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THE LOW GI DIET

The low GI diet is about avoiding foods with a high glycemic index (GI). The GI is the rate at which our bodies break down the carbs in our food to energy. This includes processed white foods that are high in carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta cereals, cakes and other foods made with white flour or white sugar.  The reason for this is that when eating these foods your blood sugar rises rapidly.  Your body works to bring down your sugar levels.  The body then thinks it is low in sugar and will begin to feel hungry again very quickly.  Carbohydrates also provide the body with readily available energy which the body will use rather than turning to your fat stores.

PROS

Weight-loss: Eating low GI foods results in the body digesting food more slowly so the body works to burn more fat.  When you eat low GI foods you also feel fuller for longer and as a result you eat less and don’t feel like constantly snacking.

Low sugar levels: The GI diet was originally designed for diabetics to keep their blood sugar levels under control.  Whether diabetic or not it is a healthy choice to keep your blood sugar low for a number of reasons.  A quick rise in blood sugar can actually lower the speed at which the body burns fat.

More energy:  When eating low GI foods you will have more energy throughout the day.  Foods containing lots of sugar can give you a surge of energy often know as a ‘sugar high’.  This energy surge only lasts for a short time and once it wears off you tend to feel lethargic, hungry and wanting something else sweet.

GI scores vary:  A food’s GI score changes depending on the way it is prepared or cooked or in the case of fruit, how ripe it is.  This means you may not have to cut out your favourite foods, just change the way they are prepared and cooked.

You don’t have to cut out all high GI food:   If you do want to eat a high GI food ensure it is eaten with low GI foods like protein and some fat. This will minimise the negative effects of the high GI foods.

You can still have carbohydrates:  Not all carbs have a high GI.  You will have to research which ones have a low GI.  Also, be aware where the GI tests were carried out as sometimes the same product rates differently in different countries as they might use different ingredients in different locations.

CONS

Much research:  You will have to discover the GI of all the foods you like to eat but there are many lists and guides available online.  These either group foods into three groups, high, medium and low.  Others use a traffic light system grouping foods into red, yellow and green groups.  There are also pocket-size guides available that you can take with you when shopping.

Food preparation time will be longer:  Quick, easy to prepare ready meals usually have a high GI. Unprocessed, fresh foods have a low GI but do require more preparation and cooking.

CONCLUSION: The low GI diet, though originally developed for diabetics or those at a risk of developing diabetes, has health benefits for anyone choosing to follow it.  It is not very restrictive and there are still many foods you can enjoy on the low GI diet.  There is also much information about the diet available online and in books so it can be well-researched.

    Ketogenic Diet

    The ketogenic diet (also known as the keto diet) is a low-carb, high-fat and moderate protein diet.  It encourages you to exclude grains, sugar, fruit and tubers.  When we eat a high amount of carbohydrates the body will produce glucose which it will use as its primary energy source.  Since any fats we eat are not needed for energy the body will store them.  By lowering our carbohydrate intake the body goes into a state of Ketosis which is when the body begins burning the fat we eat for energy.

    PROS

    Weight-loss: The keto diet definitely helps one lose weight.  The body is now burning fat instead of storing it as it will be using fat as an energy source.  Some studies show that those following the keto diet lose even more weight than those following a low-fat diet.

    Controlled blood sugar: The keto diet naturally controls our blood sugar levels which can reduce the risk of diabetes or help regulate diabetes.

    Mental benefits:  Many say that when following the keto diet they are more focussed and are able to concentrate for longer periods of time.  This is because when the body is in a state of Ketosis, burning fat produces ketones which provide energy to the brain.

    More energy:  When the body is using fat as an energy source you will feel more energised throughout the day

    You won’t feel hungry:  No part of this diet requires you to feel hungry and snacking is allowed, just be vigilant about what your snacks are.  You are lowering your carbohydrate in take but this does not mean you eat less it just means you replace carbs with fat.  Fat is generally more filling than other foods so if this makes up the majority of your diet you are going to feel more full and stay full for longer.

