UNDATED (WJRT) -
(07/07/14) - Heat and eat or pop in your mouth, straight from the source? Have you given raw foods a try?
"The foods may not be heated, but the debate certainly is heating up.
It's all over the health benefits of eating raw foods.
For some foodies, nutrition the way nature intended - unprocessed, unpasteurized, uncooked and not genetically engineered - is the only way to go.
Raw food proponents say eating a diet composed of 75 to 100 percent of raw foods alleviates the risk of cardiovascular diseases. That's because some say most cooked foods are chemically altered during the process. Many also think heating food above 104 degrees can destroy enzymes in foods.
Registered dietician Nadine Pazder isn't biting.
"In reality, because your stomach is so acidic and enzymes are essentially a protein compound, once those enzymes get to your stomach, you're not going to get the benefits if there is any anyway, because it's going to get digested in these acids," she said.
Pazder says cooking foods cuts the risk of illness from dangerous bacterias like salmonella and e. coli.
"Raw foods can be potentially dangerous for people who are immunocompromised. It can be dangerous for the elderly, it can be dangerous for pregnant women or very young children," she said.
Raw food advocates say fewer calories are consumed eating this way, which could help curb America's obesity epidemic - one of the biggest national health issues today.
For both sides, - it's food for thought.
Experts say those who are considering a raw foods diet should consider the risks from eating raw or undercooked meat, fish, milk or eggs. Raw food plans may not be appropriate for infants and children.