Raw-food diets are often vegan diets, which do not include meats or dairy products. They can be rich in plant-based nutrients, full of fiber, and low in fat and sugar. But because many food groups are avoided, raw foodists need to make sure they're getting enough vitamin B12, calcium, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are found most naturally in animal products.
Raw foodists typically get the same amount of protein as non-vegetarians through plant foods eaten throughout the day. But because plant protein is less digestible, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) recommends eating plenty of soy and bean products. The ADA suggests that raw foodists and vegans increase their calcium intake, because their diets are high in sulfur-containing amino acids -- nuts and grains, for example -- which can increase calcium loss in the bones.
The ADA also recommends soaking and sprouting beans, grains, and seeds. Doing this may help the body better absorb the nutrients from these foods.
Finally, people who do not eat meat or dairy products should be vigilant about their vitamin D intake -- especially those who live in cooler, less-sunny climates. Low levels of vitamin D can lead to weaker bones. So the American Dietetic Association recommends vitamin D-fortified foods, including certain brands of soy milk, rice milk, breakfast cereals, and margarines. You also may want to take a vitamin D supplement.