Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Two Sides of the Raw Movement

Here's a very thought provoking article by 80-10-10 proponent, Frederic Patenaude.

The newcomer to the world of natural health is often
confused by the myriad of different diet philosophies out
there that all seem to contradict each other. Every year we
hear about a new diet to add to the endless list of those
already in existence; Mediterranean, South Beach, Atkins,
Blood Type, Macrobiotics and all of the others that have
been long since forgotten.

When a person is interested in the raw-food diet, it seems
that the confusion is even bigger! In this tiny niche market
of the natural health world, the promoters of the raw-food
diet haven't even agreed with each other on what really
constitutes the raw food diet.

For example, there's the Hippocrates program, which
proposes a diet consisting mainly of sprouts, vegetables and
very little fruit.

There's the Rainbow Green Diet, which eliminates fruit for
a while and focuses on vegetables, seaweeds, spirulina and
other "green" foods.

Then there are those who promote a diet that includes lots
of "super-foods" such as coconut oil, cacao beans, maca
powder, and other such exotic ingredients.

We also have the instinctive eating movement that recommends
eating raw foods in their natural state (no juicing,
blending, mixing, etc.), but also often include raw meat and
fish in the fare.

Some raw-foodists eat raw dairy, insisting that we need some
animal foods in our diet in order to thrive.

Then there are those who recommend a fruit-based diet, and a
rarer few who recommend an all-fruit diet.

There's natural hygiene, which insists on eating foods in
their natural state and avoiding strong irritants such as
garlic, hot peppers, spices and salt.

Then, of course, there are those who take no position at all
and just recommend that people find out "what works for

So the newcomer, who is faced with all of these different
diet philosophies, has no choice but to wonder who's right
and who's wrong. It seems like choosing the 'right' diet
is such an insurmountable task, that perhaps the best thing
to do is just try a little bit of each of these different
approaches and come up with a workable program.

In my experience, this approach leads to a lot of
frustration, if not sheer failure. That's what I was doing
for many years, trying a little bit of each raw-food or diet
approach in the hope of eventually coming up with my own
program. That's until I realized that there are not
actually that many options. The different philosophies give
themselves different names when in fact they are basically
promoting the same thing.

Before examining diets in the raw world, let's take a look
at the other more popular diets out there. One has to
wonder: with so many possibilities, who's right?


For almost 150 years, the medical model for dieting has been
recommending a high-fat, high-protein, low-carbohydrate
diet. It started becoming popular in 1860 when Londoner
William Banting lost 50 pounds on a high-protein diet that
consisted of dry roasted lean meat, soft-boiled eggs and
vegetables. He wrote a book in 1864 called "Letters on
Corpulence" that became an instant bestseller.

By 1880, "Banting" is America's foremost weight-loss
program. A little later, another doctor by the name of James
Salisbury started promoting a diet consisting mainly of hot
water and minced meat patties (the famous Salisbury steak)
for health and weight loss.

When Dr. Atkins wrote his "Diet Revolution" in 1972, he
didn't invent anything new. He just kept on promoting the
medical model for weight loss, which has always consisted of
calorie-reduction in the context of a high-fat, high-protein

Since then, most diets are just a variation on the same
theme, with a different degree of restrictions and a new
gimmick. The Zone Diet, the South Beach Diet, and even the
Blood Type diet are just variations on the medical model for

Challengers to the medical model for diet and weight loss
have always recommended a low-fat diet. Generally, their
books are not as in vogue as the other diet fads I
mentioned, but their program is based on more solid

Proponents of the low-fat diet include Dr. Dean Ornish. Dr.
Ornish was the first to prove through extensive research
that coronary heart disease can be reversed, by making
comprehensive changes in diet and lifestyle, including a
low-fat vegetarian diet.

