With the recent popularization of raw food diets, many wonder if cooking food makes it less healthful. Others argue that cooking food is humans' evolutionary advantage, and we became healthier as a species when we started cooking.
— Brenna Darling, Nia Creator
I think in terms of accessibility and efficiency, cooked food wins the argument.
A raw food diet requires more thought and planning than the average lifestyle permits, so it does not seem sustainable for everyone in the long run.
That being said, if one has the resources and time, a raw food diet could be a worthwhile commitment.
I think the evidence is clear: cooked food is usually the healthier option.
Aside from certain preparations and certain foods where raw may be better, the only argument against cooking is under circumstances where someone is trying to lose weight and would benefit from raw food's less available calories. Everyone else should be cooking most things to get the most health benefits and calories from their food.
That being said, I have no plans to give up sushi!
While the raw food lifestyle is not accessible or effective for most people, I think there is an obvious balance that needs to be struck. Certain foods most efficiently provide nutrients when raw, some are better cooked. In order to get the most our of your food, see which foods to cook and which to keep raw.
As with most things dealing with diet, the key, I believe, is balance. There are clearly some foods that are better and more nutritious when they are cooked, and humans likely could not have evolved to this point had it not been for the discovery of fire and its ability to cook meats. However, raw vegetables can be packed with vitamins that may degrade through the cooking process. So, keep it balanced, keep it natural.