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Thread: What's harder to digest: raw or cooked? page

  1. #1
    porcelain's Avatar
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    What's harder to digest: raw or cooked?

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    I remember being a raw vegan for a few months and yes, it put me in the most miserable health state possible. I was constantly prone to infections, depressed, and tired. While veganism caters a very malnourished lifestyle, I still like to hold high regard in the potent sustenance of raw vegetables. When thriving on a primal food, I like to include raw vegetables to take advantage of the digestive enzymes, biophotons, and other micronutrients.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mercola
    Eating enzyme-dead food places a burden on your pancreas and other organs and overworks them, which eventually exhausts these organs. The digestion of cooked food uses valuable metabolic enzymes in order to help digest your food. Digestion of cooked food is much more energetically demanding than the digestion of raw food. In general, raw food is so much more easily digested that it passes through the digestive tract in a half to a third of the time it takes for cooked food.

    Raw Food -- One of Your Keys to Outstanding Health 5/22/02
    On biophotons:

    Quote Originally Posted by Mercola
    Sunlight is vital. Without the sun there is no life. We notice very clearly what a revitalizing effect sunlight has on our body and spirits when, after a long winter, we enjoy the first rays of spring sun. But we can absorb sun energy via our food as well as through the skin.

    We also live on light

    The latest research (Prof. F.A. Popp and Dr H. Niggli) shows that, in addition to the chemical composition of our food, light energy (biophotons) is also an important factor in food quality. The more light a food is able to store, the more nutritious it is. Naturally grown fresh vegetables, for example, and sun-ripened fruits are rich in light energy. The capacity to store biophotons is therefore a measure of the quality of our food.

    Stored sun energy finds its way into our cells via food in the form of minute particles of light. These light particles are called 'biophotons', which are the smallest physical units of light. According to Popp and Niggli, they contain important bio-information, which controls complex vital processes in our bodies. The biophotons have the power to order and regulate, and, in doing so, to elevate the organism to a higher oscillation or order. This is manifested as a feeling of vitality and well-being.

    McDonald's & Biophoton Deficiency 8/21/02
    This does not disqualify raw meat.

    Now not all vegetables were not created equal and I selectively choose vegetables that are low in oxalic acid or goitrogens to eat raw. As some of you my know, oxalic acids inhibit calcium absorption and goitrogens suppresses thyroid function. The good news is that cooking destroys these components.

    However, there has been much discussion with my friends telling me salads are harder to digest than MEAT AND WHEAT! Which to any person with common sense would know it's ludicrous, vegetables are comprised of mostly water, that doesn't seem to translate to me at all.

    Some studies show cooking even activates more of the nutrients available.

    Quote Originally Posted by Livestrong
    The raw food craze has many people believing that raw is the only way to go; the naturally occurring enzymes in raw food help your body digest the raw foods that you eat--and they are right. However, the issue with raw vegetables is that the vitamins and minerals are embedded in a complex mass of fiber called cellulose, a carbohydrate that is difficult for the human body to digest, possibly resulting in gas, bloating and nausea. In addition, many of the valuable nutrients in raw vegetables are not being absorbed by the body.

    If food is not digested properly, the carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals are not being absorbed. Digestion and absorption must happen in order for your body to take full advantage of any food, especially vegetables. If eating raw vegetables is burdening your digestive system, consider cooking certain vegetables or using digestive aids.

    Cooking carrots, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, cabbage, peppers and many other vegetables also supplies more antioxidants, such as carotenoids and ferulic acid, to the body than they do when raw, says Rui Hai Liu, an associate professor of food science at Cornell University. On the flip side, cooking can destroy the high levels of vitamin C found in certain vegetables, as well as naturally occurring enzymes that assist digestion.

    Why Can't You Digest Raw Vegetables? | LIVESTRONG.COM
    I think it's a known fact that meat and wheat takes the longest to pass through the digestive system and their information is purely based on food combinations. Anyway, it helps to know this information.. you can pass this on to anyone who disagrees with raw diets.
    Last edited by porcelain; 04-28-2011 at 11:13 AM.