    Better skin:  Many notice improvements in their skin and reduction in acne when following the keto diet.  There are studies suggesting that the keto diet also assist with a number of other conditions or diseases but more research has to be done to make these findings conclusive.

    Large variety of options:  Though this diet requires you to lower the amount of carbohydrates you eat there is still a large number of foods you can eat while following this diet.  This means you can still have variety in your diet and situations like eating at a restaurant are not made difficult.

    CONS

    You will initially experience ‘keto flu’:  As your body adapts to your lower carb intake and your increased fat intake you may experience reduced energy levels, grogginess and headaches.  This is known as ‘keto flu’ and should only last for a few days.

    Increased urination:  It is common to urinate more often when following the keto diet.  Just ensure you drink enough water so that you do not become dehydrated.

    Bad breath:  When the body goes into a state of Ketosis it is normal to experience bad breath.  This is not a long-term effect and can be combatted in the usual ways such as chewing gum as long as it is sugar free.

    Research will be required:  As you begin his diet you will need to do some research on the foods you eat and read labels before you buy foods.  Many foods that seem keto-friendly actually contain ‘hidden’ carbs.

    CONCLUSION: The keto diet encourages you to reduce the amount of carbohydrates you eat and replace them with fat.  This will result in the body burning the fat you eat instead of storing it.  There are many mental and physical benefits to following the keto diet including weight loss.  There are still many foods one can eat while following this diet and therefore it is easy to maintain in the long-run.

      South Beach Diet

      The South Beach diet is lower in carbohydrates and higher in healthy fats and protein.  It does not eliminate all carbs but encourages low glycemic index carbs as well as lean proteins and unsaturated fats and divides carbs and fats into ’good’ and ‘bad’ groups.  High glycemic index carbs can lead to weight gain and possibly diabetes.  The South Beach diet consists of three phases.  The first phase is very restrictive but only lasts for two weeks and helps you to reduce the cravings.  The second phase is less restrictive and this phase lasts until you reach your goal weight.  The third phase is even less restrictive.  You begin this phase once you have reached your goal weight and it will help you to maintain a healthy weight and life style.

      PROS

      Weight loss:  Studies have shown that those following the South Beach diet do lose weight.  They lose weight quite rapidly in the first two weeks while in Stage 1 but continue to lose weight steadily while in Stage 2.  While this may seem slow it is considered a very healthy way to diet.

      Reduced risk of heart disease:  The South Beach diet was developed by cardiologist Dr Artur Agatston.  Unhappy with many of the fad diets his patients were following, Dr Agatston developed the South Beach diet to not only help people lose weight but also reduce their risk of heart disease.

      No food is not allowed:  One you have reached your goal weight and are in stage 3 you are allowed all foods and can have ‘treats’ as long as you do not over-indulge in some foods.

      It is easy to maintain:  The worry with many diets is that once you stop you will put on the weight you lost.  The South Beach diet is easy to maintain in the long run, especially in stage 3 and will help you maintain a healthy weight.  Many who follow the diet say that they have been able to keep the weight off after reaching their goal weight.

      Many South Beach diet recipes are available:  There is a huge amount of South Beach diet recipes as well as meal plans available online.

      You won’t go hungry:  No part of the South Beach diet requires you to go hungry and allows snacking.  It is more about what you eat than how much you eat.

      CONS

      It is very restrictive in the first phase:  Some may struggle with the South Beach diet to begin with.  The first phase is the most restrictive which may be difficult.  However, it is only for two weeks and more foods can be introduced in phase 2.

      Allows fats that are high in omega-6:  The South Beach diet does allow fats that are high in omega-6 fatty acids, such as soybean oil and sunflower oil.  Too much omega-6 can lead to inflammation and other health problems.

      The diet allows processed foods:   The South Beach diet does allow some processed foods but these do have other health risks attached to them.  To remain healthy, it would be best to choose the non-processed options in these cases.  While the diet does allow processed food, it does encourage eating mainly unprocessed food.

