October 7, 2008

You Ask, I Answer: Raw Diets & Calories

I've heard that part of the reason raw foods seem to aid so much in weight loss is because they take more energy to digest.

[Meaning], a raw carrot will, in the end, give you less caloric energy than a cooked carrot because it takes more energy expenditure to chew/breakdown/digest when raw?

Is this legit or bogus?

-- Lizzy

Via the blog

Yet another bogus claim from raw food enthusiasts.

It's not that raw foods in and of themselves aid in weight loss, but that by opting for a raw lifestyle, you are cutting out a significant number of foods, thereby reducing your total caloric intake.

This is akin to low carb diets, where you can have all the butter and oil you want, but just not on bagels, dinner rolls, or pasta.

What are people supposed to do at a restaurant? Refuse the bread basket and instead nibble on pats of butter?

Since that's not an appetizing option, people end up eliminating bread AND butter from their restaurant meal, saving themselves as much as 300 calories!

Although many raw restaurants are able to create high-calorie dishes by creatively using nuts, seeds, coconut, and other ingredients, it is hard to produce these labor-intensive meals at home.

Try out the following experiment, if you're interested.

Plan to go raw just for one day.

Live your life as you normally would (going to work, running errands, etc.) but shun cooked foods (this includes items you may not immediately think of, such as breakfast cereals, milk, yogurt, roasted peppers, and corn chips).

You'll be surprised at just how many less calories you'll be consuming compared to your non-raw days (lunch and dinner at raw restaurants will be considered cheating).

Yes, nuts are high in calories, but you can only munch on so many before you're sick of them.


Craig Maltby said...

Hi Andy:

I appreciate and enjoy your writing and the information you're providing. I've worked with a number of RDs over the years. I think the whole field is of tremendous value to the consuming public, especially as quality, science-backed information gets more and more views.

Keep up the good work.

Craig Maltby


Anonymous said...

That is very true - about getting sick of nuts & seeds. That's the only portable high-caloric not-expensive lunch I can think of, and it's what I've been eating for lunch for about 1 month now. And now I'm in need of another portable high-caloric not-expensive lunch. Quick. Before I never eat another peanut again!!

Andy Bellatti said...

That sounds horribly monotonous!

Why have you been eating nothing but nuts and seeds for lunch? In an attempt to go raw? To save money?