How much fat should you eat on a raw vegan diet?
You might be perplexed by this question.
Surely, you may say, as long as it is RAW then it is HEALTHY!
Or you may think to yourself “as long as I eat raw, my body will be able to tell me how much to eat”
Alternatively, you may be thinking “surely, we must make sure we eat an abundance of healthy fats”
Unfortunately, a healthy raw diet is not as simple as “as long as it is raw it is healthy”
Especially as many foods are labeled “raw” but in reality they have been dried, processed or dehydrated in some way which has changed the nature of the food completely.
Have you ever eaten truly RAW nuts? They are not as moreish and hard to put down as those in a bag.
Let’s get back to diets in general.
When we look for clues as to how we should design our diet we could do much worse than looking at the diets of the “blue zones”. These are the areas in the world that are renowned for producing the highest proportion of centenarians (people who live to age 100 and older) and healthy older people per capita.
The researchers have looked at the similarities between these populations and have found a few things in common. When it comes to diet they all consume a mostly plant-based diet.
And what was also remarkable was that carbohydrates made up the vast majority of the diet, 70% and upwards for each population with no exceptions.
When we look into the science of nutrition and of sports performance we find that carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source for fuel. Top athletes maintain a high carbohydrate diet when they wish to perform at there highest level.
But perhaps this equation is different for a raw diet?
The work of Dr Douglas Graham would suggest not. With over 35 years of experience working with people who were eating raw diets he often found that people were consuming as much as 60% or more of their diet from fat.
Often this was in the form of processed fat like oils, nut butters, seed spreads and tahini…which quickly add up to a LOT of calories as FAT is more than double the calories of carbohydrate sources.
Do we have long term studies on a high fat raw diet versus a low fat raw diet? Sadly not.
We have to assume the same rules apply regardless of whether the diet is raw or not. We should head towards a diet made primarily of fruit to make sure we will feel and perform our best on a raw diet.
Fruit provides us with the perfect balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats that help us to feel and perform our best. But if we do not eat enough fruit to satisfy our caloric need we will inevitable start being hungry for almost anything else.
At that point, our cravings for fatty foods will become much more intense. But when we eat these foods we are left with a heavy feeling in our stomach and still no real sense of satisfaction
Fruit is truly where it is at for performance and health!