Celebrity-favored raw vegan diet may pose health risks: expert
Gwyneth Paltrow and Demi Moore may love this raw vegan diet, but is it good for you?
Vegetarianism and veganism are becoming more and more popular, but the latest fad is for people to eat only raw plant foods that can be consumed without cooking. Some won’t even eat foods that have been processed or changed from their natural state, such as oat or almond milk.
Raw vegan dieters claim that cooking vegetables causes a loss of nutrients and enzymes and believe the diet will prevent or reverse disease, boost energy levels and improve overall health – but one expert warns this diet trend could actually cause more harm than good if follows for a longer period of time.
“While following a plant-based diet can have many health benefits, a raw vegan diet can potentially take things too far and can come with even greater risks if not followed carefully,” Dr. Laura Brown, registered nutritionist and senior lecturer in nutrition, food and health sciences at Teesside University, said.
Research shows that certain raw foods can be healthier than when cooked, such as Brussels sprouts and red cabbage, but Dr. conversation that some vegetables have a higher nutrient content when cooked because their cell walls are broken down and nutrients are released. Cooked vegetables can give the body more antioxidants.
For example, cooked spinach makes it easier for the body to absorb its calcium. Vegetables such as asparagus, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, kale and cauliflower also have more nutrients when cooked, she said.
People who follow a raw vegan diet may also lack vitamins and minerals — such as vitamin D, vitamin B12, zinc and iron — that come from eating meat and eggs, said Dr. These vitamins support a healthy immune system and play a role in the structure, development and production of brain and nerve cells.
Vitamin B12 levels are the biggest concern. A A 2005 study showed that 38% of participants who followed long-term consumption of raw food had vitamin B12 deficiency. Because of this deficiency, a raw vegan diet also increases homocysteine, an amino acid that is broken down by B12. Elevated levels of homocysteine can lead to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
“If you’re planning to follow a raw vegan diet, it’s important to plan carefully to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need for optimal health,” said Dr. Brown. “I also wouldn’t recommend following it for a long period of time because of the many risks it can have.”
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