In a broader sense, raw food includes any fresh, unheated food of both vegetable and animal origin. In the narrower, but linguistically dominant sense, the term only stands for unheated or even completely unprocessed food of plant origin.
Dictionaries on the meaning of the German language as well as encyclopedias and lexicons of the Bibliographisches Institut define raw food as a plant-based diet consisting of raw (uncooked) fruit and vegetables.
According to the definition of the Gießen raw food study from 1997, “raw food diet” is a diet “that largely or exclusively contains unheated plant-based (partly also animal) foods”. Foods that are exposed to elevated temperatures due to the process (e.g. honeycomb or centrifugal honey and cold-pressed oils) are included, as well as foods that require a certain amount of heat to be produced (e.g. dried fruits, dried meat and fish and certain types of nuts ). In addition, cold-smoked products (e.g. meat and fish), raw fish such as sashimi or raw meat such as tartare as well as vinegar and lactic acid vegetables can be part of the raw food diet. However, there is no consensus on this definition . There are several raw food nutrition teachings in the German-speaking area, each of which has its own definition.
Choice of food
The vegan raw food includes fruits and fruits , vegetables , all edible leaves, herbs (and especially wild herbs ), avocados , olives , oil , nuts and seeds , mushrooms , lactic acid-fermented foods such as raw sauerkraut and others that have not been pasteurized .
In the context of a vegan raw food, the leafy vegetables are the main basis of a functioning pure raw food diet - also to meet the need for proteins .
The raw vegetarian diet can also contain raw milk cheese and other raw milk products of all kinds, as well as eggs. In the non-vegetarian raw food diet, animal products are also consumed ( fish: salmon , tuna , matjes , bismarck herring ) and also ham , carpaccio , tartare and other raw meats (see e.g. instinctotherapy ).
Raw food can be found z. B. as a salad or fruit dessert in the mixed diet as part of many menus.
By (prolonged) heating, temperature-sensitive substances (such as vitamin C , chlorophyll or unsaturated fatty acids ) are destroyed and their content in the food decreases, at the same time the content of substances increases that are only created to a greater extent by heating, such as acrylamide (especially in starchy and overheated foods such as French fries ). When fats are heated, numerous decomposition products such as conjugated fatty acids , polymerized triglycerides and their breakdown products (free short-chain fatty acids, mono- and diglycerides , aldehydes , ketones , polymers, aromatic and cyclic compounds ) are produced.
From 1942, the German bacteriologist and hygienist Werner Kollath postulated the highest value for unchanged, fresh food that was not heated as part of his “ whole foods ” nutrition concept. According to Kollath's theory, only foods that were as untreated as possible contained enough essential ingredients, which he called “auxones”. According to Kollath, these “auxons” were important for cell division. Their lack of nutrition could cause “mesotrophy” - malnutrition that leads to chronic diseases. He compared the “ calorie value ” with the “fresh value”; the food energy is the "partial value", while the freshness is the "full value" of the food. In his opinion, cooked food was basically only “partially valued”. Kollath divided the diet into two broad groups: the "food" and the "food". According to Kollath, “food” is “living food” that contains so-called “ ferments ”. A “food”, on the other hand, is “dead food”, “in which these ferments are destroyed - mostly through heating”. He divided both food groups into three “value levels”. All six “value levels” postulated by Kollath contain food of both vegetable and animal origin, as well as beverages.
The advantages of raw food are seen in
- that heat-sensitive or unchanged native “healthy” substances are also absorbed with the food, such as secondary plant substances and vitamins, enzymes , unrefined fats and carbohydrates and undenatured proteins or amino acids.
- so that reaction products that arise when food is heated (for example heat-denatured proteins) are not absorbed.
In Iran and India, peoples are said to be known who only eat raw foods. It is also alleged that the Hunzukuc in the Hindu Kush and the Matyodi in Southeast Africa ( Zimbabwe ) only eat raw vegetables, but the reports - at least about the Hunzukuc - seem to be unproven or are based on falsification.
Numerous nutritionists such as Joel Fuhrman, Gillian McKeith and T. Colin Campbell (head of the so-called China study ) recommend a high proportion of raw, natural foods. They see this as a precaution against numerous diseases of civilization .
