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The Top 6 Bad Reasons To Eat Raw

I’m a big fan of raw foods.

Whether or not you eat an entirely raw food diet isn’t really my biggest concern. But one thing that cannot really be avoided is the health benefits inherent in eating plenty of fresh raw fruits and vegetables, regardless of what you eat on the side.

But at the same time, many people have given (frankly) silly reasons for eating raw foods, particularly to the exclusion of all other foods.

So while I offer you my top 6 bad reasons to eat raw foods, keep in mind there are many more great reasons to eat raw foods and include more of them in your diet. It’s just good to be realistic about what you put in your mouth!

The Top 6 Bad Reasons To Eat Raw

1) Enzymes

This one is easy: Plant enzymes are produced by the plant for its own purposes. For example, a green banana is full of starch and amylase. As the banana ripens, the enzymes in bananas called amylase breaks down the starch into simple sugars and it becomes sweeter.

We produce our own digestive enzymes, like amylase. We don’t need the enzymes in raw foods to help our digestion. In fact, most those enzymes are destroyed when they reach our stomach acid. We also do not have a “limited supply of enzymes” like a few people once thought. Ask any medical professional or true scientist and they will agree that you don’t need to limit your consumption of any specific type of food because of a “limited supply of enzymes”.

2) It’s the diet of our “species”, the human species

I admit that for a long time, I used to believe that every single human had one species-specific diet, and even taught it as such.

The idea is that every animal has a natural diet. For examples, carnivores, like cats, must eat meat. Omnivores, like pigs, eat a bit of everything.

If we look at nature, we’ll find that the closest relatives to human beings are the chimpanzees. If we compare their anatomy to ours, we’ll find that it’s remarkably similar. Chimpanzees eat fruits, leaves, and even small invertebrate animals with regularity; therefore, we must do the same, right?

Although personally I would never recommend eating termites, it’s worth a look at the chimp’s diet.

The truth is that humans and chimps have several serious differences. Chimpanzees can eat certain astringent and fibrous types of wild fruits that humans could never even dream of digesting.

If modern-day raw foodists tried to live on what chimpanzees eat in the wild, they would live in a more or less permanent state of indigestion and would likely not be able to lead a very meaningful life.

Just take a look at what most raw foodists tend to eat.

People love the sweetest mangoes, the sweetest melons, the least acidic oranges, and would cringe at eating very acidic fruit like a quince.

Chimps in zoos fed bananas and kale are NOT fed their natural diet. And even so they still prefer hybridized human food, even cooked food compared to their natural food.

Humans produce in their saliva up to 12 times more amylase (an enzymes that digests starch) than chimpanzees do. This is an evolutionary adaptation humans have gone through as a whole.

The main thing to keep in mind is that over 4 to 7 million years of evolution separate chimpanzees from humans. They may be our closest relatives, but they are very distant ones indeed.

3) We never “adapted” to cooked foods.

The human being has adapted to eating cooked foods, to some degree. This is evidenced by our smaller digestive system, which is 25% shorter than that of chimpanzees (by body size). The idea behind this adaptation is that we are used to eating more concentrated nutrition than they do. We also produce more starch-splitting enzymes, among many other changes.

Modern day raw foodists do not eat like wild animals. They blend foods, eat highly hybridized, extra sweet fruit, and have many ways to make vegetables easier to chew and digest. That’s because as human beings, we are adapted to eating highly nutritious and more concentrated foods of higher caloric density, as opposed to the low-calorie wild fruits eaten by chimpanzees and other apes.

This attribute to humans is also what allowed us to take the time to kick back and paint a picture, a beautiful piece of music, or muster up the gumption to build skyscrapers.

4) We are the only animal on the planet who cooks its food

“Have you ever seen a wild animal with pots and pans cooking up their dinner? Well maybe that’s the reason they don’t get sick!”
No, I haven’t seen a deer roast some potatoes, but I’ve also never seen a wild chimpanzee blending up bananas in a Vita-Mix, for that matter.

There are a ton of things that wild animals don’t do — like wearing clothes, making music and writing books. But I wouldn’t encourage the human race to give all of those things up just to be like monkeys.

Wild animals DO get sick sometimes, mainly due to parasites and viruses. The sick animals also get weak and eaten by predators first typically, before they have time to die of disease.

5) All cooked food is toxic

It’s true that cooking changes food at a molecular level. In some cases, cooking foods at high temperature creates toxins, but absolutely everything you eat and do is “toxic” on some level or another, too.

If you are frying or roasting your foods to the point where they are deeply brown or blackened, there of course is going to be excess toxins that you may not want to be eating all of the time.

Yet there is no evidence that steaming vegetables or boiling rice creates toxins that truly harm the human body.

6) The Bible Says we should eat raw

Many Christians use the Bible as a reference on how to eat and live, and while I will agree that many of the points referenced have good value, it is sometimes taken out of context in reality at times.

I would suggest following your own intuition as to what feels good and right for you when it comes to what you should eat and how you nourish your own kingdom.

Really in the end, I could sum it all up just by saying, go ahead and eat raw foods. Just eat them for your own reasons, not some made up reasons that someone else told you!

What have been your experiences with any of these failed reasons to eat raw? Let us know in the comments below!

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Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.


Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.