Cooked or Raw Foods? What You Need to Know.

Healthy eating diet

There seems to be a lot of hype these days on healthy eating, living naturally and so on. It’s as if the evolution of food and medicine had gone back to square one. The benefits of eating raw foods flourish the internet with anecdotal promise, but does it have any merit?


Eating raw doesn’t = eating well

If you are religious on healthy meals, you know that there’s no question that the way food is cooked has an influence on its toxicity and nutrient absorption. Some manufacturers and restaurants are even profiting off this idea. They advertise that cooking in low temperatures reduces carcinogens, a known cancer affiliate, which is true. They also advertise that cooking in low temperatures preserves the enzymes in the food. This is true, so what? Enzymes are broken down by peptides and amino acids in the digestive track anyway. The human body doesn’t even need external assistance to produce enzymes; it’s capable of synthesizing all the enzymes it requires.

Cooking foods for healthy eating

Cooking at high temperatures or cooking over its limit can definitely cause toxicity but this is irrelevant to preserving enzymes. Heat promotes the formation of AGEs, PAHs and HCAs. All 3 substances are linked with human carcinogens.

HCAs mutate DNA, which in turn can lead to cancer. Studies show that HCAs have a correlation with stomach, pancreatic, colorectal and breast cancers. HCAs result when amino acids from proteins react with creatine during high temperature cooking.
AGEs are linked with cardiovascular disease. They damage LDL the ‘bad cholesterol’ and support blood vessel damage. AGEs are also linked with the inability of wound healing; a problem diabetics are all too familiar with.¬†AGEs are formed when there is a reaction between glucose and proteins in the absence of water.

It’s true that the quantity of PAHs, HCAs and AGEs that form have several contributing factors; high temperature cooking is the main one. When cooking from 200 degrees to 250 degrees HCA formations increase 3x. Frying, broiling and BBQing are the lead culprits of HCAs. Low temperature cooking such as boiling or stewing has the least risk of carcinogens.

eating raw meatEating raw meat

HCAs occur only in muscle meats and cannot be traced in tofu, milk, eggs and organ meats such as liver. Additionally, meats cooked in microwave ovens have a significant lower amount of HCAs. AGEs are visible in all sorts of brown foods such as brown cookies and brown basted and regular meats.


Final say

The formation of HCAs, PAHs and AGEs during the cooking process is no reason to refrain from cooking. Cooking destroys a slew of bacteria that would otherwise go unnoticed into your system. Eating raw foods has been linked with various diseases. For example, Asians, more specifically Chinese and Japanese, who consume a lot of raw foods have the highest rate of stomach cancers. Cooking kills germs, helps preserve food longer and protects from infection. Although some nutrients are destroyed during the cooking process, it makes others more readily available. For example, beta-carotene in carrots and lycopene in tomatoes are more easily released and absorbed by the body once they have been cooked.


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    [...] Cooked or raw foods? What you need to know. [...]

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