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The raw diet, which adheres to the belief that food loses nutrients when cooked over 118 ̊F, has captured the attention of many health-conscious foodies over the past few years. While it is true that cooking breaks down enzymes in plant-based foods, this only has a negative effect on foods with water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C. Other nutrients are actually enhanced or made more absorbable when cooked, such as fat-soluble vitamins and the antioxidant lycopene, found in tomatoes.
The primary benefit of the raw diet is the elimination of processed foods and increased fruit and vegetable intake, which leads to a diet low in fat and sugar and high in fiber and antioxidants. The downside, however, is that the elimination of meat, fish and dairy can lead to deficiencies in iron, omega-3s, calcium and vitamin B12, as well as lycopene and fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin D. While we encourage you to incorporate the raw diet into your clean-eating lifestyle by opting to consume foods rich in water-soluble vitamins (such as bell peppers and broccoli) raw, stick to traditional methods for all other foods.
See also Raw Rhubarb Compote.
Registered dietitians Tiffani Bachus and Erin Macdonald are the co-founders and creators of URockGirl.com, a website dedicated to promoting wellness and a healthy, balanced lifestyle.