LESSON 21

Dangers of Cooked Food

After the intake of cooked food, there is an elevation of the white blood cell, the leukocyte count, which indicates that the body is fighting against something. When the body is confronted with something harmful, vital bodily energy is used in its defense, and this in turn shortens the bodily lifespan.

Of course, not all cooked food has an equal effect on the body. The more food is adulterated with cooking, the greater the harmful effect it has on the body. How much structural elements of a given food are changed depends on the following factors:

  • The type of cooking
  • The temperature degree of heating food
  • How long the food is exposed to the heat
  • How much water does the given food contain
  • The medium in which the food is cooked, and so on

An easy rule for checking whether some temperature destroys food is if you would burn your skin at the given temperature, then that temperature is destroying food.

In general, food can be heated up to 48 C / 118 F without the food being destroyed.

Usually, when people talk about negative consequences of cooking, the focus is on the nutrient loss from food due to cooking. However, besides the nutrient loss, cooking also has the following negative effects on food:

  • Creating antivitamins – substances that destroy vitamins or prevent their function
  • Creating antinutrients – substances that prevent the body from using some nutrients from food, for example oxalates and phytates prevent the body from absorbing calcium from food
  • Creating free radicals – molecules that contain per one unpaired electron, they are extremely reactive and cause chain reactions of free radical creation among the molecules, harming cells, proteins and DNA structures along the way
  • Creating mutagens – substances that can start the creation of mutagens or increase the frequency of mutagen creations within the body
  • Creating carcinogens – substances that can alter the genetic structure of normal cells after which those cells begin to rapidly divide into malignant cells
  • Denaturing proteins – altering the protein structure, and thus decreasing or preventing the amino-acid bioavailability of proteins in the body, as well as rendering proteins into altered structures that the body recognizes as a threat
  • Caramelizing sugars – heating sugars and rendering them into brown substances
  • Fats become rancid – changing the chemical structure of fatty molecules which gives them unpleasant smell and makes them into substances that are harmful to the body;
  • Water loss – depending on the type of cooking, heating usually results in low water content food which dehydrates the body.

It is true that cooking makes some otherwise inedible food into edible food for humans. However, except for the need for sheer survival, we can rightfully question whether it is wise to trick the body by masking those foods that we would normally not eat in their natural state.

Even if cooking did allow greater bioavailability of some nutrients from the given food, this is not a positive factor, because every organism needs that exact measure and proportion of nutrients that are present in the natural foods for the given organism – not more and not less.

Luckily, we can substitute cooked meals with tasty meals of fresh, whole, plant-based ingredients, that are appealing to us with their vibrant colors and their tastes.