The Raw Vegan Diet: Pros & Cons – A presentation by William Harris, M.D..

Founding member and resident skeptic William Harris, M.D. starts off with some skydiving and trampoline stunts and then enters the controversial realm of the raw vegan diet, discussing six common claims of raw fooders and accepting five of them.He has a few words about the anti-oxidants in raw pigmented fruits and vegetables, as age’s last defense. He has some skeptical words about the metaphysics of George Ohzawa, founder of Macrobiotics showing how his “yin/yang” symbol morphed from solid but ancient scientific observation into a seriously flawed and unscientific approach to nutrition. A vegan for more than 40 years, William Harris, M.D., is a founding and current director of the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii. Prior to his retirement he was an emergency physician and the director of the Kaiser Permanente Vegetarian Lifestyle Clinic. He received his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco and is the author of The Scientific Basis of Vegetarianism. Retirement has allowed Dr. Harris to maintain and even increase his physical activity. He swims and does other aerobic exercise daily and continues to hone his trampoline skills. He’s been an active pilot for many years and a skydiver with more than 1290 jumps.

Filming and editing by Dr William Harris M.D. on October 11, 2003 at
McCoy Pavilion, Ala Moana Beach Park, Honolulu, Hawaii
Sponsored by: Vegetarian Society of Hawaii


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Comment (0)

  1. I have to say I had a very bad result from going off salt for several years. It was scary, took a lot of time to reverse the damage, and was a lot of work. I'll never do that again.

  2. The idea of eating 30 bananas turned me off from eating a raw vegan diet. But raw nuts are a cheap and compact source of calories. This video motivated me to actually try raw vegan. I had to figure out some staples for nutrition on Cronometer, but I think this might be doable. I stocked up on some seeds and nuts and have a good basic stash of fruit and carrots ready. Going to give it a try starting tomorrow. I'll bookmark this video and keep you updated.

  3. What did the Framingham Heart Study say about eating saturated fat and cholesterol?
    Didnt the study find that there was no correlation between dietary fat and CHD?

  4. They laughed when I told them I would lose fat with Trim Fat Maximizer, but then they saw the results. Go and google Trim Fat Maximizer to see their reaction.

  5. This might make insects look better. The bacteria in our gut produce B12 and although not absorbed it is in our gut output and one study found that consuming this consuming this cured B12 deficiency in the subjects studied.
    See: nutritionfacts (dot) org/video/safest-source-of-b12/

  6. I'm exploring options and trying to determine what makes sense to me scientifically. I do suspect vegans are right that we are ideally suited to eating mostly vegetables/nuts/tubers/etc. (as opposed to grains). But surely our ancestors did not eat 99% vegetables and an occasional slab of liver, nor could they have required B12 supplements. What is the missing link? I suspect it is insects (which none of us probably want to admit, much less eat). Anyone? Bueller???

  7. If not from supplements, where do you suggest vegans get their B12?
    The alternative choices, seaweed, chlorella etc, have proved not to be reliable sources. see: veganhealth (dot) org/articles/vitaminb12

  8. I have studied the different types supplemented B12. As far as pills go; b12-cyanocobalamin is cheap and uses cyanide to bond the b12 and can be hard for your liver to flush out. Methylcobalamin is more expensive but a much safer form of b12. Thanks VHS for all these amazing resources 😀

  9. Short answer, it probably doesn't matter much which type of B12 supplement you take. The important thing is to take one.
    For the long answer and a great source of detailed information (with references) for vegans and B12 is here:
    veganhealth (dot) org/articles/vitaminb12

  10. Something which should be brought into this discussion, which Jack doesn't discuss in his article, is that seaweeds are sometimes contaminated with crustaceans. Here's a study discussing this is nori for example:

    "Allergenicity and allergens of amphipods found in nori (dried laver)."

    This might explain why seaweeds occasionally test positive for B12, although it's still definitely a lot more reliable to take a supplement.

  11. Taking a B12 supplement is just smart. Why risk the negative effects of a deficiency when it is easy & cheap to supplement. Meat eaters can be deficient as well! I haven't tried the RedStar Nutritional yeast yet but want to. I've read the Methyl B12 has better absorption than the Cyano versions,& the shot is best over pills/lozenges, but for simplicity I take the Methyl lozenges regularly. It seems to work for me. I wish everyone great success on raw or high raw!! Eat plenty of calories!!