      CONCLUSION: The South Beach diet is low in carbs and encourages eating mainly unprocessed foods, liberal amounts of vegetables and healthy, high-fibre carb sources.  The diet has been proven to promote weight loss as well as reduce the risk of heart disease.  It is not a diet to be used if you want to lose weight in a hurry but it is sustainable and helps one maintain a healthy weight.

        THE BODY FOR LIFE DIET

        THE BODY FOR LIFE DIET

        The body for life diet is a high protein low-fat diet that not only helps you lose weight but will also result in getting more toned and in better shape.  The diet consists of a 12-week programme called a challenge.  The challenge is not only a diet but also a demanding exercise programme.

        PROS

        Weight-loss:  Combining the recommended food portions along with the exercise programme results in rapid weight-loss.

        No calorie counting:  The diet recommends having five to six smaller meals a day.  These should consist of a portion (the size of the palm of your hand) of lean protein and a portion of unrefined, wholegrain carbohydrates.  The amount of daily fat recommended is only one tablespoon and it must be monosaturated fat.  It is suggested that those following the diet estimate the portion sizes rather than measuring amounts exactly.

        Many resources:  There are many books by Bill Phillips who developed the diet.  There are also many resources online as well as motivational videos and material.  Many different meal plans are also available online and in the books.

        Cheat days:  The diet should be followed for six days and every seventh day is a cheat day where you can eat whatever you like.  This is especially useful if you are eating out.  However, if you go on a food binge you may undo a lot of the good work done in the last six days.  On your cheat day you just don’t have to stick to certain foods or portion sizes.

        In better shape:  Exercise is a big part of this diet but will result in you being more toned and in better shape.  What Bill Phillips recommends is alternate each day with forty-five minutes of weight training exercises one day and 20 minutes aerobic exercises on the other days.  Every seventh day should be a rest, your cheat day.  There are many resources where the exercises are explained in more detail.

        CONS

        Cost: The exercises are intense and it is recommended that they are best done in a gym with the correct equipment and where there are fitness professionals to assist you.  Of course, this is an added expense.

        It’s not for everybody:  Before anyone begins the body for life diet they should speak to their doctor.  It is very rigorous, especially the exercises, and your doctor may not recommend it for you.  The high protein content is also not suitable for everyone.

        It is more difficult for vegetarians:  The diet does consist of a lot of protein which vegetarians may find difficult to meet each day.  Recommended sources of protein for vegetarians are tempeh, soy, textured vegetable protein and                 seitan.  It is not impossible for vegetarians to follow this diet but it will be more difficult.

        Supplements: Bill Phillips does recommend that those following the diet should also take a lot of supplements but nutritionists feel that this is unnecessary.

        The body for life diet is a high protein low-fat diet that is more concerned with portions than calorie counting.  It is easy to follow as far as the food portions are concerned.  The exercises are harder to stick to if you are not used to exercising regularly.  The meals combined with the exercises however, will result in weight loss, a toned body and you will be in better shape.  The diet is not that restrictive about what you can eat and there is a cheat day every seven days.  It is a 12 week programme but to maintain a healthy weight it is recommended that you continue to follow it after the twelve weeks.  The body for life diet isn’t for everyone but those who follow it do enjoy great results.

         

          The Eat Clean Diet

          THE EAT CLEAN DIET

          Eating clean basically means eating food that has not been processed or refined and is as close to its natural form as possible.  This also means excluding foods that contain artificial ingredients, are grown using chemicals and pesticides and bred with the help of hormones or antibiotics.  The diet is very much based on the concept of “you are what you eat”.

          PROS

          Weight-loss:  By swapping processed foods with lots of additives for natural food you will begin lose weight.  This has been proven in many studies.

          You will not be hungry:  The eat clean diet recommends you eat six smaller meals a day as it is more healthy to eat little and often.  This will also prevent you from feeling hungry.