According to advocates of raw food, the diseases caused by civilization and diet show that the human body has not yet adapted to cooked food in the course of evolution . According to a study by Jane Goodall, our closely related chimpanzees eat an average of 52 percent on fruits and berries, 35 percent on leaves, wild plants and sprouts, 7 percent on roots, seeds, bark and galls, and 5 percent on flowers and sprouts one percent from small animals and insects.
The most popular raw food options include:
- Original food according to Franz Konz , vegan, emphasizes wild herbs and wild vegetables (e.g. dandelion , dock , nettle etc.) inaddition to raw fruit food .
- Primal Diet according to Aajonus Vonderplanitz, non-vegetarian with greatly reduced intake of carbohydrates and emphasis on the consumption of meat, fat, freshly squeezed vegetable juices, raw milk and raw milk products.
- Instinctotherapy according to Guy-Claude Burger , vegetarian or non-vegetarian possible. Following instinct, everything is eaten that smells and tastes good in its natural state. The food is not mixed; all original, unprocessed foods are allowed.
- Fit for Life according to Harvey and Marilyn Diamond, mostly vegan, almost exclusively raw food. Only distilled water and freshly squeezed orange juiceare permitted as drinks.
- Sunlight nutrition based on the “Obstheilkunde” concept of the photographer Gustav Schlickeysen (cf. Lebensreform # Nutrition Reform ), which he published for the first time in 1875 as a means to “redeeming people”.
- Light food according to Fritz-Albert Popp , vegetarian, with a focus on sprouts, raw vegetables, cereals, nuts and raw milk.
The Giessen raw food study
The Gießen raw food study was carried out from 1996 to 1998 by the Department of Nutrition at the University of Gießen under the direction of Claus Leitzmann . Their aim was to record the different directions of raw food in Germany and to examine the nutritional behavior and health status of raw foodists. The study participants were between 25 and 64 years old and ate at least 70% raw food. They had to be non-smokers and have been eating this way for more than 14 months. In the main phase there were still more than 700 participants; at the end, complete data sets were available from 201 people. 63 of them ate almost exclusively raw food, 73 to over 80%. 57 people were vegans , 88 vegetarians , 56 so-called omnivorous raw foodists who also eat (uncooked) meat and fish. The nutrient supply was determined by blood tests.
Main results of the study: 57% of the study participants were underweight , only 1% overweight . Within four years the men had lost an average of almost 10 kg and the women around 12 kg, regardless of their initial weight. About a third of women under the age of 45 had stopped menstruating , so they suffered from amenorrhea . The intake of vitamins A, C, E, B 1 , B 6 , folic acid , beta-carotene , selenium and antioxidants was above optimal, i.e. above the recommended guide values. When calcium , zinc , iodine , vitamin D and vitamin B 12 is a clear deficiency was detected. The magnesium intake through food was sufficient, but the blood values were below the standard values. In addition, the iron intake was insufficient, with 43% of men and 15% of women suffering from anemia . It was found all the more frequently the longer a study participant had been a raw foodist.
Leitzmann deduced from the study results that an almost exclusively raw food diet is not recommended for health reasons.
The different variants of the pure raw food diet (starting at the end of the 19th century by Adolf Just , who viewed humans as the “highest light-air creature”, and his Jungborn movement ) are counted among the ideologically founded forms of nutrition. With the vegetarian and vegan forms, there is also an increased awareness of animal welfare. The basic principles, which are in part not based on scientific findings, are criticized. In addition to ideological criticism, malnutrition and hygiene problems are also discussed. A joint evaluation of the raw food is not possible due to the different teachings and the different proportions of raw food in the respective diet (vegan raw food, ovo-lacto-vegetarian raw food, raw food with raw meat and fish, sometimes raw food with or without heated meat), but rather must be considered in each individual case. Max Rubner accused the doctor and inventor of muesli Bircher-Benner , grains, nuts, fruits and salads interpreted as "sunlight accumulators" and then founded his "energetic approach", in a "boundless ignorance of physical, chemical and physiological knowledge" and called the Representative of pure raw food nutrition as a "nutritional sect".
