Tasty Raw Foods
5 Reasons to Eat Raw Fruits and Veggies
Why Eat Raw?
You'll Chew More
You'll Be Satisfied With Less
You'll Take In More Water
You Can Cut Down on Carbs
You'll Boost Fiber
Why Eat Raw?
Image: Jamie Chung
When the summer sun is blazing, the last thing you want to do is turn on a stove, right? Turns out, eating raw foods does more than just keep you cool—it's a smart strategy for your abs too. A groundbreaking new study from Harvard University reveals that cooking food can actually increase the amount of calories your body absorbs. That's big news: It suggests that adding raw foods to your diet may help you lose weight and expose your abs. And there's no better time to do that than summer, when markets are teeming with ripe produce that doesn't need to be cooked to be delicious.
So why did we ever cook? Fire helped our prehistoric ancestors survive, says Richard Wrangham, Ph.D., a Harvard professor of human evolutionary biology. "Cooked food led to a large increase in our food-energy surplus, helping our brains grow larger and raising our odds of survival and reproduction," he says. Cooking can also help release some nutrients in food. But given the girth problem of modern Americans, it may be time to turn off the heat more often.
"Cooking 'predigests' your food so your body doesn't burn as many calories breaking it down," says Rachel Carmody, a Ph.D. candidate in the department of human evolutionary biology at Harvard and lead author of the study. And because you digest cooked food faster, she says, there's less opportunity for gut bacteria to eat some of it. Plus, Wrangham says, raw food is less digestible, so more passes through unabsorbed. And if you want to slim down, that's just the way you want it.
But you don't have to gnaw on celery sticks or raw steak to lose weight. Just pair fresh produce with precooked protein in these meals (all under 550 calories), and you'll harness the belly-flattening power of raw food while staying satisfied all summer long. And for more smart swaps and nutrition tips, sign up for the free daily Eat This, Not That! Newsletter.