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    Red Wire's Avatar
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    Personally, I think that raw food ideology is based on some serious misconceptions. The idea that plants actually contain the enzymes necessary for their own digestion doesn't make sense in an evolutionary context. Most plants, with the exception of fruit, do not want to be eaten. It in no way serves the biological purposes of the plant to provide for its own digestion. Any plant that did substantially provide for its own digestion would quickly be eliminated because it becomes such an attractive food source for any animal. The reality is that most plants actively discourage you from eating them, especially in their raw form. Sometimes this means a toxin that gives you an upset stomach, locks up nutrients, or in the most extreme cases kills you. Plants would not evolve mechanisms for their own digestion. Nature would select for plants with the strongest defenses against being eaten.

    Now it is true that humans have been selectively breeding for some time and plants have been getting more edible but they are still a far cry from actively supporting digestion. This whole idea really smells of Mother Nature worship like the world was built with everything we could ever need(Fruitarian logic and pretty much total bullshit).

    As far as your reference to the speed of digestion, I would suggest to you that just because something passes quickly does not mean its being digested efficiently. My hypothesis would be that raw food is relatively indigestible, and your body has very little use for it. Therefore it is excreted as quickly as possible. My advice to anyone who makes vegetables a regular part of their diet is to cook the living hell out of them. Breaking down the fiber as much as possible, and eliminating as much of the plants own enzymes as possible should ensure better access to the basic nutrients in plants.

    I am highly skeptical about the biophoton idea, again because it based largely on fake science. Organisms do not "store" light energy. Producers like plant use light energy as a catalyst for building sugars. Herbivores can convert these sugars into animal biomass, and carnivores can convert animal biomass into more biomass(although usually less than the herbivores). Sugars are the basis of most plant energy and structure. Foods with the highest "light energy" content would simply be the ones with the most sugar, fat, protein, calories, or whatever name you'd like to call them. If your looking to eat the most "light energy" you'd simply have to eat the most energy dense foods.

    Overall, I'd say that cooking food is perhaps the most important technique developed in human history because in most foods it makes nutrients more bioavailable than was ever previously possible. (at least to humans, WE ARE NOT HERBIVORES).

    ***EDIT

    I wanted to add, digestion one of the most intensive processes your body undertakes. We sacrifice a fair amount of energy and nutrients in the hopes of obtaining even more from the food but this is not always the case. Ensuring that you get the most basic nutrients out of your food really takes a lot of pressure off of your body. In my opinion, cooking is basically predigestion and greatly eases the stress of actual digestion.
    Last edited by Red Wire; 04-28-2011 at 12:17 PM.

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    Overall, I'd say that cooking food is perhaps the most important technique developed in human history because in most foods it makes nutrients more bioavailable than was ever previously possible. (at least to humans, WE ARE NOT HERBIVORES).
    +1

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    In the wild, raw vegetation would be mostly indigestible. All of the supermarket vegetables are domesticated plants that have had their defenses (usually bitter-tasting alkaloids and antinutrients) bred out of them. From what I understand, most vegetables would have HAD to have been heated or processed to consume without worry. However, all plant cells are surrounded by a cell wall, which is composed of cellulose. We lack the enzyme cellulase to efficiently break down cellulose and extract nutrients from plants. Again, to do this, vegetation, even of the supermarket variety, must be heated or processed.

    Fruit is a different story, and is best eaten raw.

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    Red Wire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tarek View Post
    All plant cells are surrounded by a cell wall, which is composed of cellulose. We lack the enzyme cellulase to efficiently break down cellulose and extract nutrients from plants. Again, to do this, vegetation, even of the supermarket variety, must be heated or processed.
    Vegetarians like to throw around the 10% rule. There is on average 10% less energy available in herbivorous animals than in plants. But they always fail to account for the fact that we cant ferment cellulose. Unless you want to survive chiefly on processed grains, you won't be getting much energy out of plant food. Human physiology is closer to that of a high level predator than that of an herbivore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tarek View Post
    In the wild, raw vegetation would be mostly indigestible. All of the supermarket vegetables are domesticated plants that have had their defenses (usually bitter-tasting alkaloids and antinutrients) bred out of them. From what I understand, most vegetables would have HAD to have been heated or processed to consume without worry. However, all plant cells are surrounded by a cell wall, which is composed of cellulose. We lack the enzyme cellulase to efficiently break down cellulose and extract nutrients from plants. Again, to do this, vegetation, even of the supermarket variety, must be heated or processed.

