Curious About A Raw Vegan Diet Plan For Weight Loss? Is It Worth A Try?

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As if there aren’t enough weight loss programs, new ones still keep coming up. This time, it’s all about eating raw. Not to confuse it with just a vegan diet, a raw vegan diet for weight loss is on a whole new level.

But before you think of jumping into it, have you taken time to learn more about it? Well whether you have or haven’t, either way, this is a must-read for you!

I will tell you from the get go that I am not a fan of a raw vegan diet, however I tried to be fair when writing this blog post so that ultimately you can make an informed judgment.   

The Principles Of The Raw Vegan Diet Plan For Weight Loss

The vegan diet itself is already a restricted form of diet when compared to others who eat animal products. Now imagine a stricter version of that with more limitations on the types of food you can eat. No cooking in any form, no high heat, only raw.

If you think about it, the earliest humans took ages before they put fire and heat to good use. Cooking, that is. This means that for such a long time, all the food they ever ate was raw.

Many people, up to now, believe that prehistoric diets are healthier in some way. This is because a lot of them also believe that ancient people had longer lifespans and had fewer lifestyle-related health issues.

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Many people, up to now, believe that prehistoric diets are healthier in some way. This is because a lot of them also believe that ancient people had longer lifespans and had fewer lifestyle-related health issues.

I can name a handful of health loss diets which took their inspiration from these beliefs. However, the most controversial this time is the raw vegan diet plan for weight loss.

So what are the principles of the raw diet?

According to the Raw School, the raw food diet is beneficial because of the following reasons:

  1. High heat destroys food nutrients
  2. Cooked and processed foods are less digestible
  3. Cooked food creates more waste inside the body
  4. Raw food is more usable by the body

Under the raw diet, there is a maximum temperature for heating food. Anything over 107⁰F is a no-no. This temperature range may actually vary from 104⁰F to 121⁰F, until now there is not a consensus about this. However, this range is still below the average cooking temperatures:

  • Frying – 350-375⁰F
  • Boiling – 212⁰F and above
  • Roasting – 145-450⁰F
  • Baking – 150-350⁰F
  • Pasteurization – 145-161⁰F
  • Canning – 230-250⁰F

Do you notice how they’re all above the raw food temperature limit? Any food that has undergone any of these cooking/processing methods is off limits if you’re on a raw diet.

This will narrow down your food choices to actual raw fruits and vegetables. It can also include cold-pressed food products, which I must admit, has been popular for a while now.

Cold pressing is commonly done with fruit and vegetable products, and is highly popular in juicing diets. This process also aims to preserve the natural nutrients in food.

Under the raw diet, there is a maximum temperature for heating food. Anything over 107⁰F is a no-no. This temperature range may actually vary from 104⁰F to 121⁰F, until now there is not a consensus about this.

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Weight Loss On A Raw Vegan Diet

Advocates of the raw vegan diet believe that it is one of the best programs for weight loss because it is:

🗹 Low-fat

🗹 High in fiber

🗹 Low-calorie

🗹 Low-sodium

Well, it does tick some of the right boxes, doesn’t it? A lot of weight loss programs follow these criteria so the raw vegan diet being effective in the same aspect is not impossible.

It also won’t require physical exercises, as it focuses on “returning to the roots” when it comes to food quality. This means eating food in its natural state, literally raw, to preserve nutrients for better health.

Raw vegan diet does not require physical exercises, as it focuses on “returning to the roots” when it comes to food quality. This means eating food in its natural state, literally raw, to preserve nutrients for better health.

Typical Food Items On A Raw Vegan Diet

✅Foods You Can Eat
❌Foods You Must Avoid
• Raw salads • Cold-pressed food products including oils • Dehydrated fruits • Raw fruits and vegetables including juices • Fermented foods • Unprocessed condiments and sweeteners
• Hot beverages (coffee, tea, etc.) • Alcohol • Any food that has been processed, refined, baked, roasted, pasteurized, canned, and cooked

The Raw School also recommends that the proportion should be:

  • 75-85% fruit
  • 10-20% green leafies
  • 5% nuts and seeds

Proper storage of raw food items will also require a refrigerator. To prevent early spoilage and avoid the growth of microorganisms, fruits and vegetables must be kept at 40⁰F or colder.

