Nutrients aside, cooking food at high temperatures may create health risks. Moreover, people with diabetes who ate foods cooked at relatively low temperatures had reduced levels of inflammation, which is associated with heart disease, in the body, according to a recent study.
When foods are cooked at high temperatures, advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are produced. These compounds, which stimulate cells to produce proteins that cause inflammation, can be toxic to the body. AGEs are normally produced at a slow rate, but the rate increases when food is highly heated.
Twenty-four patients with diabetes were given one of two diets. The diets were identical except for the temperatures at which the foods were cooked. The levels of AGEs in the foods corresponded with the temperatures at which the food was cooked. People who consumed foods cooked at lower temperatures had lower levels of both AGEs and inflammatory proteins than people who consumed the same foods cooked at higher temperatures. Additionally, blood levels of AGEs rose by close to 65 percent among those who consumed the highly heated diet and decreased by 30 percent in those who consumed the low-heat diet after a two-week period.
After six weeks, people who consumed the high AGE diet had increased levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and the inflammatory protein C-reactive protein (CRP), both indicators of increased inflammation. These two levels decreased in those who consumed the low AGE diet.
Researchers note that in animal studies, consuming a reduced AGE diet has been shown to be highly protective in animals genetically predisposed to diabetes.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition November 26, 2002; 10,1073/pnas.242437999
This study confirms what most people in natural health have known for quite some time. Most food should be eaten in an uncooked state. Cooked foods tend to cause disease and limit optimal health, and contribute to problems like dehydration, constipation and extreme sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.
Some experts believe that we shifted to cooked foods when original nomadic populations outgrew the supply of living animal life. They needed to eat something else and, rather than move to a less populated area, they found ways to use vegetation, legumes, nuts and grains. Cooking allowed them to utilize more of the nutrients from these foods. Of course, it also tasted better.
There is a substantial body of evidence that supports that heat treatment of food alters, damages or destroys many nutrients in the food.
Cooked protein tends to be difficult to use for cellular repair and healing. That is one of the reasons why raw eggs are such a useful food to eat. Generally, the more raw food in your diet, the greater the health benefits will be.