During the past few decades there has been much research done in the area of nutrition. Some of this research casts light on some important insights regarding the foods which Mother Nature offers to us in its whole, raw state, and what happens when we tamper with it.
What exactly happens to food when it is cooked? What happens to the body if we eat cooked food? Some key points are covered in this article.
Due to space limitation, we can only but touch on the topic here; however, a brief overview is given below.
Key Points Regarding the Effects of Cooking on Food and Health
- The food's life force is greatly depleted or destroyed. The bioelectrical (energy) field is altered and greatly depleted (as is graphically demonstrated with kirlian photography). Live and bioactive (raw) food is rendered dead and inert. - The biochemical structure and nutrient makeup of the food is altered from its original state. Molecules in the food are deranged, degraded, and broken down. The food is degenerated in many ways. Fiber in plant foods is broken down into a soft, passive substance which loses its broom-like and magnetic cleansing quality in the intestines. - Nutrients (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc.) are depleted, destroyed, and altered. The degree of depletion, destruction, and alteration is simply a matter of temperature, cooking method, and time. - Up to 50% of the protein is coagulated. Much of this is rendered unusable. High temperatures also create cross-links in protein. Cross-linked proteins are implicated in many problems in the body, as well as being a factor in the accelleration of the aging process. - The interrelationship of nutrients is altered from its natural synergistic makeup. For example, with meat, relatively more vitamin B-6 than methionine is destroyed, which fosters atherogenic free radical-initiating homocysteine accumulation (which is a factor in heart problems). - The water content of the food is decreased. The natural structure of the water is also changed. - Toxic substances and cooked "byproducts" are created. The higher the cooking temperature, the more toxins that are created. Frying and grilling are especially toxin-generating. Various carcinogenic and mutagenic substances and hordes of free radicals are generated in cooked fats and proteins in particular. - Heat causes the molecules involved to collide, and repeated collision causes divalent bonding in order for new molecules, and hence a new substance, to form. In an ordinary baked potato, there are 450 by-products of every description. They have even been named "new chemical composites". - Unusable (waste) material is created, which has a cumulative congesting/clogging effect on the body and is a burden to the natural eliminative processes of the body. - All of the enzymes present in raw foods are destroyed at temperatures as low as 118 degrees fahrenheit. These enzymes, named "food enzymes" are important for optimum digestion. They naturally aid in digestion and become active as soon as eating commences. Cooking destroys 100% of these enzymes. Eating enzyme-dead food places a burden on the pancreas and other organs and overworks them, which eventually exhausts these organs. The digestion of cooked food usurps valuable metabolic enzymes in order to help digest the food. Digestion of cooked food is much more energetically demanding than the digestion of raw food. In general, raw food is so much more easily digested that it passes through the digestive tract in a half to a third of the time it takes for cooked food. - After eating a cooked meal, there is a rush of white blood cells towards the digestive tract, leaving the rest of the body less protected by the immune system. From the point of view of the immune system the body is being invaded by a foreign (toxic) substance when cooked food is eaten. - A general augmentation of white corpuscles in the blood and a change in the relative proportions of different blood cells occurs. This phenomenon is called "digestive leukocytosis". - The natural population of beneficial intestinal flora becomes dominated by putrefactive bacteria (particularly from cooked meat), resulting in colonic dysfunction, allowing the absorption of toxins from the bowel. This phenomenon is variously called dysbacteria, dysbiosis, or intestinal toxemia (toxicosis). - A buildup of mucoid plaque is created in the intestines. Mucoid plaque is a thick tar-like substance which is the long-term result of undigested, uneliminated cooked food putrefying in the intestines. Cooked starches and fats in particular are a major culprit in constipation and clogging of the intestines. - A build-up of toxins and waste material in many parts of the body, including within individual cells. Some of these toxins and wastes are called lipofuscin, which accumulates in the skin and nervous system, including the brain. It can be observed as "liver spots" or "age spots." - Malnutrition at the cellular level. Because cooked foods are lower in nutrients, in addition to containing wastes and toxins, individual cells don't receive enough of the nutrients they need. - Tendency towards obesity through overeating. Because the cells don't get enough nutrients they are so to speak "always hungry" and hence "demand" more food. Cooked food is also less likely to be properly metabolized, which is another factor in excess weight gain. - From time to time the body experiences detoxification crises (also called purification or healing crises). This happens when toxins are released through the skin or dumped in the bloodstream for elimination by the liver, kidneys, and other organs. The symptoms may include headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, colds, bronchitis, sinusitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, etc. - The body can become so toxic that all kinds of particles, such as pollen, can cause detoxification crises, called "allergies". An estimated 80 million Americans suffer from such "allergies". - The immune system, having to handle the massive daily invasions of toxins and toxic by-products, eventually becomes overwhelmed and weakened. A key factor in the aging process. - Some of the waste material builds up in the arteries and clogs them, leading to high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, arteriosclerosis, strokes, etc. - killing an estimated 50% of Americans. - The wastes, toxins, mutagens, and carcinogens that build up within cells, as well as the daily onslaught of excess free radicals eventually cause some cells to become cancerous - killing an estimated 30% of Americans. - In general, the natural aging process is accelerated by cooked food. People who switch to raw food often become biologically and visibly younger. From cancerologist Bruce Ames (regarding "mutagenesis, carcinogenesis, and the degenerative diseases of aging"):
- Cooking food is plausible as a contributor to cancer. A wide variety of chemicals are formed during cooking. Four groups of chemicals that cause tumors in rodents have attracted attention because of mutagenicity, potency, and concentration: - Nitrosamines are formed from nitrogen oxides present in gas flames or from other burning. Surprisingly little work has been done on the levels of nitrosamines in fish or meat cooked in gas ovens or barbecued, considering their mutagenic and carcinogenic potency. - Heterocyclic amines are formed from heating amino acids or proteins. - Polycyclic hydrocarbons are formed from charring meat. - Furfural and similar furans are formed from heating sugars. Heating fat generates mutagenic epoxides, hydroperoxides, and unsaturated aldehydes, and may also be of importance.
