Raw food is popular these days, and it’s definitely not the worst fad diet to come along. In fact, there are many awesome aspects of an all-raw diet, namely that it means you’re eating real, whole foods. The theory behind it is that cooking destroys some of the vitamins, enzymes, and other nutrients in food, so eating everything raw ensures that you’ll get the nutritional package nature intended. For some foods, this is true. For instance, raw broccoli has more cancer-fighting sulforaphanes than cooked broccoli.
However, this is not accurate across the board. “Other vegetables, such as tomatoes, actually increase in nutrients when they are cooked,” Glassman says. “That’s why I think it’s best to have a mix of raw and cooked foods. You don’t want to pass on a cooked vegetable just because it’s cooked and then eat no vegetable at all.”
But the biggest issue with this diet is that it’s extremely tough to follow. “You have to be in the kitchen constantly and put a lot of time and effort into meals,” Mangieri says. “I can’t knock someone who wants to devote that much attention to their diet, but it’s just not realistic for most people. And I think the nutrient loss in certain cooked foods is very minimal compared to the time and effort it takes to eat this way.”
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