There is no one diet that works for everyone, to build a successful diet everyone needs to be based on their own health status, preferences, and conditions. Nowadays, the raw vegan diet is becoming more and more popular and chosen by many people. But there are still many controversial opinions about this diet.
1. What is vegan raw food?
The raw vegan diet is a type of vegan diet that does not include any animal products, such as milk, cheese, eggs, meat, or fish. Under this diet, food is eaten raw or heated to temperatures below 40-48°C. Some common cooking methods when following this method of eating are: making juice or smoothies, soaking, mixing, and sprouting.
Raw vegan diets contain no animal-related foods and are eaten raw.
Raw vegan diets are typically rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouted grains, and legumes. Some followers of the raw vegan diet claim that this method provides all the nutrients that humans need.
2. Benefits of a Raw Vegan Diet
In a raw vegan diet, it’s mostly nutrient-rich plants. Therefore, this method brings many health benefits.
2.1. Improve heart health
Raw vegan diets are believed to have many benefits for heart health due to their high fruit content. Research shows that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption from less than 3 servings per day to more than 5 servings is associated with a 17% reduction in the risk of heart disease.
In addition, in the raw vegan diet, there are many other foods that are good for heart health such as:
- Legumes: Increasing your intake of legumes may reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Whole grains: Whole grain intake may reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease.
- Nuts: Consuming nuts may reduce risk factors that contribute to heart disease.
Research also shows that vegans can reduce their risk of high blood pressure by up to 75%.
2.2. Reduce the risk of diabetes
A 2009 study found that people who followed a vegan diet almost halved their risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with a non-vegetarian diet. Because this diet is high in fruits, legumes, nuts, and whole grains, it’s rich in fiber – a nutrient that has been linked to lower blood sugar and increased insulin sensitivity.
People who follow a vegan diet may have a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
2.3. Support weight loss
Many people choose raw vegan diets to stay fit and lose weight. According to research, over 3.7 years, people following a raw vegan diet have lost between 9.9 and 12 kg. Nonetheless, approximately 14–25% of the research participants developed underweight.
Moreover, numerous well-conducted studies indicate that low-fat vegan diets, including raw vegan diets, demonstrate exceptional efficacy in promoting weight loss.
2.4. Good for the digestive system
The high amount of plant fiber in a raw vegan diet can help improve digestion. In particular, this diet contains both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool and helps food move faster through the intestines, reducing constipation.
Soluble fiber is also beneficial because it helps feed good bacteria in the gut. These types of bacteria can improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.
3. The dangers and risks of raw vegan eating
Known to have many health benefits, however, a raw vegan diet may not be suitable for everyone and poses many health risks if you don’t have a consistent eating plan.
3.1. Nutritional imbalance
The raw vegan diet is mainly plant-based and many people apply this diet without building a varied menu, thus leading to the risk of deficiency of vitamins and minerals needed by the body.
A 2019 study reports that a raw vegan diet may not provide enough: protein, vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, calcium, selenium, and zinc. The study also notes that cooking helps break down the fibers and cell walls in foods, which can improve their nutritional value in some cases.
Additionally, a 2005 study found that 38% of participants who followed a raw food diet were deficient in vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to a number of health conditions such as jaundice, glossitis, mouth ulcers, depression, mood and behavior changes, and memory impairment.
Eating raw vegan increases the risk of deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals for the body.
3.2. Causes muscle and bone weakness
To begin with, this diet typically lacks sufficient calcium and vitamin D, both of which are vital nutrients for maintaining strong bones. In one study, people following a raw vegan diet had lower-than-normal bone mineral levels and density.
Additionally, raw vegan diets usually offer minimal protein intake, often accounting for less than 10% of total daily calories. While such a low level of protein could theoretically be enough to meet basic biological needs, some evidence suggests that providing more protein may help strengthen bones.
Protein is also important for maintaining muscle mass, especially during periods when you’re eating fewer calories like this diet.
3.3. Increases the risk of tooth decay
Because in a raw vegan diet, there are many citrus fruits and berries. These fruits are thought to be more acidic and more likely to cause enamel erosion.
In one study, 97.7% of those following a raw vegan diet experienced some degree of tooth wear, compared with only 86.8% in the control group. However, more research is needed before definite conclusions can be drawn.
3.4. Impact on reproductive health
Studies show that women who follow a raw vegan diet have a high chance of affecting their menstrual cycle such as menstrual irregularities, and amenorrhea. This may be due to a low-calorie diet, which affects body weight.
3.5. Food poisoning, parasitic infection
Eating food that is not cooked can also have a potential risk of poisoning, possibly due to the pesticide content if you do not choose clean food or when you do not wash your hands thoroughly when preparing or processing it. bacteria enter food.
In addition, vegetables and fruits can contain parasites, especially when grown in a polluted environment. When not cooked, these parasites can still live and go directly into the human body.
It can be said that a raw vegan diet is beneficial for health, but people need to have a suitable eating plan, and not to eat too extreme. When applying this diet, everyone should understand their own health, and change slowly so that the body can adapt. Some experts don’t recommend going vegan in the long run, so you might want to consider building your own.