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Raw foods

Raw foods as a dietary health treatment was first developed in Switzerland by medical doctor Maximilian Bircher-Benner, inventor of muesli. After recovering from jaundice while eating raw apples he conducted experiments into the effects on human health of raw vegetables. In November 1897, he opened a sanatorium in Zurich called "Vital Force," named after a "key term from the German lifestyle reform movement which states that people should pattern their lives after the logic determined by nature". It is still treating patients today.[18] Max Gerson M.D. used a diet to cure Albert Schweitzer of type 2 diabetes after previously curing Schweitzer's wife of pulmonary tuberculosis when all conventional methods had failed. "In a carefully monitored clinical trial, 446 out of 450 skin tuberculosis patients treated with the Gerson diet recovered completely." [19] Weston A. Price, in a 1936 work entitled Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, observed dental degeneration in the first generation who abandoned traditional nutrient dense foods which included unprocessed raw milk. Price claimed that the parents of such first generation children had excellent jaw development and dental health, while their children had malocclusion and tooth decay and attributed this to their new modern insufficient nutrient diet.[20] Weston-Price also noted, in his book, that the healthiest tribes he visited all incorporated some raw animal foods in their diets. Leslie Kentons book, Raw Energy - Eat Your Way to Radiant Health, published in 1984, popularized food such as sprouts, seeds, and fresh vegetable juices.[21] The book brought together research into raw foodism and its support of health. It cites examples such as the sprouted seed enriched diets of the long lived Hunza people and Max Gerson's use of a raw juice-based diet in conjunction with detoxification methods to cure cancer.[22] The book advocates a diet of 75% raw food to prevent degenerative diseases, slow the effects of aging, provide enhanced energy, and boost emotional balance. Other notable proponents from the early part of this century include: Ann Wigmore, Herbert Shelton, and Norman W. Walker (inventor of the Norwalk Juicing Press).



Beliefs held by raw foodists include:

Some raw foodists believe that digestive enzymes in raw foods (such as amylases, proteases, and lipases) aid digestion.[23] Heating food above 104120 degrees Fahrenheit (40-49 degrees Celsius) degrades or destroys these enzymes in food.[24] Some raw foodists such as Dr. Douglas Graham dispute the importance of enzymes in foods.[25]

Raw foods include bacteria and other micro-organisms that affect the immune system and digestion by populating the digestive tract with beneficial gut flora. These are generally killed by cooking. In addition, many raw-foodists, particularly primal-dieters, are believers in the hygiene hypothesis, a concept which focuses on the health benefits of exposure to parasites and bacteria.

Raw foods have higher nutrient values than foods which have been cooked.[26][27][28] In addition, most raw foodists believe processed food and convenience food often contain excitotoxins(such as flavor enhancers) which can cause excitotoxicity. Foods with added chemicals, preservatives,additives, colouring agents/dyes of any kind are frowned upon by most raw-foodists.

Raw foodists believe that raw foods are the ideal food for human consumption, and the basis of a raw food lifestyle. Irritants or stimulants like coffee, alcohol, and tobacco are recommended against. Also heated fats and proteins like fried oils and roasted nuts are to be avoided on a raw-food diet, as they are deemed by raw foodists to be carcinogenic. Wild foods followed by organic whole foods are more nutritious than conventionally domesticated foods orindustrially produced foods.[29] Cooked foods contain harmful toxins, which can cause chronic disease and other problems,[30][31] Heating oils and fats can produce trace amounts of trans fats.[32] Cooking foods produces advanced glycation end products ("glycotoxins", see also Maillard reaction).[33]

Raw foods such as fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants and raw-foodists believe they can help to stifle signs of aging.[34]