          It is not a raw food diet:  Cooked food is not completely in its natural state but as long as is fresh and unprocessed you can cook it and still stick to the diet.

          It is flexible:  It is up to you how ‘clean’ you go.  While some people choose to just cut out processed foods others also choose to only eat seasonal foods, avoiding imported goods and only buying meat produced to high animal welfare standards.

          Health benefits: Studies have proven that clean eating prevents conditions such as anaemia and osteoporosis, can reduce the risk of heart disease, having a stroke and even certain types of cancer.  You will also appear healthier as it also has benefits for your hair, skin and nails.  Those following the diet also say that they feel more healthy and less tired.

          It is sustainable:  The eat clean diet is easy to sustain over a long period of time.  It is supported by many dietician and its creator prefers it to be thought of as a lifestyle change rather than a diet.  You will be eating different foods from what you are used to but you will feel just as full and may even eat more often than you are used to.

          CONS

          A lot of label reading:  It is advisable that you read the labels on the food you buy before making a purchase.  You may find it surprising how many foods that seem clean have a lot of added sugar and artificial ingredients.

          More time consuming:  Easy to cook ready-meals are processed and have lots of added ingredients for flavour.  Eating clean involves eating a lot of fresh produce which will mean more time preparing and cooking meals.

          No alcohol:  Alcohol is certainly not close to the foods natural form and has much added to it so is not considered part of clean eating.

          Conclusion: The eat clean diet is a sustainable, long-term diet.  It encourages eating food that is not processed and does not contain additives and flavourings.  A simple question to ask yourself when buying food is “How close is this to its natural form?” The eat clean diet is not very restrictive with regards to what you can eat and encourages you to eat often ensuring that you never get hungry.  It is all about what you eat rather than how much.

           

           

            The Zone Diet

            THE ZONE DIET

            The zone diet, also known as the 40/30/30 diet, recommends the amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat you should have each day in order to maintain a balanced diet. There are two forms of this diet which vary in the amount of each food they suggest you should have each day.  The more restrictive version of this diet suggests that at every meal 1/3 of your plate should be protein, 2/3 of your plate should be carbs and then you add a dash of fat.  The other version suggests that 40% of your plate should be carbs while 30% should be protein and the remaining 30% fat. This diet was originally developed by Dr Barry Sears in order to reduce diet-induced inflammation.  Dr Sears believed this inflammation led to weight gain, sickness and faster aging.  Therefore, by reducing inflammation you can lose weight, reduce your risk of chronic illness and slow down the aging process.

            PROS

            Weight-loss:  Studies done on the zone diet have shown that it does not only prevent one from gaining weight but that it leads to weight loss

            Health benefits:  This diet was developed to reduce inflammation and in turn lose fat quickly, reduce the risk of chronic disease, slow down the aging process and improve both mental and physical performance

            No food group is excluded:  This diet includes carbs, protein and fat but ensure you eat lean protein, low glycemic index carbs and monosaturated fat.  Foods that are not encouraged are those that are processed, high in sugar and starch or have refined carbs and added sugar.

            Easy to follow:  The hand-eye method and is the easiest way to start the diet.  Your five fingers remind you to eat five times a day (three large meals and two snacks) and to never go more than five hours without food.  You also use the size of your hand to determine your portion sizes or you can use your eyes to estimate portion sizes.

            The diet can be personalised: For those who like to be more vigilant when following diets there is the zone food block method.  You calculate how many grams of carbs, protein and fat you have per day, these are then converted into zone blocks.  The amount of zone blocks you should have each day depends on your weight, height and waist and hip measurements.  The amount of recommended blocks a day also differs between men and women.

            It is sustainable: There is no time limit with the zone diet and therefore, is suggested as way of life rather than a quick way to lose weight.  This does mean, however that it is sustainable and will help you maintain a healthy weight.

            Flexibility:  There are two versions to this diet so you can ease into it by starting with the 40/30/30 diet and then begin the zone diet.  It is up to you if you want to do the more restrictive diet or stay with the 40/30/30 diet.

