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votes

Is nutrition decreased by cooking? (Proteins damaged?)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 02, 2013 at 6:25 PM

I'm sure I'm over-thinking this, but:

I have the impression that it's best to cook stuff just enough, but not too long, so as not to damage it, and reduce its nutritional value.

For example, when adding egg yokes to a soup (for nutritional value), add it in the last 2 minutes, and don't cook the yokes for all the 25 minutes.

Firstly, am I right?

If so, does the same thing pertain to my fancy organic pasteurized milk?

When making a potato soup, should I nuke the potato, then add it to the milk and cook for a very short time, OR

Should I cook the potato in the milk for 25 minutes?

By the same token, I add a banana to the soup. Should I do it at the end, or at the beginning? (I ask this from a nutritional perspective, not from a texture or taste perspective).

Am I completely over-thinking this?

I began to wonder when I started adding egg yokes to my soup. I've always been told to fully cook eggs to avoid salmonella. But, if I'm trying to get the b-vitamins contained in the yokes, maybe I should cook it only for a minute or two?

All thoughts and comments are very much appreciated,

Thanks, Mike

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on January 03, 2013
at 04:44 AM

Yes, and I do realize that all the bacteria has been killed at the time of pasteurization. I guess I'm wondering if proteins are damaged by cooking milk for 25 minutes, or its vitamins are harmed.

42cd0feeeda5fa2e2fe1c4fd8255073a

(1930)

on January 02, 2013
at 10:38 PM

as a side note: pasteurized milk has already been 'nuked'

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 02, 2013
at 09:02 PM

you milk was already pasteurized -- how can you harm it by cooking it some more?

1b247b3ca673cb9a5c547c69d490de8f

(237)

on January 02, 2013
at 09:01 PM

Also the amount of nutrients lost through cooking is trivial and not enough to worry much About it. Id be more concerned about proper cooking procedures

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on January 02, 2013
at 07:35 PM

Thanks! How 'bout cooking milk for 25 minutes. Am I harming my fancy organic milk? Thx Mike

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4 Answers

best answer

2
532cfd279d793e8fcc23b9f6d91dde5c

(1981)

on January 17, 2013
at 12:33 AM

Proteins are denatured by cooking, that's true. This is not a bad thing. Denatured proteins are more digestible than undenatured, and their constituent amino acids are still taken up by the body, they aren't destroyed.

0
1b247b3ca673cb9a5c547c69d490de8f

on January 02, 2013
at 08:18 PM

Depends. Double edge sword. People who have given themselves food poisoning know this first hand.
It depends on what and how your cooking. This is why I only use cast iron. My best opinion as a cook Cook slow and low. Cook all foods to proper temp most veggies just need to be warmed up if frozen All meats have different cooking temps that must be reached. If you cook poultry to 140 your not doing yourself Any favors. Meat can be flashed cooked or seared and be fine at 140. Eggs are tricky and since I refuse to get ick from under cooking them I don't mess around with eggs.

1b247b3ca673cb9a5c547c69d490de8f

(237)

on January 02, 2013
at 09:01 PM

Also the amount of nutrients lost through cooking is trivial and not enough to worry much About it. Id be more concerned about proper cooking procedures

0
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 02, 2013
at 07:25 PM

I think you are right wrt cooking -- just long enough.

But this is a bit of a double edged sword.

One one hand, cooking does damage and reduce some of the nutrients (especially vegetables and fruits). So in order to ensure you have not lost any nutrients, you should eat all your vegetables raw.

On the other hand, many vegetables have ways of reducing the bio-available nutrients (via anti-nutrients and the like) which they evolved as a defense mechanism. Cooking can actually breakdown these defenses and make the nutrients more bio-available (so you eat fewer nutrients but absorb more). Also many vitamins are fat soluble, so cooking in fat could also increase the bio-availability.

My opinion, you are thinking too much. The only way that is wrong is to boil the vegetables into oblivion and then discarding the water.

With respect to soups, my advice -- cook in a way that you enjoy eating and not about eeking out every last nutrient. Since you are also eating the stock, you get almost all of the nutrients.

The rest of the time, eat some raw (assuming it's safe to consume raw), some cooked.

0
56bc750affa41124e1142a6e8e239e3d

(145)

on January 02, 2013
at 07:18 PM

Egg yolks can usually be eaten raw, only the whites need to be cooked to avoid salmonella (and this is less likely when you used truly cage-free eggs due to cleanliness).

Other than that, yes, IMHO foods should normally only be cooked "just enough." However, that differs for different foods and uses - long, slow cooking can be done in the crockpot just fine, and you definitely want to let your bone broths simmer away for awhile.

One thing to consider is the temperature - 140 degrees Fahrenheit is enough to kill the bad stuff by denaturing the enzymes but not too rough on the proteins. Generally this means that for non-delicate foods, cooking with water (steam, soup, boiling) is enough to keep from overheating them. But any heat can destroy much of the vitamin content (particularly C and I think K).

You can also "acid-cook" foods by marinating in lemon juice (perfect for liver and organs) or even apple cider vinegar, or by lacto-fermenting them. These damage food very little yet can kill microbes and even improve nutritional content (lacto-fermentation). Then, if you still want them warm, just quickly brown them in a pan with coconut oil and c'est voila'!

As for potatoes and bananas, those are just once in a blue moon things for me since I'm more low carb, but I would think the same things apply. I'm sure a fermented banana-mango chutney would be quite wonderful on meat or veggies! ;-)

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 02, 2013
at 09:02 PM

you milk was already pasteurized -- how can you harm it by cooking it some more?

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on January 02, 2013
at 07:35 PM

Thanks! How 'bout cooking milk for 25 minutes. Am I harming my fancy organic milk? Thx Mike

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