    Fruit is a different story, and is best eaten raw.
    I totally agree with this. There are many vegetables that are really tough on digestion if not cooked properly, like cruciferous vegetables. Another thing I wanted to add is that a lot of enzymes from raw or cooked foods are broken down in the mouth/saliva anyways and by the time they get further along in the digestive process they are already lost and not completely available to be absorbed into the body. That is another reason why raw food isn't completely superior to cooked.
    "If man made it, don't eat it" - Jack Lallane

    People say I am on a "crazy" diet. What is so crazy about eating veggies, fruits, seafood and organ meats? Just because I don't eat whole wheat and processed food doesn't make my diet "crazy". Maybe everyone else with a SAD are the "crazy" ones for putting that junk in their system.

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    From a personal standpoint, I know it is much more difficult for my body to process raw veggies. I LOVE eating raw green pepper and things like cucumbers (not that I have ever cooked cucumbers). However, I get stomach aches and gas (probably TMI) if I eat it. Sometimes, I forget or don't care and I do it anyway :-)!

    Carrie

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    Quote Originally Posted by carres1973 View Post
    I LOVE eating raw green pepper and things like cucumbers (not that I have ever cooked cucumbers).
    Salmon recipe with cooked cucumbers.
    “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t — you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford

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    porcelain's Avatar
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    The fruitarian lifestyle doesn't equate to me either, you kind of put the survival technique of evolution in perspective for me.
    However I'm on the fence with a lot of things. Some careful points were:

    Quote Originally Posted by Mercola
    - Up to 50% of the protein is coagulated. Much of this is rendered unusable. High temperatures also create cross-links in protein. Cross-linked proteins are implicated in many problems in the body, as well as being a factor in the acceleration of the aging process.

    In 1930, research was conducted at the Institute of Clinical Chemistry in Lausanne, Switzerland, under the direction of Dr. Paul Kouchakoff. The effect of food (cooked/processed vs. raw/natural) on the immune system was tested and documented.

    Dr. Kouchakoff's discovery concerned the leukocytes, the white blood cells.

    It was found that after a person eats cooked food, his/her blood responds immediately by increasing the number of white blood cells. This is a well-known phenomena called "digestive leukocytosis", which means that there is a rise in the number of leukocytes, or white blood cells, after eating.

    Since digestive leukocytosis was always observed after eating, it was considered to be a normal physiological response to eating. No one knew why the number of white cells would rise after eating, since this appeared to be a stress response, as if the body was reacting to something harmful, such as infection, trauma, or exposure to toxic chemicals.

    Back in 1930, Swiss researchers of the institute of Chemical Chemistry studied the influence of food on human blood and made a remarkable discovery. They found that eating unaltered, raw food or food heated at low temperatures did not cause a reaction in the blood. In addition, if a food had been heated beyond a certain temperature (unique to each food), or if the food was processed (refined, added chemicals, etc.), this always caused a rise in the number of white cells in the blood.

    The researchers renamed this reaction "pathological leukocytosis", since the body was reacting to highly altered food. They tested many different kinds of foods and found that if the foods were not overheated or refined, they caused no reaction. The body saw them as "friendly foods". However, these same foods, if heated at too high a temperature, caused a negative reaction in the blood, a reaction that is found only when the body is invaded by a dangerous pathogen or trauma.

    The worst offenders of all, whether heated or not, were processed foods that had been refined (such as white flour or white rice), or homogenized (a process in which the fat in milk is subjected to artificial suspension), or pasteurized (also seen in milk, flash-heated to high temperatures to kill bacteria), or preserved (chemicals added to food to retard spoilage or to enhance taste or texture).

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    Looking through the internet, the only study I have been able to find that talks about this is the one study done in 1930 that is discussed in the article. There are a number of sites that have exactly the same information, word for word. I would be a little suspect of a conclusion based on only one study and not confirmed by other research.
    Karin

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