Aside from a fridge, you may also want to invest in a food processor, blender, and dehydrator. These kitchen helpers will make food preparation easier and will add more varieties to your fewer food choices.

It’s also important to remember that not all vegetables can be eaten raw. Beans, and whole grains, for example, must not be eaten raw.

Raw beans can contain toxic lectins. Raw grains, on the other hand, contain enzyme inhibitors that prevent protein breakdown. This is why you need to wash and cook beans and grains thoroughly to deactivate these natural components.

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Are There Risks In A Raw Vegan Diet?

Eating raw sounds healthy doesn’t it? Well, this is one of those things that they are just too good to be true. While it may have its benefits, there are also risks that come with it.

1. Exposure to foodborne pathogens

First of all, cooking and processing food in high heat isn’t only meant to improve the food’s taste.

High heat kills pathogens that often lurk in raw food items. These pathogens can cause diseases, usually food poisoning, in different forms and manifestations.

Common Pathogens Found In Raw Fruits And Vegetables

Pathogen
Disease
Toxoplasma
Toxoplasmosis (brain parasite)
Botulinum
Botulism (food poisoning)
Salmonella
Typhoid fever, food poisoning, gastroenteritis
Listeria
Listeriosis (food poisoning)
E. Coli
UTI, diarrhea, pneumonia, meningitis

Cleaning your food with water is not always enough when it comes to food safety. According to the CDC, the safest is to cook, and cleaning (thoroughly) is only second.

The FDA also warns that the danger zone for food safety is 40-140⁰F. This is the temperature range where bacteria grows and multiplies fastest.

For food to be sterile or free from pathogens, it must be put under boiling temperature for a minimum of 10 minutes. This is something that cannot be done on a raw food diet.

2. Nutritional imbalance

With an extensive food restriction, you can also expect a significant reduction in essential nutrients.

In many cases, a raw vegan diet can cause nutritional deficiencies and even a hormonal imbalance. The raw vegan diet is high and low in the following:

High
Low
• Vitamins (mostly) • Minerals (mostly) • Fiber • Phytochemicals
• Protein • Iron • Calcium • B-12 • Vitamin D

3. Dental problems

The low levels of calcium and high consumption of acidic fruits on a raw diet can cause teeth to weaken. This leads to a multitude of dental problems, which begins from rapid tooth decay.

In a study from 1999, dental erosion was noticeably higher among individuals on a raw diet. As much as 97.7% of people on the raw food diet had this problem.

4. Fertility Issues

One of the common changes among women on the raw diet is menstrual irregularities. A third of these women even had amenorrhea, a condition where the menstrual cycle stops, either partially or completely.

The risk increases the higher the raw food consumption is, and the longer you stay on this diet.

When you don’t get your period, that means you don’t ovulate, and you won’t be able to get pregnant. And if you do get pregnant, the nutritional deficiencies will cause more problems to you and your child.

5. Weaker bones and muscles

With significantly lower levels of calcium and protein, this is just bound to happen. A raw vegan diet will reduce your daily protein to 10% of your total calories.

This is much lower than the ideal 20%. Since protein is vital to muscle function and preservation, a raw diet can eventually weaken muscles.

Lower Vitamin D levels in the raw diet also aggravates the decrease in calcium. As a 2005 study reveals, a long term raw (vegetarian) diet can cause a low bone mass.

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Is The Raw Vegan Diet Safe And Effective?

The raw diet can result in weight loss because of the omission of a lot of food categories.

For example, since you aren’t cooking, you won’t be using any oil. Oil has a lot of calories, and so if you don’t consume it you are likely to lose some pounds. (Sidenote: just so you know, you can cook without any oil)

Raw vegan foods are also naturally high in fiber, low in sodium, fat, and calories. This combination makes the raw vegan diet effective for weight loss. Significant weight loss is achievable, in fact, a study reveals that those on the raw diet have lower BMIs.

