3

votes

Is meat more nutritious when cooked, or raw?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 20, 2011 at 6:25 PM

We know that nutrients in plant-based foods may often be more bioavailable when the food is cooked, but what about meat? Are nutrients lost in cooking, or do they become easier to extract after consumption because of being cooked?

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on November 19, 2011
at 02:49 PM

Not true. see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aajonus_Vonderplanitz This dude eats an all raw diet, including, and especially meat. He's quite healthy and quite alive vs all the diseases he got over when he was younger. n=1 and all that. :)

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on April 21, 2011
at 01:13 PM

We've never had a noticeable problem digesting raw meat, and are actually put off by overcooked meat (red meat loses much of its allure if it's cooked beyond medium rare). Yet the opposite is true regarding plants; we generally prefer our plants cooked.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 20, 2011
at 09:44 PM

WyldKard, there is no way to know exactly what has changed, particularly of the digestive system since that does not fossilize, but Homo heidelbergensis is pretty different. The diet they would have had to eaten before the advent of fire in Europe would be toxic to modern humans, who have a relatively low threshold for protein. H. heidelbergensis also had more robust dentition, which may have allowed them to chew raw meat and fat more effectively. Raw meat and fat is surprisingly tough.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 20, 2011
at 09:34 PM

i agree with richard here.......stephen the ale/age question is open.....but making hypothesis about it are fair game.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 20, 2011
at 09:12 PM

i'm also in the process of trying to make some salt cured pork liver (i got a bunch of free pork livers) keeping them in a cure for 2 weeks then hanging them for 3 weeks or so... keeping my fingers crossed they will turn out well (Fergus Henderson recipe)

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 20, 2011
at 09:10 PM

yup. i'm lucky, my current beef source hangs his for 3 weeks

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on April 20, 2011
at 09:06 PM

Estimates for controlled fire use range from 100k to 400k years ago. Melissa, why do you doubt that anatomically modern humans cannot subsist on raw meat? What has changed anatomically that would hamper survival?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 20, 2011
at 08:55 PM

most people don't know that almost all meat hangs for a few days at least before it is sold to develop flavor and tenderness

3c997ffae3db9464325b96979346d9e9

(1290)

on April 20, 2011
at 08:45 PM

Man adapted to be able to tolerate Maillard compounds, how else could he have evolved and thrived cooking meat over an open fire.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on April 20, 2011
at 08:43 PM

Hey, leave fire alone!

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 20, 2011
at 08:42 PM

lions maybe finish it all off, but other, solitary hunters can hide a carcass and feed off of it for some time and i'm pretty sure it's getting "ripe" in the process. Also, just watched a show on the arctic where they prepare for winter by catch a bunch of birds, stuffing them feathers and all into a (seal?) skin and sealing it off and putting a bunch of rocks on it! Voila! Bon Appetit! A few months later, fermented meat. They seem to enjoy it immensely. I wonder how much has to really do with modern gut flora.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 20, 2011
at 08:08 PM

we cannot digest it as efficiently, IE 1000 calories of raw meat is digested as 800 calories, whereas if you cooked it you could get all 1000 calories. The effect on other nutrients is unknown, but most cultures consume both raw and cooked. When humans harassed fire is unknown. I do doubt that anatomically moden humans can survive on only raw animals, even with the organs. I don't doubt that Homo heidelbergensis can, but not homo sapiens.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on April 20, 2011
at 07:54 PM

right Stephen. CMast did some brilliant writing on this but I am not finding the link.

05055dcbf12c81f1cce777ec365870af

(1791)

on April 20, 2011
at 07:36 PM

parasites do exist naturally, however our current immune system is so poor that we are more easily sickened by everything.

05055dcbf12c81f1cce777ec365870af

(1791)

on April 20, 2011
at 07:35 PM

you may doubt it but its totally possible IF they are also eating organs and other things besides the muscle meat.

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on April 20, 2011
at 07:28 PM

When you say it's harder to digest, do you mean that it requires more energy to digest raw meat, or that we cannot gain the same amount of nutrients from the meat than if it were cooked (time not being a factor)? It seems counter-intuitive that humans can't survive solely on raw meat given that we didn't harness fire for some time.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on April 20, 2011
at 06:51 PM

exogenous ALEs/AGEs tho Dr. K. Its still highly debated whether the external ones are the dangerous ones, but much less debated that the internally created ones are very dangerous.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 20, 2011
at 06:49 PM

what is with the parasites in salmon(wild caught)?

Medium avatar

(5639)

on April 20, 2011
at 06:38 PM

Theoretically, doesn't cooking go hand in hand with a smaller stomach leading to a larger brain based on less energy having to be devoted to digestion?

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7 Answers

2
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 20, 2011
at 06:36 PM

cooking introduces more ALE's and AGE's for sure. Eating it raw has its own issues because unlike lions and tigers our kills are rarely that fresh......ever.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on April 20, 2011
at 06:51 PM

exogenous ALEs/AGEs tho Dr. K. Its still highly debated whether the external ones are the dangerous ones, but much less debated that the internally created ones are very dangerous.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on April 20, 2011
at 07:54 PM

right Stephen. CMast did some brilliant writing on this but I am not finding the link.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on April 20, 2011
at 06:38 PM

Theoretically, doesn't cooking go hand in hand with a smaller stomach leading to a larger brain based on less energy having to be devoted to digestion?