            CONS

            Lack of evidence:  While the zone diet does claim to have many health benefits, there is little evidence to support these claims.  The one benefit it claims that has been proven is that it helps with weight-loss

            Time consuming:  The zone food block method and very complicated to follow at first but does produce the best results.  If you choose to follow the zone food block method you will need to do research either on the internet or investing in a zone diet book.  You will also need a set of scales and then have to weigh everything you put into a meal (that includes snacks) to ensure you are getting the right amount of zone food blocks.

            Eating out may be difficult:  You will probably find it hard to eat at restaurants while sticking to the zone diet as their meals will probably not be divided into the portions (or food blocks) recommended on the zone diet.

            Conclusion: One of the biggest advantages of the zone diet is that it is flexible depending on which method you choose to follow and it doesn’t exclude any food but rather makes suggestions.  The diet does claim to have health benefits, other than weight-loss but there is not enough evidence to prove these claims.

             

              The Okinawan Diet

              OKINAWAN DIET

              The Okinawan diet is named after a region in Japan which has the highest percentage of centurions in the world.  The average life expectancy of Okinawans is higher than in most Western countries.  Many have attributed this to their diet and their attitude to food.   This diet has adopted many aspects of the Okinawan diet and adapted them to an easy-to-follow way of eating.

              PROS

              Wight-loss:   The average body mass index (BMI) of Okinawan people is 20 which is the lower end of the healthy spectrum.  The diet also includes a small number of calories but still enough to remain healthy.

              Plenty of fruit and vegetables:  The Okinawan diet involves eating a lot of fruit and vegetables.  Ensure that you eat green, orange and yellow (GOY) fruit and vegetables as they all have different health benefits.  It also provides much more variety to your diet.

              Not all rice:  Many believe that the Japanese diet includes a lot of rice.  While there is some rice n this diet it is recommended that you only have a little, and that is the same for all grains.  The Okinawans preferred carbohydrate is the purple sweet potato but all starchy carbs are good for our bodies.

              Meat is included:  The Okinawan diet does include meat and seafood but only in small amounts.  It is recommended that some of your meals are completely vegetarian while others can include a small amount of meat or fish.  Also ensure that you are buying good quality meat.

              Portion size in not the focus:  The Okinawan diet does not focus on the size of your portion but rather mindful eating.  They believe you should consume food until you are 80% full. Therefore, if you are still hungry you should eat more.   As you lose weight your portion sizes will probably get smaller without you even realising.

              You will be getting all you need:  The Okinawan diet does not completely cut out any of the food groups but just encourages you to have some in small amounts.  This means you will be getting all the nutrients and vitamins you need to stay healthy and you won’t have to take any supplements.

              CONS

              Cutting back on dairy:  The Okinawan diet does allow you to have limited dairy products but try to use almond or coconut milk as an alternative to cow’s milk.  Much of the cow’s milk available to us contains a lot of sugar or loses many of its nutrients through the pasteurization process.

              Much of the meat in the Okinawan diet is pork:  Many people, for religious or health reasons, do not eat pork and this may lower your meat intake on this diet.  Okinawans also believe in eating the whole pig including its internal organs.

              It will be hard to follow initially:   Many initially find it hard to have such small amounts of meat, dairy and grains.  The suggestion is to introduce one new vegetable a week.  Also, do not cut back on all other foods at once.  Begin by cutting back on meat and then move onto dairy and grains.

              Conclusion: The Okinawan diet is primarily plant based but does allow small amounts of other foods too.  Evidence does suggest that following the Okinawan diet will prolong one’s life, especially when coupled with a healthy lifestyle which includes regular exercise.  The average life expectancy of those in the Okinawan region is more than those in the rest of Japan and considerably more than those in the Western world.  It may be a diet that will be hard to follow initially but there are many proven health benefits to be had when following the Okinawan diet.