However, it is not feasible for long term adherence. I don’t think I could even last a week on this diet?

The raw vegan diet requires a lot of more meticulous meal planning than any other diets. You have to choose and prepare your food carefully every single day. I have no time for that.

A raw vegan diet might be effective, but whenever you are eyeing a new weight loss diet, the first question you ask yourself should be:

Is it Safer?

Sure you’d like to shed as much weight as possible, but what cost are you willing to pay? If you ask me, not my health, that’s for sure.

Weight loss on a raw vegan diet results from its highly restrictive choices of food. Although weight loss diets normally include food restrictions, the raw vegan diet is on an extreme level.

It can easily cause nutritional imbalance which can be detrimental to health the longer you are in it.

It may be beneficial when done on a short-term, but it is definitely not advisable for long term practice. According to Today’s Dietitian, it puts health at risk and is also a cause of food safety concerns.

Raw vegan diet may be beneficial when done on a short-term, but it is definitely not advisable for long term practice. According to Today’s Dietitian, it puts health at risk and is also a cause of food safety concerns.

An Overview Of The Advantages And Disadvantages Of The Raw Vegan Diet

Here is a summary of what we have discussed so far:

Disadvantages
Advantages
• Extreme food restriction (limited choices) • Increase in the risk of exposure to disease-causing microorganisms • Nutritional imbalance • Dental problems • Reduced fertility from hormonal imbalance • Weaker bones and muscles • Can get expensive • Eating out (in restos) is difficult • Requires a high level of effort (food cleaning, preparation, shopping) • Not sustainable for long term
• No need to cook • Weight loss • Higher consumption of whole foods • No processed and refined foods

Now consider these risks against the benefits. For health professionals, the risks of going on a raw vegan diet outweighs its benefits. Foodborne illnesses can also be life-threatening in many cases.

Besides, you can still get the same benefits from a regular vegan diet (and more!) as long as you plan and prepare.

Weight loss on a vegan diet is far more sustainable. Remember that nutritional balance along with food safety are keys to a really healthy diet.

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The Raw Vegan Diet Controversy

Have you heard of the controversial raw vegan Youtuber who was caught eating fish?? Better known by her social media name Rawvana, Yovana Ayres has a huge following in social media (millions, FYI).

She promoted a raw vegan diet and has a lot of YouTube videos showing her lifestyle.

She made a lot of her money by selling meal plans to those who want to lose weight on a raw vegan diet.

But guess what, just recently, she was caught eating fish while on vacation in Bali! A place which she claimed to be a “plant-based paradise”!

Following the backlash, she uploaded a YouTube video where she gave a lengthy explanation to her followers.

In the video, she said that she has been eating fish and eggs for 2 months now. Also, that she had been meaning to tell everyone about her diet change, but that she just hadn’t been ready.

Her reason for eating fish? Health reasons.

She claims that she’s been a vegan for 6 years. However, in the last two years, she’s been suffering from amenorrhea (cessation of menstrual period).

She further explains that on a visit to her doctor, she was told that her hormones were totally out of whack and that she needed to change her diet.

Aside from her lack of ovulation, she also states that she has thyroid problems and is nearly anemic.

To me this is a typical example of someone who went too far. And who unfortunately only to ended up giving into the temptations that naturally come with extreme food restriction.

It’s also a proof how tough it is to sustain a raw vegan diet. More importantly, it highlights the health risks that come with it.

Both fans and critics went on an outrage of course. From statements saying she profits from a diet she can’t even stick to, to those who say she promotes a lifestyle that has made her sick for 2 years.

What’s worse is this has hurt the vegan community. This can add more doubt among people who believe veganism isn’t sustainable when it can really be. And then of course, there are those who think raw vegan and vegan is the same.

The most important point here is when a diet proves to be too extreme, it becomes far from doable. If there’s anything Rawvana has proven, it’s that the raw vegan diet is unrealistic. It is simply too hard to follow and maintain.

Now how can you get the benefits from something you can’t even do safely long enough to see results?

The most important point here is when a diet proves to be too extreme, it becomes far from doable. If there’s anything Rawvana has proven, it’s that the raw vegan diet is unrealistic. It is simply too hard to follow and maintain.

