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What is the best diet for weight loss? Show more Show less

There now exists hundreds of different wisdoms on what the best and most effective way to lose weight is. All have different philosophies and different benefits, real or alleged. But which has the most evidence behind it? And which, in reality, is the most effective way to lose weight?

Weight loss doesn't come from nutrient measurements Show more Show less

There are myriads of ways to lose weight that do not rest on nutritional measurements
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The raw food diet is the best way to lose weight

Eating raw food is the best way to maintain food's nutritional density.
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Context

A raw food diet consists of uncooked foods or those cooked to a low temperature (below 104F or 40C).[1] The foods allowed in this diet are raw fruits, vegetables, seeds, sprouted grains, and unpasteurized eggs, meat, and dairy. Other variants of this diet include the raw vegan diet, which is entirely plant-based.

The Argument

Raw food diets are the best weight loss method. In this diet, the only food allowed is high in fiber and low in fat, sodium, and calories, making it very likely that those who try it will lose weight.[2] However, this type of diet is not only the best way to lose weight but also the healthiest way to live. When food is cooked, the enzymes and nutrients that our bodies need are lost. These enzymes are essential to health because they help process food and help combat disease.[2] Additionally, the cool temperature of raw food can help fight inflammation.[3] Lastly, testimonials from people on a raw food diet state that it can also help you feel more alive and even require less sleep.[4] Some raw food enthusiasts also believe that cooking food not only releases harmful--and even toxic--chemicals but also removes priceless life energy from the food.[1]

Counter arguments

Raw food diets may appear good at first, but there is a large potential for negative consequences, and they are not as healthy as advocates claim. For one, properly cooking food removes the risk of food-borne illness and subsequent food poisoning, a possibility that is not available to raw food diet practitioners. Also, cooking actually makes some foods digestible and releases more nutrients than are available in their raw state; cooked tomatoes, for example, offer five times the amount of the antioxidant lycopene compared to when they are consumed uncooked.[5] As for enzymes, it is true that these are largely destroyed with cooking, but the enzymes available in raw food are mostly destroyed by humans' stomach acid and have a negligible benefit on the digestive process.[5] Lastly, raw food diets, especially the raw vegan diet, are deficient in many necessary vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B-12.[2] So while it is true that some raw foods are healthier, nutritionists largely recommend eating a mix of raw and cooked foods to get the most nutrients possible.[4] Another challenge presented by raw food diets is that they are hard to maintain over time because they are both demanding and expensive. These diets are highly restrictive and prohibit cooking, cooked foods, and often processed foods as well. Some who have tried a raw diet, such as actress Megan Fox, had to quit not just because of the restrictions that these diets demand but also because of excessive weight loss.[6] Additionally, many raw recipes require a blender or dehydrator, which are extra expenses that practitioners of these diets must consider. Overall, there is a reason why raw food diets are referred to as "fad" diets. They are simply not sustainable long-term.

Framing

Premises

Rejecting the premises

Proponents

Further Reading

More on raw food diets: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/raw-food-diet-lethal-celebrity-trend-cooking-starvation-genetic-expert-steven-jones-a7772966.html More on the negative side of raw food diets: https://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2017/October2017/are-fad-diets-just-a-fad

References

  1. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reality-check-5-risks-of/
  2. https://www.webmd.com/diet/a-z/raw-foods-diet
  3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jennifercohen/2020/01/23/hottest-diets-of-2020/#7f0d807f5b35
  4. https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/the-raw-meat-diet-do-you-have-the-stomach-for-the-latest-celebrity-food-fad-493908.html
  5. https://www.livescience.com/26278-risks-raw-vegan-diet.html
  6. https://www.foodandwine.com/news/expert-says-gwyneth-paltrow-backed-raw-vegan-diet-may-be-dangerous

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This page was last edited on Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 18:17 UTC