I haven't really paid attention to the raw food diet and the claims of its supporters until now. A passage from this website says:

The basic premise behind preparing raw food is not to cook food above 118ºF. Cooking food denatures both the protein and the fats. So instead of your body using the food it simply stores it.” When food is cooked above 118ºF, 85% of the food's natural enzymes are destroyed. This forces your body to generate the enzymes necessary to digest the food. This results in partially digested foods that can clog the body's intestinal tract and arteries.

It's possible this passage, which is from a chef describing the main benefit of raw food diets, misquotes the chef or wasn't phrased properly. I am assuming that the chef is talking about plant-based foods, like vegetables and legumes, when she says food. But given what's here, I read this as:

'-When cooked food (food prepared above 118ºF) is eaten, denatured proteins and fats are not 'useful', other than fat (storage).

-Food has natural enzymes (and the speaker may be equating proteins and fats with enzymes?); they get destroyed by cooking.

-Digestion that occurs via the enzymes an eater creates are ... bad? Not as efficient as the enzymes that are 'naturally' in the food?

-Digestion via the enzymes that an eater produces lead to partial digestion.'

My shoddy recollection of biology class is that we produce saliva and related enzymes to break down food items we ingest, like a tomato cut from the vine. Those items will not produce enzymes within themselves that will aid digestion inside other animals that consume said tomato. Why would it?

My question is: do I have the wrong understanding of digestion? Should humans rely on the "natural enzymes" that are in uncooked plant food for digestion and good nutritional benefits?


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