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Vegan Vs Raw Vegan

These two diets obviously sound the same and may cause confusion especially to those who haven’t heard much about both.

Although the raw vegan diet is technically a subset of the vegan diet, their principles are not all the same.

While both diets avoid all food products that are of animal origin, the main difference is food preparation. What’s more, true veganism DOES NOT promote extreme food restriction.

Raw veganism can restrict your food choices to the point you’ll probably just resort to eating one type of food. What happens then? More nutritional deficiencies.

A real vegan diet aims for a nutritional balance without having to rely on animal products. Weight loss or not, health is a priority for real vegans. It’s not just a fancy diet for animal lovers.

A real vegan diet aims for a nutritional balance without having to rely on animal products. Weight loss or not, health is a priority for real vegans. It’s not just a fancy diet for animal lovers.

BONUS: To learn more about the Raw Vegan Diet, check out the short documentary below and find out what it can do for you.

The Raw Vegan Diet Misconceptions

Now let me clear some of the biggest misconceptions about eating raw:

1. Cooking food is toxic

On the contrary, cooking food in high heat kills all the foodborne pathogens that can give you diseases. Some have said that cooking food can give rise to carcinogens. However, this was actually only seen in meat products.

Toxic chemicals can also form from burnt cooking oil. This happens when cooking oil reaches a temperature beyond its smoke point. Once oil is burnt, it turns to smoke with potentially toxic chemicals.

2. Cooking food kills nutrients

Cooking food can change the nutritional component of food. While it is true that some vegetables are healthier without cooking, it is the opposite for other veggies. Some vegetables are actually more digestible when cooked.

The key here is finding out which veggies are better eaten raw and which are more nutritious when cooked. Look at these examples:

Healthier Without Cooking
Healthier With Cooking
• Beets • Broccoli • Red peppers
• Carrots • Mushrooms • Spinach • Tomatoes • Beans • Grains

3. Raw foods can detox the body

Fortunately for us, the human body is perfectly capable of detoxifying itself. Thanks to the kidneys, colon, and liver mainly. There is actually no need to look for “detoxifying” foods.

If you want a “cleaner” body inside, you can start with healthier food choices. Go for foods that support the body’s natural detox process, because only our body can do that.

A vegan cleanse, for example, can also help you lose weight without too many restrictions.

4. Only raw foods are natural

One of the points that raw food proponents try to get across is this. The Raw School states that “no other animal on Earth cooks its food” and that “no other animal besides humans experience diseases on the same scale that we do”.

However, as author and LiveScience columnist Christopher Wanjek puts it: “judging what is natural is a slippery slope”.

Going back to old methods is not always bad, but humans, and our means of living evolves, along with the improvement of food quality and safety. We evolve to survive.

While it’s true that people in the ancient times may have had longer lives, the shorter lifespans of modern humans can most likely be attributed to an unhealthy lifestyle.

Like they say, modernization can make you or break you. You can use it to your advantage, or you can let it ruin you and your health.

Final Tips On Weight Loss

Are you on a weight loss journey? Keep these in mind:

  1. Healthy weight loss is a gradual process. Any weight you lose too quickly is only bound to come back.
  2. Weight loss while maintaining nutritional balance is achievable.
  3. Before you start any weight loss program, ask yourself:
  • is it safe?
  • is it sustainable?

If a diet is too extreme, there are more temptations. It also increases the chances of you going back to unhealthy eating habits. So choose your diet wisely.

If a diet is too extreme, there are more temptations. It also increases the chances of you going back to unhealthy eating habits. So choose your diet wisely.

Conclusion

The raw vegan diet plan is effective for weight loss. However, as the safety risks outweigh its benefits, a raw vegan diet is more hazardous than beneficial to health. Its extreme food restrictions also make it too difficult to adhere to.

Remember that weight loss and nutritional balance is always achievable with the right planning and preparation.

Have you gone on a raw vegan diet before? What was the experience like for you? Let me know on the comment section below. And don’t forget to share this article in your favorite social media platform.

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