Raw Food Diet: Extremely Healthy or Just Extreme? | Reader's Digest

Raw Food Diet: Extremely Healthy or Just Extreme?

How healthy is this trendy eating style?

by Bridget Nelson Monroe from Reader's Digest | February 2008

How healthy is this trendy eating style? Severe diets are making headlines, claiming to reverse diabetes and cut heart disease risk.

In the upcoming documentary Raw for 30 Days, six diabetics eat a vegan, organic diet of uncooked nuts, seeds and veggies. By the end, all have gone off insulin and most have lost about 25 pounds.

A raw-food diet consists of mostly plant-based foods that aren’t heated above 115 degrees or so. Proponents say it helps ease many conditions, from migraines to arthritis.

But it’s hard-core. “And the diet leaves out a lot of foods,” says Andrea Giancoli of the American Dietetic Association. “A balanced diet includes raw and cooked foods.”

Another trendy plan: no food at all. In a study, people who fasted one day a month had lower rates of heart disease. Fasting may give a rest to cells constantly exposed to glucose.

Both diets look promising but are tough to stay with. Until research confirms the findings, your best bet is a healthy, diverse diet that you can stick to for life.