Have you ever thought about the nutrient value of food before and after it is cooked? If you are reading this blog, I am going to assume yes, but did you know that cooking food can increase the overall amount of energy, meaning calories, in the food and alter the mineral and vitamin content? Thus it is much easier to break down cooked food and therefore requiring fewer calories for digestion. Above all, the concept of cooking food verse not will skew our perception of what we see on a food label.
Cooking may increase the energetic availability of food, meaning that energy assessment for food labeling could depend on how a product is prepared, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Relating this to the Paleo concept, cooking certainly could have been a survival mechanism. There is a good documentary on this topic and I recommend watching Food Matters.
Dr. Mercola has highlighted some great points on what cooking does to food and also what eating raw does for our health. Since he detailed this information so well, I have borrowed it for this post. Reference click here.
Mercola’s disadvantages of cooking food:
– The food’s life force and nutritional content is greatly depleted and its biochemical structure is altered from its original state. Up to 90 percent of water soluble vitamins (vitamins B and C) and lipid soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) are lost.
– The water content of food is decreased
– Toxic substances and cooked “byproducts,” including carcinogenic and mutagenic substances and free radicals are created, especially when frying or grilling.
– Cooking destroys enzymes (more information on enzymes below).
– Cooked foods cause a tendency towards obesity through overeating because your cells don’t get enough nutrients, leaving them “always hungry” and “demanding” more food. Cooked food is also less likely to be properly metabolized, which is another factor in excess weight gain.
– After eating a cooked meal, you will experience “digestive leukocytosis,”a general increase in white blood cells in the blood and a change in the relative proportions of different blood cells.
Mercola’s advantages of eating raw food:
– Increased energy and improved skin appearance – Raw food contains more vitamins and minerals that give you more energy and are good for your skin.
– Better digestion and weight loss – When you increase your intake of raw foods, you will feel more satisfied and full because raw food has the best balance of water, nutrients and fiber, reducing your chances of overeating. Cooked food has been depleted of nutrients, leaving your cells feeling “hungry” and “demanding” more food.
– Reduced risk of illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and cancer – More fruits and vegetables mean more phytochemicals to fight free radicals.
– Helps you avoid trans fats and saturated fats
– Add some raw food to each of your meals (possibly replace all grains with raw vegetables and/or fruit???)
– Be responsible for your own health. You know your body better than anyone and you need to take charge yesterday.
– Understand what you are eating in all of it’s forms. For example juicing is wonderful but you will miss the fiber, cooking alters the nutrient content, frying should be a treat, etc.
– Make it a healthy and fit day
Cheers to you and good health!