Raw foodism

methuselah diet

Raw foodism

Potentially edible!
Food woo
Fabulous food!
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Delectable diets!
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Bodacious bods!
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Needles are scary
Pricks against pricks
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Raw foodism denotes a popular brand of fringe food woo, centered around the patently incorrect belief that uncooked food is per definition (read: automagically) more intrinsically healthy than cooked food is — or, in other words, that almost everything is a vile poison except for things crawling with known pathogens.

While most raw food diets are related to vegetarianism and veganism, this is not necessarily always the case.

The raw foodist worldview is centered around chemophobia generally, and mainstream raw foodism embraces the anti-vaccination movement [2] [3] [4] [5] and GMO fear mongering [6] [7] [8] [9] while championing homeopathy as preferable to ev >[10] [11] [12] [13] As such, the raw food movement is basically one big crank magnet.

History [ edit ]

—Sylvester Graham [14]

The early days of raw foodism were populated by number of quacks, starting with Sylvester Graham, a Presbyterian minister of “Graham Cracker” and anti-masturbation fame. [15] The Graham Diet, while not strictly raw, advocated fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs, and butter. It also advocated “Dr. Graham’s Honey Biskets” made from coarse whole-grain “Graham Flour”, which are not the same as today’s Graham Cracker. [16] [17] Graham mistakenly believed that his “Graham Diet” would prevent cholera. [18]

In 1877, Gustav Schlickeysen published a dietary treatise, Fruit and Bread: A Scientific Diet. After reviewing the teeth and stomachs of various animals, Schlickeysen claimed, “The natural food of the ape is… uncooked fruit and grain, and reasoning from analogy, we are justified in asserting that this is also the proper food of man.” [19]

Starting in the 1890s, Maximilian Bircher-Benner, inventor of muesli, was a proponent of vitalism after the time it had already been debunked by the advent of modern chemistry. He was also a proponent of raw food. [20]

Bircher-Benner’s book inspired August Engelhardt, the ultimate raw foodist and fruitarian. In 1898 Engelhardt and August Bethmann wrote a pamphlet, which was later translated into English in 1913 as A Carefree Future: The New Gospel and published by the naturopath Benedict Lust. The pamphlet recommended eating only coconuts. In 1902, Engelhardt traveled to what was then German New Guinea (now part of Papua New Guinea). He lived out his “carefree” dream on a small island called Kabakon, where he was a “Kokovore“, a nudist and a sun-worshipper. He established a cult called Sonnenorden (Order of the Sun), which briefly attracted a few other Germans. Engelhardt slowly died alone on Kabakon at the ripe old age of 44 in 1919, succumbing to mental illness, rheumatism, malnourishment and tropical ulcers. [21]

Proponents of raw foodism [ edit ]

  • Arthur M. Baker: Author of Awakening Our Self-Healing Body[22] , he is not only a proponent of raw foodism, but also advocates germ theory denial. He is also a supporter of the Natural Hygiene Movement. [23] Support for raw foodism is, according to Baker, also found in the Bhagavad Gita and the Essene Gospel of Peace. Another convincing argument he subscribes to is that Methuselah only ate raw food – and he got to live pretty long, d >[24] (and The Herb Book), is a naturopath and an advocate of herbal medicine. Lust is a nephew of Benedict Lust.

Premises of raw foodism [ edit ]

—Because typhoid , E. coli and similar foodborne illnesses certainly brought us longevity in the past [1]

There is no unified source for researching raw foodism. The scientific literature contains very few studies. What is out there is mostly in articles and websites. There do seem to be some agreed-upon premises in the movement.

  1. Humans ate raw food for millions of years and were just fine.
  2. All other animals eat raw food and are healthier and relatively longer-lived than humans.
  3. Raw foods contain enzymes that are very good for you.
  4. Cooking food produces toxins.
  5. Cooking food can break down some vitamins in food (though it makes them more available — but why worry about facts). [25]

Science rains on the parade [ edit ]

Examining the premises [ edit ]

  1. The Homo genus d >[27][28] Humans lived without refrigeration, vaccination, or sterilisation as well, but these are all things that have improved average lifespans. “Wild-born chimps living in a sanctuary in the Republic of the Congo understand that raw food can be cooked, and they appear to prefer cooked over raw.” [26][29] And, “wild chimps have been observed collecting and eating charred seeds and nuts from areas recently engulfed by wildfires.” [26] Both processing (e.g., slicing or pounding) [30][31] and cooking [30][31][32] improve net caloric-availability of food, both by reducing the need for chewing and increasing nutrient availability. Food processing and cooking likely had an important impact on Homo evolution by reducing the need for large teeth and jaw muscles, then enabling the evolution of larger brains and bodies. [30][31]
  2. There is no scientific ev >[33] On the other hand, cooking also kills bacteria and parasites, [34] destroys some natural toxins (for example, cyanogens, lectins, some kinds of bacterial toxins), and makes some foods more digestible by breaking down indigestibles like hemicelluloses, pectins, and complex proteins such as collagen.
  3. A logical explanation for the abundant anecdotes claiming raw foodism makes foodists feel healthier and more energetic has nothing to do with the hypothesis behind the diet, but rather with the healthy inc >[35] Also, raw food diets generally are lower in saturated fats (primarily used for frying), have less processed sugar (which is not cons >Experiments [ edit ]

In trying to determine things like “when in human history, d >[36] and consuming bucketfuls of raw produce if meat were not on the menu.

On vegetables and nutrients [ edit ]

Some water-soluble nutrients such as Vitamin C and B leach out from vegetables upon boiling. [37] In other words, unless the water is consumed instead of discarded, these nutrients will not be ingested. The melting point for Vitamin C is 190°C (374°F) therefore, none of the Vitamin C is actually lost in a boiling pot of water (100°C). [38] Vitamins A, D, E, and K and caroteno >[39] For vegetables, cooking comes with advantages [40] and disadvantages. For example, raw carrots lose polyphenols but increase caroteno >[41] Basically, with vegetables, it’s complicated. Cooking foods takes out nutrients but makes more available, but it also depends on the cooking method. In the end, as long as you are eating your fruits and vegetables, this is a very healthy choice regardless of the cooking method [39] … unless you’re frying. [42]

In conclusion [ edit ]


There is no convincing evidence currently available to fully evaluate raw foodism’s supposed health claims and plenty of grounds to be extremely wary of it due to the increased potential for ingesting food-borne pathogens, the most prevalent of which (such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella and Listeria) are killed by heating your food to a sufficient temperature. There is evidence that in general, people who consume calories that match their activity are in many ways healthier. There is also evidence that diets with less animal fat and fewer calories help prevent cardiovascular disease. These, however, are truisms that equally support vegetarian or flexitarian diets and a general reduction in consumption, and have no real bearing on the possible dangers of cooking. Indeed the issue of getting enough calories from a raw food diet, especially a vegan one, may be one of its foremost problems (unless the rawfooder makes heavy use of, for instance, virgin olive oil) — a problem exacerbated if one actually needs energy for physical labor or is a growing kid.

For raw foodism to prove its health claims, studies could be designed by selecting at least three samples of people to be randomly assigned either a usual Western diet, a raw food diet, or a diet similar to raw food but which allows for heat treatment. [43] These three samples would have to be followed over at least a number of years and preferably decades (to catch any long-term problems) to be able to evaluate any statistically significant differences between them in terms of health. [44] This study, if practical, [45] then might lead to a valid evaluation of raw foodism.

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