                The Ornish Diet

                THE ORNISH DIET

                On the Ornish diet you eat mostly fruits, vegetables, and grains and very little fat.  However, the diet can vary as there are slight variations within this diet though it is mainly vegetarian.  It is thought that when done with exercise and stress relieving activities this diet will help you lose weight and make you healthier.  The Ornish diet excludes meat, oil, products containing oil, full-fat dairy and sugar.  This may seem like a lot of foods are excluded but there are many different and delicious Ornish diet recipes online.  The diet is not recommended for children, teenagers, pregnant women or mothers who are nursing.

                PROS

                Proven weight-loss:  Many studies have been done on the Ornish diet and there is much evidence that it helps weight loss and also shows that many who follow the diet maintain a lower weight.

                Maintains heart health: The foods included in the diet are much better for your heart and when coupled with exercise the risk of heart disease is reduced.

                Less stress:  Part of following this diet is that it recommends doing something that reduces stress levels while eating healthier.  This may involve yoga or meditation but it can be something a lot simpler like spending time with your loved ones.

                You can still have alcohol:  The diet does not exclude alcohol as long as you only have it in moderation.

                There are different levels of the diet:  The diet groups foods into five groups with group one being the most healthy.  You can choose which group/s your food comes from and the groups makes it easy to find alternatives for unhealthy foods you usually eat.

                Less chance of feeling hungry:  The Ornish diet encourages you to eat as much as you want until you feel full.  Just ensure that you are eating the recommended healthy foods.

                CONS

                Exercise is part of the diet:  To achieve the best results for weight loss as well as for your health it is recommended that you exercise while on this diet.  It is suggested that you exercise for 30 minutes five times a week or 60 minutes three times a week.

                Meals have to be planned:  If those following the Ornish diet don’t carefully plan their meals, there is a danger that they will not get all the recommended calories they need each day as well as certain nutrients and vitamins.

                Some find this diet hard to stick to:  If you are used to eating meat or foods that are high in fat you may find this diet very restrictive and hard to follow in the long term.

                Conclusion: The Ornish diet is vegetarian but this is not restrictive as it initially seems.  Also the amount of food you eat on the Ornish diet is not restricted so you can eat until you feel full.  It is a great diet for weight-loss and promotes a healthy life-style.

                 

                  80/10/10 DIET

                  THE 80/10/10 DIET

                  The 80/10/10 diet is a low-fat, raw food, vegan diet which has the goal of getting 80% of your calories from carbs (primarily raw fruit), 10% from plant-based protein and 10% from fat.  While it  may seem like a restrictive diet you are still gaining carbohydrates, fat and protein and it definitely does help one lose weight.

                  PROS

                  You can limit the amount fat you eat: By sticking to the 80/10/10 ratios you can ensure that you are not taking in too many fats or eating too many fatty fruits and vegetables such as nuts and avocados.

                  You can eat large quantities of food: Fruit and vegetables, which make up a large part of this diet, do not contain as many calories as other foods.  Therefore, to ensure you get a healthy amount of calories each day, eating large quantities of food on this diet is necessary.

                  You eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables: It is well-known that fresh food and vegetables contain a lot of nutrients and this diet certainly ensures that you get your five a day.

                  You do not eat processed foods:  Processed foods are very low in nutrients.  Many are also often referred to as junk food as they are not good for your health and promote weight gain.  The 80/10/10 completely excludes these foods.

                  Lower health risks: Much research shows that eating large amounts of fruit and vegetables lowers the risk of many health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, dementia and certain types of cancer.

                  CONS

                  The diet is very high in sugar: The diet will involve you eating a lot of fruit as they contain more calories than vegetables and you will need to meet your daily requirements.  Even though fruit contains natural sugar this can still be had in excess and cause health problems.

                  It is very low in fat:  While too much fat is not good for your health or weight loss some fat is good for various things such as regulating your blood sugar, appetite and energy.  It also provides nutrients for your heart, brain and skin.  Many health professionals will recommend using this diet for a short period of time if you need to lose weight quickly but using this diet for a long period in time can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

                  Large volumes of food:  While this may sound perfect when considering a diet many struggle to eat the large amount required to remain healthy with the 80/10/10 diet.

