Sunday, November 25, 2007

Interesting stuff from Wikipedia

However, archaeological evidence suggests that cooking pre-dates the anatomically modern human form.

showed that enzymes in uncooked foods are released in the mouth when vegetables are chewed. It is believed that these enzymes interact with other substances, notably the enzymes produced by the body itself, to aid the digestion process

Leslie Kenton's book, The New Raw Energy, in 1984 popularized food such as sprouts, seeds, and fresh vegetable juices, which have become staples in many different food cultures. The book brought together research into raw foodism and its support of health, citing examples such as the sprouted seed enriched diets of the long lived Himalayan Hunza people, as well as Max Gerson's claim of a raw juice-based cancer cure. The book advocates a diet of 75% raw food in order to prevent degenerative diseases, slow the effects of aging, provide enhanced energy, and boost emotional balance.

Freezing food is acceptable; some raw foodists choose to preserve nuts and seeds in a freezer. Although freezing decreases enzyme activity, the food is still raw.

The benefits of a raw food diet are said to include: a stable body mass index, clear skin, more energy, and minimising a range of common illnesses, from the flu to obesity-related illnesses.

Anthropologist Peter Lucas of George Washington University in Washington, DC, US, was reported in New Scientist magazine in 2005 as having the theory that man being the only mammal with chronic poor dentition, and the only mammal to significantly process and cook his food, are causally linked. He believes that the adoption of food processing and cooking reduced the size of our jaw through evolutionary processes, but not the size of our teeth.

A study by the University of Toronto and another published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggest that ingesting cooked or pasteurized dairy products may increase risk of colon cancer. The increased risk is due to the effect of heating casein, a phosphoprotein found in dairy products.

Although research that provides a correlation between the health of an animal and the diet's proximity to vegan and raw food is essentially what is needed in order to show evidence of its impact, a large portion of the revenue brought in by a nation like the U.S. is from dairy and meat products, so the funding for this type of research may not meet the interests of today's money makers.

Some raw foodists claim that ingesting enzymes aids digestion in the mouth, stomach, and intestines.[citation needed] The claim about stomach digestion, however, goes against well established knowledge regarding the biochemistry of enzymes. Enzymes are very sensitive to pH and their activity will be nullified outside a specific pH range.[22] The digestive enzymes produced by the stomach are active in the low pH (2-4) of the stomach, whereas enzymes found in most foods will be most active at cellular pH (approximately 7).[23]

However, some dietary enzymes such as bromelain and a protected form of SOD have been shown to be absorbed through the intestines and into the bloodstream.[citation needed] Also, enzymes found in acidic plant foods, including many fruits, are active at low pH similar to that of the human stomach

A 2005 study has shown that a raw food vegetarian diet is associated with a lower bone density.[31] This may not be a problem however, as new research appears to indicate that high bone density early in life is associated with osteoporosis, regardless of genetic variation

One study of raw veganism shows amenorrhea and underweightness in women,[34] another one increased risk of dental erosion.[35]

Some advocates of raw foodism claim that amenorrhea may be a normal condition of fertile women, and that indeed menstruation as most women experience is neither natural nor healthy, but a consequence of intoxication due to unnatural cooked diets


Ian said...

Nice job on this research. I've been looking into critics of the raw food path myself, and I am beginning to see holes in some of the claims made by raw foodists (ie- raw food "curing" ailments instead of "healing" them, starches and digestibility when cooked etc)

The two points of contention that seem to be most prolific are 1) that the body makes enzymes to digest food, and 2) the acid in the stomach destroys the enzymes before they can begin to work. I will address each point:

1) The pancreas does indeed produce enzymes, and yes, these do digest food, hence the name "digestive enzymes". Enzymes of all different kinds are responsible for every chemical reaction in the body, from breathing to blinking to making a fist - the are called "metabolic enzymes".

The pancreas makes metabolic enzymes to take care of all the functions of the body. When cooked food is ingested, these vital enzymes need to be coverted to digestive enzymes. And, since it is theorized that we have a limit on our enzymes, a loss of these enzymes to digestion means that something in another part of our body is suffering as a result.

2) The acid in the lower stomach would destroy enzymes during digestion. However, they are not destroyed during what is known as "pre-digestion". Cows have 4 stomachs, the 1st of which is for pre-digestion. Chickens have 2 stomachs, the 1st of which is for pre-digestion.

Humans, likewise, have 2 stomachs, an "upper portion" for pre-digestion, and a "lower portion" where the stomach acids are activated. No peristalic waves have been recorded during the pre-digestive stage, meaning that the acids of the lower portion of the stomach do not affect the food during pre-digestion in the upper portion.

If the food is eaten raw, it will digest itself during the pre-digestion stage. If the food is eaten cooked, it will not digest itself, and pass through undigested and begin the toxemia cycle in the body.

The issue you may have had with yogurt, for example, is the body's way of getting rid of toxins. The pasteurized yogurt passed through the upper portion of your stomach undigested, and needed to be filtered out of the body somehow - the pores in the skin being one method. Had you had raw milk yogurt or fermented raw coconut milk yogurt, these problems may not have happened. My problems with pasteurized dairy were equally as horrific, and forced me to re-evaluate my intake of it as well.

Congrats on your trip through the holidays. Mine was equally as successful :-) Jenn and I then proceeded to destroy New York City for a week of gourmet raw debauchery! Details will be forthcoming!


Ian said...
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