain nutrients and antioxidants that the body absorbs.

Finally, raw diets tend to be nutritionally unbalanced because they must be made up primarily of fat or fruit to meet caloric needs. This means that raw diets can be deficient not only in calories, but also in some vitamins, minerals, and protein.

One study found that people who ate a raw diet for long periods of time had a higher risk of dental erosion. Furthermore, 70% of the women who followed the diet experienced irregularities in their menstrual cycle . And nearly a third of the women developed amenorrhea, meaning they stopped menstruating, which may be a consequence of low body weight.

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Is it safe?

In the short term, the raw diet is not likely to pose any major health problems. However, you can develop problems if you follow the diet long-term.

A mostly raw diet makes it hard to get enough calories, protein, and certain vitamins and minerals. Some people may not be able to get enough calories from this diet. Evidence also shows that the higher the proportion of raw foods in the diet, the greater the risk of negative effects.

Unless we take supplements, we can develop problems due to insufficient nutrients over time as the body’s stores of vitamins and minerals are depleted. Vitamin B12 and vitamin D are particularly difficult to obtain in raw vegan diets.

However, even nutritional supplements cannot make up for the lack of calories and protein in the diet. Also, the risk of being exposed to foodborne illness increases when you eat raw food. This is especially true if raw dairy, eggs, or meat are part of the diet. Nutrition experts always recommend that people only eat them when they are fully cooked or pasteurized.

Lastly, a raw food diet can be difficult to maintain for several reasons. Food options are very limited and avoiding cooked foods makes it difficult to eat out or eat with friends. Avoiding cooked foods also means that food preparation methods are very limited, so a raw food diet can get boring. Many people also find it undesirable to eat only cold foods.

Lastly, it can be expensive to buy so much fresh organic produce, not to mention the time it takes to plan and prepare.

menu example

A raw food diet follows a restrictive eating pattern. Although it is not a menu designed by a specialist, nor aimed at all types of people, we offer an example to get an idea of ​​​​the limitations of a raw food diet:

  • Day 1: Green Smoothie; Greek salad; lettuce tacos with “sour cream” based on cashews.
  • Day 2: Green juice, almonds, orange; mung bean salad; dehydrated vegetable empanadas wrapped in lettuce.
  • Day 3: Fruit with date syrup and hemp seeds; vegetable dish with cashew-based onion sauce; sprouted quinoa with vegetables.
  • Day 4: Muesli, blueberries, almond butter; red pepper and tomato gazpacho; raw pad thai
  • Day 5: Strawberry, banana and chia pudding; cucumber vegetable rolls; mushroom pizza.
  • Day 6: Berry Smoothie; vegetable and hummus platter; cauliflower rice without frying.
  • Day 7: Nice banana cream; raw sushi (no rice); Zucchini noodles with alfredo sauce based on cashews.