Raw foods, vegetarian, or Paleo - which is the best diet?
By Roy Kim, Dec 20 2014
With so many fad diets out there today you may be wondering which diet is right for you. Which is the best? The most nutritious and the most health-promoting? Well, depending on your specific goal, whether it’s a leaner looking physique, weight loss or just better health, the raw food, vegetarian and Paleo diets are all great options when compared to the Standard American Diet, or SAD. That’s because all of these diets include whole natural foods as the primary source of nutrients for your body and thus help to reduce the amount of processed and packaged foods you eat.
The Standard American Diet includes foods that contain highly-processed carbohydrates, artificial ingredients, and additives that are downright toxic to your body. But if you want to know which is the best for you, here’s a quick breakdown of how these three popular diets stack up:
This diet includes eating from a menu of 100% raw food. That means that it also includes large amounts of fruits and vegetables (never heated above 118 degrees). Fruits and vegetables are the best source of many of the essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phyto-nutrients your body needs to function optimally, but when we heat a food many of the nutrients can be destroyed in the process. So by consuming these healthy foods raw, you can gain the maximum benefits of eating foods like this in their natural state. One of the problems with this diet is that it is exclusive and may eliminate entire food groups all together. This kind of exclusion diet can lead to a deficiency of vital nutrients.
A vegetarian diet does NOT include meats of any kind. While it may seem like this is a strict diet that requires a lot of effort, its health benefits are numerous and well worth it. Of course eating fruits and vegetables is a great way to get bioavailable nutrients, but did you know that vegetarians have been clinically shown to have a lower incidence of mortality than non-vegetarians? Vegetarian diets DO include products derived from animals like eggs, milk, and yogurt. However, for vegetarians it can be difficult to get all the necessary calories needed to maintain energy levels and optimal health.
Our ancestors didn’t have the same problems we do with their food sources. When they ate a food, there were no man-made ingredients to worry about. Today, when we check an ingredient list there can be a slew of words we can’t pronounce. And that means that many of us are putting things into our bodies that shouldn’t be there at all. Think of it this way, following a Paleo diet means that the foods you eat are actually food! When you eat foods in their natural state, you will be able to avoid those long ingredient lists along with the artificial sugars, fats and toxins they include. Paleo dieters eat only organic foods, grass-fed beef, free-range poultry and eggs, DHA fish oil, healthy fats and unprocessed Paleo snacks. Following a Paleo diet is the best way to avoid a deficiency of nutrients like Vitamins A and D found only in animal products. For weight loss, eating Paleo friendly snacks like our Chomps Snack Sticks can help fight hunger while also building muscle tissue for a lean physique.
Overall eating a range of foods in their whole natural state is the best way to avoid toxic ingredients found in today’s processed and packaged foods that make up much of what Americans eat today as a part of the SAD. However, following an exclusion diet like the raw food diet or vegetarian diet may lead to a lack of calories and essential nutrients that can only be taken in by eating a balanced diet which includes vegetables, fruit, animal products and meats.