Which is better: fully raw vegan or low fat vegan?

Do you ever question what’s healthier?

Some people don’t know where to start when it comes becoming healthier.

Is it more important to choose organic foods or more produce? Are fully fully raw vegan diets the best option? Is being fully vegan or being whole-food, plant-based more important for optimum health? Will clean eating or more exercise result in greater weight loss and a healthier body? Which is more important to cut out of diet: salt or fat?

Fortunately, the answers are here. I’ll supply the answers for all your burning questions about which is better for you: “this” or “that”.

Fully Raw Vegan or Low Fat Vegan?

FullyRaw Kristina, a fully raw vegan, does her best to stay low fat. Not all fully raw vegans are able to do so. In fact, other raw foodists don’t even attempt to stay low fat. They eat loads of cold-pressed oils, nuts, seeds, dehydrated foods and high-fat foods. A low fat and fully raw diet is extremely nutritious and healthy, but adding too many nuts and seeds detracts from the lifestyle.

On the other hand, I used to be a low fat vegan. I aimed to consume 80% of my calories in the form of carbohydrates. Instead of focusing on being a fully raw vegan, I focused on eating foods low in fat. That allowed me to include foods like lentils, beans, chickpeas, potatoes, rice and other legumes & grains.

Both can be healthy. But which is more important: fully raw vegan or low fat vegan?

Let’s check out fully raw first.

Fully Raw Vegan Pros and Cons

Pros for fully raw Cons for fully raw
1.        Keeping food raw minimizes the nutrients that are destroyed through preparation and digestion

2.        Some beneficial chemical changes that occur during digestion are inhibited by cooking food. For example, some phytonutrients may not be created

3.        Claimed but unproven benefits include increased energy, clearer skin, weight loss and mental clarity

1.        Meals can be labor intensive

2.        May need to be more careful about washing food to remove harmful bacteria

3.        Diet is restrictive, not allowing individuals to eat grains, legumes and most starchy vegetables

4.        May not be practical for those that need large family meals of food or transportable food

5.        Individuals tend to eat more fat because of low caloric density of food

6.        Can lose the ability to digest cooked foods if necessary

7.        Demands good produce management

8.        Tends to be expensive

The most advertised benefit of fully raw is that foods are generally more nutritious. Cooking can destroy certain vitamins and minerals. When food is left raw, fewer nutrients found in food are destroyed.

It’s possible for the body to create certain phytonutrients with raw food that can’t be made with cooked foods.

There are many negatives of being fully raw. Being fully raw is impractical for many reasons. Healthy meals other than smoothies often take much effort to prepare. Being fully raw, like fruit-based, results in large quantities of food being eaten. It’s tricky to eat a low fat, fully raw diet at an office job because of large portion sizes.

A third reason it’s impractical is the cost. While fruit can be cheap, most vegetables, nuts and seeds are expensive in large amounts.  And unless you have good produce management, you run the risk of throwing food away.

Being fully raw makes travel difficult. Buying fruit at the grocery store is a bad option because it tends to be under-ripe. Buying large quantities of vegetables is expensive. Meals on the go tend to be limited to smoothies or high fat meals of nuts and seeds.

Now let’s look at the pros and cons of low fat diets.

Discover which is healthier. Which is more important: staying fully raw vegan or low fat vegan? If you had to choose one, which one should you choose? Loaded Lasagna is low fat vegan.

Image: Loaded Lasagna

Low Fat Vegan Pros and Cons

Pros for low fat Cons for low fat
1.        Allows for a greater variety of foods to be eaten than fully raw

2.        You need less time to obtain, prepare and manage food. Raw starches and cooked fruits/vegetables remain edible for longer periods of time

3.        It’s more difficult to store carbohydrates as body fat than fat is. This decreases likelihood of weight gain

4.        Can result in weight loss because foods are less calorically dense than nuts and seeds

5.        Easy weight management

6.        More calorically dense than low fat fully raw

1.        More food needs to be eaten because foods are not as calorically dense as food high in fat

2.        Extremely low fat diets can cause a deficiency in fat-soluble nutrients

3.        Possibility of poor vitamin absorption

There are many pros to eating a low fat diet over a fully raw diet.

Eating a low fat diet allows more variety. It increases the amount of flavors you can make, ingredients you use and dishes you can create.  Cooked low fat diets can include potatoes, legumes, grains and pseudo grains. These foods are more calorically dense and store for longer than raw fruits and vegetables.

Low fat foods aren’t as calorically dense as high fat foods. However, low fat cooked foods are more calorically dense than low fat raw foods. While cooking foods can destroy nutrients, it increases the amount of food you can eat.

Low fat diets almost ensure weight loss if you’re overweight. Science says that you can overeat carbohydrates by 30%. It takes that much energy to convert the extra carbohydrates to fat. Our bodies store calories from fat easier than calories from carbs and protein.

One minor drawback of low fat diets is nutrient absorption. Vitamins A, D and E are fat-soluble. Though you may eat plenty of them you might not absorb as much as a person who eats them with fat.


Simply eating a whole food, plant based diet—low fat or not—wards off many diseases.

Eating a diet high in carbohydrates ensures the body remains lean and energized.  A low-fat diet is more practical considering the cost, effort and resources needed.

Eating a low fat diet results in a healthy weight and a decreased risk of contracting disease. Not all of these benefits come with higher fat, fully raw diet.

Low fat wins over fully raw.

Discover which is healthier. Which is more important: staying fully raw vegan or low fat vegan? If you had to choose one, which one should you choose?
  • Updated last year
Sara Binde

Sara is a health and nutrition coach. She advocates for a whole foods plant-based lifestyle and teaches the world how to achieve weight loss.