We admit it. Science has yet to fully throw its weight behind some of the bolder claims of a raw food diet being healthier for you.
But there is evidence supports the argument that you are better off being a follower of a raw food diet.A study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that non-vegetarians had an almost 25% greater mortality rate than vegans. This was after researchers had controlled for lifestyle factors and behaviour. Other studies have not found the link between a vegetarian/vegan diet and lower mortality rates to be quite so strong. They don’t say that being a vegan damages your health, only that benefits are less than other scientists have claimed. Now, this could be because the link is genuinely not that strong. That’s perfectly possible. Or it could be down to the fact that the supermarkets sell much more processed vegetarian/vegan food these days. This means that a vegetarian/vegan diet is closer to a non-vegetarian diet in terms of salt and additives than it was when you had to do all the preparation for yourself. Of course, this actually makes the case for a raw food lifestyle even stronger.
There is some really interesting and much more consistently supportive research out there on how a vegan (raw food) diet affects key factors in the development of cardiovascular disease:
- A 2017 study in the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology looked at veganism and its impact on blood pressure. It found consistently strong evidence that a plant-based diet lowered it significantly. It concluded that, all other things being equal, vegans have lower blood pressure.
- The most recent report on cholesterol levels in vegans is from the EPIC-Oxford study, in which vegetarians with a healthy lifestyle were compared to meat-eaters with a healthy lifestyle. The results show vegans to have a 34 mg/dl and 23 mg/dl lower cholesterol level than meat-eaters for men and women respectively. Most of this difference was in the non-HDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol.
- The EPIC-Oxford study found that vegans also have a lower amount of apolipoprotein B which is thought to promote fat deposits in the arteries.