Diets have a tendency to burst on the scene and fade away in a few months or years. These days, individuals, particularly those obese and food obsessed, seem to be looking for a new diet all the time. They change from one to the other hoping the latest will help them curb their insatiable appetite.
Vegetarians now make up 15 per cent of the population, including sub-genres like ovolacto vegetarians (consuming eggs and cheese); lacto vegetarians (only dairy products); vegans (strictly vegetarian); and juicerians (juices only). Who knows what will become the next month’s fad diet?
Now, the proponents of raw food only for sustenance claim that the salvation of the world will come only if all humans practise this type of diet.
Certain facts seem to support their claim, but existing on raw food exclusively is a major challenge and requires a lot of discipline particularly in North America where advertising of processed food has reached unprecedented levels. On TV, it is amusing how processed- or fast-food companies portray their products, and then companies specializing in weight loss advertise their weight loss programs. The interesting thing about all these is that the same company may produce processed foods or own a fast food company and a weight loss enterprise.
A perfect example of profiting from both extremes.
Here are few things you might want to think about.
• Humans are the only species that consume cooked food
• Enzymes are killed at 40 – 50 (106 – 116 F)
• According to T.C. Fry, coking food renders food toxic
• Raw food saves a lot of fuel and is good for the environment.
• People on raw food diets feel re-energized
• People on raw food diets eat both less in quantity and fat hence do not need widely advertised antacids.
The majority in western industrialized and postindustrial countries, but particularly in the United Kingdom, the U S A and Canada consume considerable amounts of fast food and convenience products. All contain lots of flour, sugar, salt, and fat (including hydrogenated fats).
Overeating and failing to exercise leads to overweight and assorted other diseases. So TV advertising of convenience food, antacids, weight reduction products and pharmaceuticals close the gap.
Now let us consider what raw food proponents neglect to mention:
• If cooked food is nutritionally valueless, how have millions upon millions survived for millennia?
• Japanese and Inuit eat a lot of raw fish and chicken, but also suffer from tapeworms.
• Potatoes, rice and many starchy root vegetables are indigestible without exposing them to heart, and starches are important in any diet.
Properly cooked food is easy to digest. In fact, the art of cooking is about exposing food to heat. Any well-trained cook will tell you to undercook rather than overcook. Overcooking protein denatures it and render it tough and stringy.
• The body requires 8/10th of a gram of protein per kilogram of body mass. Proteins are important in maintaining body tissue. There are 21essential proteins, 20 of which the body synthesizes from milk, meat, cheese, eggs, vegetables, grains and soybeans.
Nutritionists always recommend eating a variety of foods, but in small quantities. According to some researchers, the following are health promoting: black beans, blueberries, broccoli, chocolate, oats, onions, salmon, soy, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and walnuts.
WHO (World Heath Organization) recommends five per cent of calories to come from proteins, the U S D A 6.5 per cent.
Most vegetables contain sufficient protein to exclude meat if supplemented with nuts, i.e.
almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, cashews, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts just to name a few.
A healthy diet contains a good portion (approximately 30 per cent) of raw vegetables and fruits, and that should suffice for a balanced diet.
Overweight and obese people would be better off reducing quantity and exercise vigorously, rather that trying to lose weight by switching from one fad diet to another, just to realize that at the end they still gain weight.
Raw food or any other type of diet is unlikely to help if common sense fails to prevail.