At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Raw food for weight loss may be very effective for some people. Most raw food tends to contain fewer calories and more fiber than many types of cooked food. People who follow strict raw food diets may be thinner on average than those who do not, but this could be because they are simply eating less food overall. The same results are likely possible when eating cooked food if reduced amounts are consumed.
Even if people who consume raw food are eating less, it is likely that the type of foods they are eating makes it easier for them to do so. Foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts, in their raw form often contain high amounts of fiber. A diet high in fiber tends to make weight loss and maintenance easier because the fiber-rich food may create a sensation of fullness in the stomach. This is because the body doesn't digest fiber, and it takes up more space in the digestive tract.
Followers of the raw food diet believe raw food for weight loss is also possible because of the nutrient level of uncooked foods. They claim foods that have been cooked are depleted of the majority of their nutrients, while the nutrients in raw food are left intact. Raw food followers think that eating uncooked, high-nutrient foods will eliminate cravings and over eating because the body is getting enough of what it needs. People who eat cooked food may supposedly overeat and have uncontrollable cravings because their bodies aren't getting the proper amount of nutrients. As a result, an excess amount of food is needed for a person eating cooked food to meet their daily requirements.
While there is little doubt that eating at least some raw food is healthy for most people, it may not be valid to say that cooked foods should be entirely eliminated from the diet. Raw food for weight loss purposes may well be effective, but cooked foods may also help with weight loss. All cooked foods aren't completely void of nutrients. When vegetables are steamed or made into soups, the heat levels do not typically exceed 100 F (38 C). Some evidence has shown that the nutrients in steamed foods and soups are also easier to digest because the heat breaks down levels of cellulose.
Raw food for weight loss may be worth trying for people who are interested in this way of eating, but it is probably not harmful to include some cooked foods in the diet as well. People who are concerned with cooking nutrients out of their food may benefit from avoiding cooking methods, such as frying, that use excessive amounts of heat. A balanced diet of both cooked and raw foods may be the best way for most people to be sure they are getting the most out of their food.