International Agency for Research on Cancer (1993) Some naturally occurring substances: Food items and constituents, heterocyclic aromatic amines and mycotoxins (International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France).
Gold, L. S., Slone, T. H., Manley, N. B. & Ames, B. N. (1994) Cancer Lett. 83, 21-29.
Gold, L. S., Slone, T. H., Stern, B. R., Manley, N. B. & Ames, B. N. (1992) Science 258, 261-265.
[Dr. Ames is a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Center, University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and was on their Commission on Life Sciences. He was formerly on the board of directors of the National Cancer Institute (National Cancer Advisory Board). He was the recipient of the most prestigious award for cancer research, the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation Prize (1983), the highest award in environmental achievement, the Tyler Prize (1985), the Gold Medal Award of the American Institute of Chemists (1991), and the Glenn Foundation Award of the Gerontological Society of America (1992). He has been elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Japan Cancer Association, and the Academy of Toxicological Sciences. His 300 scientific publications have resulted in his being the 23rd most-cited scientist (in all fields) (1973-1984).]
Leukocytosis and Cooked Food
In 1930, research was conducted at the Institute of Clinical Chemistry in Lausanne, Switzerland, under the direction of Dr. Paul Kouchakoff. The effect of food (cooked/processed vs. raw/natural) on the immune system was tested and documented. Dr. Kouchakoff's discovery concerned the leukocytes, the white blood cells. Apparently, a well-known phenomena occurred immediately after a person ate.
It was found that after a person eats cooked food, his/her blood responds immediately by increasing the number of white blood cells. This is a well- known phenomena called "digestive leukocytosis", which means that there is a rise in the number of leukocytes, or white blood cells, after eating. Since digestive leukocytosis was always observed after eating, it was considered to be a normal physiological response to eating. No one knew why the number of white cells would rise after eating, since this appeared to be a stress response, as if the body was reacting to something harmful, such as infection, trauma, or exposure to toxic chemicals.
Back in 1930, Swiss researchers of the institute of Chemical Chemistry studied the influence of food on human blood and made a remarkable discovery. They found that eating unaltered, raw food or food heated at low temperatures did not cause a reaction in the blood. In addition, if a food had been heated beyond a certain temperature (unique to each food), or if the food was processed (refined, added chemicals, etc.), this always caused a rise in the number of white cells in the blood. The researchers renamed this reaction "pathological leukocytosis", since the body was reacting to highly altered food. They tested many different kinds of foods and found that if the foods were not overheated or refined, they caused no reaction. The body saw them as "friendly foods". However, these same foods, if heated at too high a temperature, caused a negative reaction in the blood, a reaction that is found only when the body is invaded by a dangerous pathogen or trauma.
The worst offenders of all, whether heated or not, were processed foods that had been refined (such as white flour or white rice), or homogenized (a process in which the fat in milk is subjected to artificial suspension), or pasteurized (also seen in milk, flash-heated to high temperatures to kill bacteria), or preserved (chemicals added to food to retard spoilage or to enhance taste or texture). In other words, foods that were changed from their original God-given state. Good examples of these harmful foods are: pasteurized milk, chocolate, margarine, sugar, candy, white flour, and regular salt. The researchers found that if these altered, chemical foods were chewed very thoroughly, the harm to the blood could be lessened. In addition, another amazing finding was that if some of the same food in its raw state was eaten with the cooked counterpart, the pathological reaction in the blood was minimized. However, avoid these unnatural, processed foods; replace them with delicious whole foods for optimal health.
Kouchakoff, Paul, M.D.; "The Influence of Cooking Food on the Blood Formula of Man"; First International Congress of Microbiology; Paris, 1930.