QUESTION: What do you think of the below?
A raw-food diet provides enzymes that are essential to healthy digestion.
The Truth: â€œRaw foods are unprocessed so nothingâ€™s taken away; you donâ€™t get the nutrient losses that come with cooking,â€ says Brenda Davis, R.D.. But the claim by some raw-food advocates that eating raw boosts digestion by preserving â€œvitalâ€ plant enzymes, Davis explains, just doesnâ€™t hold water. â€œThose enzymes are made for the survival of plants; for human health, they are not essential.â€
What about the claim by some raw-foodistas that our bodies have a limited lifetime supply of enzymesâ€”and that by eating more foods with their enzymes intact, weâ€™ll be able to spare our bodies from using up their supply? â€œThe reality is that you donâ€™t really have a finite number of enzymes; youâ€™ll continue to make enzymes as long as you live,â€ says Davis. Enzymes are so vital to life, she adds, â€œthe human body is actually quite efficient at producing them.â€
Here is what I answered:
Well, I would disagree, somewhat.
Some raw vegans would say: “A plant’s enzymes help to break it down, to ripen and then finally to rot if uneaten. But if eaten, they also help it to digest”….I think it is closer to the truth that food that is alive with enzymes happens to be easier to digest for a number of reasons.
True, plants have “enzymes” which can also be called “life force” (the ability to be alive, to ripen, to rot, to die…to go through the life/death processes). But this “life force” is more than just enzymes, though they may be the essential element. There is the water-content, vitamins, minerals, as well as electrolytes and other phytonutrients and nanonutrients that are only just beginning to be discovered with high-powered microscopes.
For some reason it seems to be easier to break down a food that is “alive” / “light” / “with enzymes or life force” than it is to break down a food that is “dead” / “cooked” / “denatured / “lifeless” / “more dense” / “without enzymes or life force”.
In Storm’s words, the enzyme question is presented like this:
There are two different kinds of enzymes: Metabolic enzymes which run every system in our body. And digestive enzymes which our body creates to break down our food. When you overwhelm your body with dead, denatured, cooked food then your body has to take energy away from the production of the metabolic enzymes and use that energy for the production of digestive enzymes. This is one reason you feel tired, warm and fuzzy after a big, cooked meal. It’s not a bad feeling, it’s almost addictive, but basically it is your body shutting down. And even though your body is working overtime to produce digestive enzymes, it is still not enough, so you will still have un-eliminated waste in your body.
Raw food however is loaded with its own enzymes and phytonutrients known and unknown. It is so easy to digest that it doesn’t interfere with the production of our own metabolic enzymes. So you have more energy after eating a raw vegan meal, and in the long term greater health. The brain, heart, liver, lungs – every organ in our body needs metabolic enzymes to function. Enzymes are the catalysts for almost every function in the body.
I try to avoid the enzyme argument because it is not scientifically validated, or perhaps even provable. “Life-force” and where it comes from may be beyond scientific comprehension.
Rather, I use the following scientific explanation for the healthfulness of eating raw foods:
Cooked food is denatured, which means that the nutrients in it have been compromised, or are no longer structured in their natural or original state. When you heat a food it generates numerous dangerous toxins within that food. The FDA states this very clearly in the toxicology section of their website. Their reason for not alerting people to this is that “there would be very little left for people to eat” (their words).
Upon heating macronutrients, carbohydrates usually become carcinogens (which means “cancer causing”), proteins can become free-radicals, and fats often become trans-fats. The list of toxins generated when heating any food is unbelievably long. Cooking generates literally hundreds of toxins. The body’s response is to treat the food as it would a virus, and your immune system kicks in every time you eat cooked food, becoming entirely overworked. This is another reason your body gets so tired after a cooked meal. (We have an ebook in our 28 day program called “The Science of Raw Food”, that references scientific studies on much of this).
Raw organic fruits and vegetables, and germinated nuts and seeds, in comparison, are bursting with undamaged nutrients and have virtually no toxins.
Would you like your food with or without the nutrients?