A proportion of raw food in the diet - in the form of fruit or some vegetables - is recommended by the German Society for Nutrition , among others . An increased proportion of raw vegetables is recommended for a diet to reduce obesity , which can reduce the effects of metabolic syndrome , e.g. B. coronary heart disease or type II diabetes mellitus . Pregnant women, young children and the immunocompromised are not advised to consume raw products.
Compared to cooked food, raw food leads to incomplete digestion , which can worsen the absorption of some vitamins and trace elements as well as promoting deficiency diseases and flatulence . The cell membranes of the cells are broken down more completely during cooking by heating , which means that more nutrients are available for digestion (higher bioavailability ). Important factors for the absorption of vitamins are the stability of the vitamin and its bioavailability. While vitamin C in particular suffers from the effects of heat and is therefore absorbed more when raw fruit or vegetables are consumed, vitamin E and vitamin A are absorbed more by the body after the food is heated. Some vegetable poisons, such as the phasins found in legumes and the cyanogenic glycosides, are only largely destroyed by the action of heat. Only part of the phase content is broken down during the germination process. Consuming large quantities of raw eggs or raw egg whites can lead to a biotin deficiency, as the egg whites contain avidin , which in unheated form can remove biotin from the organism. In raw shellfish and raw freshwater fish , the enzyme thiaminase leads to a breakdown of thiamine and thus a thiamine deficiency when large amounts are consumed .
In the case of raw food nutrition, compared to heated food, there may be problems with the hygiene of the food, since the raw food is not disinfected by heating . The consumption of raw agricultural products such as fruits and vegetables can lead to infections, e.g. B. with Escherichia coli (including during the HUS epidemic 2011 ), Salmonella typhimurium and other Salmonella , and Listeria monocytogenes . In Taiwan, infections with the parasite Angiostrongylus cantonensis have been reported after consumption of vegetable juices. Furthermore, human pathogens can be transmitted by infected humans during the harvest and processing of the food . Strategies for reducing the germ count in raw vegetables include washing under running water, peeling and lowering the refrigerator temperature below 7 ° C. To reduce cross-contamination of other foods, it is recommended to store them in separate containers in the bottom refrigerator compartment, as well as to use separate kitchen utensils for raw and cooked foods and to clean the surfaces and devices after each contact with raw foods.
With ovo-lacto-vegetarian forms of pure raw food nutrition, the consumption of raw milk and raw milk products such as raw milk cheese can also cause infections with Escherichia coli , Listeria, hepatitis E , streptococci , Mycobacterium bovis and Mycobacterium avium , Cryptosporidium spp. , Brucella spp. and Coxiella burnetii .
In the course of an omnivorous raw food diet, raw beef can cause infections with E. coli , Toxoplasma gondii and mycobacteria when consumed . Infections with noroviruses , vibrios and hepatitis A viruses can occur in raw mussels after consumption .
Long-term, pure raw food nutrition tends to lead to lower levels of vitamin B 12 , vitamin D , vitamin B₂ , iron , iodine and zinc . Furthermore, increased homocysteine blood concentrations and decreased LDL , HDL and triglyceride blood concentrations occur more frequently .
According to the German Nutrition Society , the more the food choices are restricted and the less varied the diet, the greater the likelihood of a nutritional deficiency. With a vegan diet there is the risk of a deficient supply of energy, protein, long-chain n-3 fatty acids, iron, calcium, iodine, zinc, riboflavin, vitamin B 12 and vitamin D. A long-term raw vegetarian diet can lead to a decrease in bone density The lack of n-3 unsaturated fatty acids and vitamin B 12 typical of vegetarians and vegans is associated with an increased risk of thrombosis and arteriosclerosis . Although some older studies have shown that a varied raw food diet can cover protein and energy requirements, in practice raw food is often implemented in the form of a very one-sided diet with severely limited food choices. Pregnant women, breastfeeding women, children and the elderly are advised against a long-term, pure raw food diet. In immunosuppressed patients, a raw diet can lead to increased infections .
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