                  It is very low in protein: While research shows that too much fat in a diet is unhealthy, there is very little evidence to suggest that only 10% of your diet being protein is a healthy choice.

                  Insufficient vitamin B12 and iodine levels: Both vitamin B12 and iodine are important to one’s metabolism and many of the foods that contain either B12 and iodine are excluded from the 80/10/10 diet.  Lack in B12 can lead to anemia, damage to the nervous system and infertility; while low iodine levels can lead to forgetfulness, low energy and depression.  Those following the 80/10/10 diet will need to take B12 and iodine supplements.

                  Lack of evidence:  Those promoting the 80/10/10 diet will tell of the many health benefits of following this diet.  However, many of these health benefits are assumed or anecdotal and there is very little or no evidence to support these claims.

                  It is difficult to sustain:  Following the 80/10/10 diet for long periods of time is challenging.  Continually eating large quantities of fruit will be difficult and as discussed there are potential health risks with following this diet for a long period of time. This diet is also very restrictive and could make occasions like eating at a restaurant problematic.

                  Conclusion: While the 80/10/10 does help you lose weight and is good to follow for short period of time many discourage anyone from following it in the long-term as there are many health risks.  There are many claims that there are many benefits to this diet over and above losing weight but there is not much evidence to support these claims.

                   

                   

                   

                    Raw Food Diet

                    THE RAW FOOD DIET

                    The raw food diet is about eating mostly uncooked and unprocessed foods, this also includes anything that has been refined, canned, pasteurised, homogenised or produced with synthetic pesticides.  Also avoid foods with chemical additives.  The reason for this is to get all the nutrients and enzymes that are naturally in our food.  We need enzymes for all bodily functions and heating our food to any temperature more than 48°C (112°F) destroys the natural enzymes found in our food.  You may have heard this diet being called raw foodism and some call it raw veganism however it is not the same.  Raw foodism does allow animal products and includes raw egg and raw fish; raw veganism does not include any animal products.

                    PROS:

                    Weight-loss:  The raw food diet does result in weight-loss as there are less calories in raw food.  The raw food diet also excludes a lot of food connected with weight gain such as processed junk food and food with added sugar.

                    You can begin slowly:  Not all your food has to be raw as long as most of what you eat is.  It has also been shown to be a much healthier option to switch to the raw food diet slowly as it gives your body time to adjust.  Therefore, you can start introducing more raw food slowly into your diet.

                    It is easy to get your five a day: The raw food diet includes a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables so it will ensure that you are getting five a day

                    Increased energy levels:  Those following the raw food diet have reported that they feel a lot more energetic and focussed.  Others have reported that it has resulted in them having healthier skin and stronger hair and nails.

                    Better digestion:  Research has shown that raw food is much easier for our bodies to digest than cooked food.  Difficult digestion can lead to a number of health problems.

                    You can still have sweet food: The raw food diet does can include some sweet foods and puddings.  There are many recipes available on the internet to satisfy your sweet tooth.

                    CONS:

                    Lack of research:  Though more research is being done, not all the reported health benefits can be backed by research.  Some are anecdotal or there is no evidence that a reported health benefit was directly linked to the raw food diet.

                    Less calories:  Fewer calories does mean that the raw food diet does help with weight-loss but following it long-term can be dangerous.  It is extremely difficult to get all the calories one needs in a day from eating raw food.  This lack of calories leads to huge loss in body fat which can lead to many serious health problems.  This diet must definitely be avoided by pregnant women and those with health problems should speak to their doctor first.

                    You may have to take supplements: Though the raw food diet does not promote supplements your GP may recommend them as cutting out cooked food can result in some deficiencies.

                    Conclusion: The raw food diet definitely has some benefits and is a great way to lose weight.  However, there are health risks connected to following this diet in the long-term.