Scientific Benefits of a Raw Food Diet:

T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, lends some scientific authority to the raw foods lifestyle in this short piece.

I am not aware of research which has fully explored the benefits of a raw foods diet on human health. However, this is not unusual in the field of scientific research; we seldom have complete evidence to PROVE a particular observation or hypothesis.

It is a question of the WEIGHT of the evidence and here, I am impressed with the proposition that raw foods are of considerable health benefit. The evidence includes the recommendations that heating of many kinds of foods is known to produce certain chemicals that have long been known to be carcinogenic under certain conditions. These chemicals include the heterocyclic amines and polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Although cooking of certain foods is said to de-activate otherwise toxic materials found in a few plants, individuals who routinely use raw foods seem to know which foods may be problematic.

The cooking of foods, especially when the cooking water is discarded, also may lead to considerable loss of certain micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). And finally, when certain foods are prepared, some of their most nutritious parts are discarded.

In short, although we may not have all the scientific information that one might like to have to prove the point, I am confident that keeping food as close to the raw and fresh state should should provide considerable health benefit.

T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., is Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University.