Other proponents of the low-fat diet include Dr. McDougall,
who has recommended a low-fat diet for decades and whose
results are well documented (

Also, in the low-fat camp we find T. Colin Campbell who
conducted The China Study : the most comprehensive nutrition
study ever conducted. We also have most of the vegan and
vegetarian doctors who wrote books and did their own
research, such as Dr. Klaper, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Joel
Fuhrman, and many others.

When we look at it like that, and if we go past the small
differences regarding details, we can roughly see the
following picture:

We have the medical model that's promoted through most
"research" we hear about in newspapers, popular magazines
and fitness centers. This model usually recommends a
high-fat, high-protein diet and calorie reduction, or a
variation on that theme.

Then we have the "alternative" model, which is promoted by
various doctors and serious researchers and is backed up by
an extensive amount of data. This model recommends a
plant-based, low-fat vegetarian diet.


In the raw-food movement, it may seem from the outside that
there are many different options available, and this all
seems very confusing to the newcomer.

A closer look at the different raw-food diets promoted,
however, reveals that there are basically 2 different
options presented, with others that find themselves

1- *The high-fat, raw diet*. This approach generally
promotes eating a vegetable based diet. Although the
promoters of this diet do not like to say it, it is also a
very high-fat diet.

2- *The fruit-based, low-fat diet*. This approach recognizes
the problems of eating large quantities of fat, even though
this fat may come from natural sources such as avocados,
nuts, seeds, etc. Instead of making fat the main source of
calories, this approach recommends fruit as being the main
source of calories.

In a raw-food diet the foods that provide calories are
basically limited to two options: fruit or fat.

Why is that?

The fact is, that fruit is the only real source of
carbohydrates in the raw diet. Complex sugars such as bread,
pasta, potatoes, etc., are generally avoided. Although some
vegetables contain carbohydrates, they cannot be considered
to be a significant source of them. They are so low in
calories that it would be impossible to eat enough of them
to meet our caloric needs. To get 2000 calories, you would
need to eat about 50 heads of lettuce, or over 75 raw
carrots. It simply isn't gonna happen.

The alternative is to eat fatty foods such as avocados,
olive oil, nuts and seeds. When a raw-food person says that
he doesn't recommend eating a lot of fruit, then by
default, it means that he recommends a high-fat diet. There
is simply no other way around it!


Once you understand that all these endless dietary
approaches can really be filtered down into just two, you
have to decide where you stand.

Which raw diet are you going to follow? The high-fat diet,
or the high-fruit diet?

In my experience, trying to find middle-ground has been a
frustrating endeavor. The reasons why are a little
scientific. Let me explain:

On a high-fat diet, insulin sensitivity is greatly reduced,
meaning that simple sugars do not arrive to their
destination (the cells) as rapidly. When a person on a
high-fat diet eats a lot of fruit (sugar), they often get
symptoms of hypoglycemia, candida, concentration problems
and more.

The equation is: high-fat diet + fruit = disaster.

On a low-fat diet, however, we find that all those symptoms
disappear, even though a lot of fruit is consumed. Insulin
works efficiently to transport simple sugars to the cells.
Concentration increases and blood sugar is stable.

Those results are perfectly congruent with all of the
research done by the various doctors mentioned earlier, who
promote a low-fat diet. Trying to mix different approaches
together will end up being disastrous.

Why not choose one and really stick with it?

Your Time to Decide

If you want to eat a raw-food diet, you have the choice
between a high-fruit, low-fat diet, or a high-fat diet. The
choice is yours, but don't take your decision lightly.

Personally, the answer is obvious. The low-fat diet makes
the most sense, is the easiest to practice, the most
rewarding in terms of health results and energy levels, and
the one that is most congruent with the most progressive
scientific research.

To me, the high-fat raw diet is just a variation on the
medical model of diet and weight loss. It doesn't make
sense and isn't giving the kind of results we would expect
from a successful program.

So decide, where do you stand?


PS: If you'd like to overcome your cravings, get shockingly
fit and finally *thrive* instead of just making a bit of
improvement, aim for Perfect Health, nothing less.

Check this out for more details:

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