  12. Great video! The only thing I would add here is that there are not as many raw vegan athletes in the Olympics simply bcuz there are very few in the population as a whole, & even less 80/10/10 high carb low fat raw vegan athletes. As more ppl move to a RV diet, that number increases in the population & u will surely see the number of RV competitive athletes increase. Most successful HCRV athletes who are very successful also maintain a very high calorie intake without refined fats.

  13. Thank you, Bill! This is probably one of the most scientific presentations on raw foodism out there. Too often, raw foodists get caught up in magical beliefs about enzymes and "life force" and so forth. I was a raw vegan for about a year and while I lost a lot of weight, I had some chronic problems with indigestion/bloating and I kept craving cooked starch. I seem to be better off on a mixed cooked/raw diet.

  14. I am aware of all the recent studies on alleged algal and seaweed sources of B12. Since I cannot submit the URL here, please Google on "B12 in Tempeh, Seaweeds, Organic Produce, and Other Plant Foods," You will find that Jack Norris, RD discusses the topic very completely and very cautiously.

    I recommend a B12 assay for all vegans on a yearly basis. If the test shows a B12 deficiency, then injections or 1000 mcg B12 pills are in order.

    -William Harris, M.D.

  15. By comparison, grapefruit has a similar acid profile and is capable of etching transverse pits in the enamel of the upper incisors when used as a major food source.
    Most fruits leave an alkaline ash but can be very acid in the mouth.

    With the exception of quinoa, which contains 40 mg of DHA/100 gm, terrestrial plants do not contain "Omega-3s" only the subsets of ALA and LA

    William Harris, M.D.

  16. Kiwi contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in the amount of 07 g/100 g and linoleic acid (LA).110/100 for an ALA/LA ratio of ..63 In a sort on ALA in the USDA SR22 database it comes in #2520 with Perilla, Flax and Chia seeds at the top with 26.2, 22.8, and 17.5 gm/100gm respectively. Their ALA/LA ratios are 6.5, 5.9, and 5.8 respectively. It does appear that 9 pounds of Kiwi would give enough ALA to meet the ~ 2.5 gm RDA, however the pH of kiwifruit runs 3.1 – 3.96, a “high-acid” food.

  17. All of the athletic raw vegans are eating the 80/10/10 diet by Dr Doug Graham, who works as raw food and fitness adviser for veg , Dr Harris should know that. To be successful on a raw vegan diet one must take the high carbohydrate principle and apply this to raw foods. This means getting most of your calories from sweet fruit instead of starches. Many people fail on a "raw food" diet because they omit the fruit and try to live on nuts and seeds. High carb (fruit) for the win!!!

  18. It may seem to be; but really it is easily digestible high water content food. Enjoying all of the kiwis for instance took less than 25 minutes (/divided by two 4-5 pounds per meal: 12-13 mins.). This quite normal for successful rawfooders, moreover it is not expensive when you purchase in bulk.

  19. Dr McDougall is currently presenting a talk comparing the various vegan and vegetarian diets (Joel Fuhrman, John McDougall, T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, etc). His message is that while there are differences (e.g. nuts vs no nuts) they are all much more alike than they are different, and that people should focus on the overwhelming similarities rather than the small differences.

  20. Actually it's not quite right they believe you need bad as well as good to create a whole… it's hard for westerners to understand it should really be like night and day… you need night to sleep… so if you are to yang then you get yin foods… it's about finding the balance. As in the middle point the perfect balance. 🙂

  21. Many fruits and berries contain about 20-120mg of omega 3 and Romaine lettuce and spinach well over 100 mg. With all due respect 🙂 William does not understand a fruit vegetable based diet; most people, who are long term – successful; consume larger quantities, for instance, today I have eaten 4KG (9 pounds) of golden kiwis, 1 pound of romaine lettuce(+ a few other fruits and vegetables), yet the main contents of the fare land above the omega 3 target, with a great ratio, moreover.

  22. These are just minor corrections: sunflower seeds do in fact contain about 80% calories from fat! And omega 3 – 6 ought to be evaluated in terms of ratios and quality and not necessarily quantity; the present recommended daily RDA for omega 3 is rather low, easily by eating nothing but fruits and vegetables. If we, however, consume too much omega 6, than we will, perhaps, have to consume more omega 3.

  23. Please inform William that his information regarding B12 is now obsolete, There are numerous recent studies proving that active B12 is present in Korean laver (nori) for certain; and it is, moreover, perhaps, the highest, common, source in the world! Furthermore, William is confusing Spirulina and Chlorella; more studies are needed, in this case, however, several studies are now showing that Chlorella may well have active B12, in contrast to Spirulina. I hope you will deliver the message.


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