3c997ffae3db9464325b96979346d9e9

(1290)

on April 20, 2011
at 08:45 PM

Man adapted to be able to tolerate Maillard compounds, how else could he have evolved and thrived cooking meat over an open fire.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 20, 2011
at 09:34 PM

i agree with richard here.......stephen the ale/age question is open.....but making hypothesis about it are fair game.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 20, 2011
at 08:42 PM

lions maybe finish it all off, but other, solitary hunters can hide a carcass and feed off of it for some time and i'm pretty sure it's getting "ripe" in the process. Also, just watched a show on the arctic where they prepare for winter by catch a bunch of birds, stuffing them feathers and all into a (seal?) skin and sealing it off and putting a bunch of rocks on it! Voila! Bon Appetit! A few months later, fermented meat. They seem to enjoy it immensely. I wonder how much has to really do with modern gut flora.

1
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on November 19, 2011
at 02:48 PM

Man is the one ape that gave up large guts and big jaws for the ability to cook. Look on youtube for Loren Cordain's lectures.

That said, there are benefits to both cooked and uncooked. Cooking makes tougher pieces of meat more easily edible by breaking down fibers and releasing collagen/gelatin. Also the risk from bacteria is only on the surface, which is why ground meat is more dangerous than a chunk of meat - you kill the bacteria via searing the surface, and can still eat it rare.

On the other hand, Taurine content is destroyed by heat. So if you're afraid to eat meat rare or raw, or steak tartare, add some taurine. Or buy bison heart and eat it near raw.

1
05055dcbf12c81f1cce777ec365870af

(1791)

on April 20, 2011
at 07:42 PM

here's a funny thing about this question, and other similar questions: the assumption is that somehow (((SCIENCE!!1))) can convince/proove/persuade us with a theory of certainty without us having to bear the true burden of proof - PRACTICE. get tested beforehand, eat highest quality raw animal products for a set period of time, get tested afterwards. journal your entire experience, times, feelings, measurements, meal portion sizes, etc. SEE WHAT HAPPENS. make a conclusion based on your personal goals. share the whole thing.

1
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 20, 2011
at 06:45 PM

In the book Catching Fire, anthropologist Wrangham discusses these and cites several studies showing the protein in raw eggs is less digestible. Also, there was man who had a bullet hole in his stomach which was used for digestibility experiments. They found that raw meat was harder to digest. I found this to be the case myself and was much hungrier on a raw diet. There are lots of raw paleos out there, but almost all use added oils and other added fats. I actually doubt that humans can survive solely on raw meat.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on April 20, 2011
at 08:43 PM

Hey, leave fire alone!

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on April 20, 2011
at 07:28 PM

When you say it's harder to digest, do you mean that it requires more energy to digest raw meat, or that we cannot gain the same amount of nutrients from the meat than if it were cooked (time not being a factor)? It seems counter-intuitive that humans can't survive solely on raw meat given that we didn't harness fire for some time.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 20, 2011
at 08:08 PM

we cannot digest it as efficiently, IE 1000 calories of raw meat is digested as 800 calories, whereas if you cooked it you could get all 1000 calories. The effect on other nutrients is unknown, but most cultures consume both raw and cooked. When humans harassed fire is unknown. I do doubt that anatomically moden humans can survive on only raw animals, even with the organs. I don't doubt that Homo heidelbergensis can, but not homo sapiens.

05055dcbf12c81f1cce777ec365870af

(1791)

on April 20, 2011
at 07:35 PM

you may doubt it but its totally possible IF they are also eating organs and other things besides the muscle meat.

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on April 20, 2011
at 09:06 PM

Estimates for controlled fire use range from 100k to 400k years ago. Melissa, why do you doubt that anatomically modern humans cannot subsist on raw meat? What has changed anatomically that would hamper survival?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 20, 2011
at 09:44 PM

WyldKard, there is no way to know exactly what has changed, particularly of the digestive system since that does not fossilize, but Homo heidelbergensis is pretty different. The diet they would have had to eaten before the advent of fire in Europe would be toxic to modern humans, who have a relatively low threshold for protein. H. heidelbergensis also had more robust dentition, which may have allowed them to chew raw meat and fat more effectively. Raw meat and fat is surprisingly tough.

0
Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 20, 2011
at 08:46 PM

I find raw products easier to digest, personally. I do also like cooked meat, but it's never given me the "post meal high" raw does. Additionally, I find it interesting that so many kitchen techniques have developed to preserve meat in it's "raw" state. I'm talking about curing, fermenting, etc etc. Some of these, like salami making, are quite tricky and complicated and I'm not sure if it could be argued that these arose simply as an easy way to extend shelf life.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 20, 2011
at 09:10 PM

yup. i'm lucky, my current beef source hangs his for 3 weeks

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on April 21, 2011
at 01:13 PM

We've never had a noticeable problem digesting raw meat, and are actually put off by overcooked meat (red meat loses much of its allure if it's cooked beyond medium rare). Yet the opposite is true regarding plants; we generally prefer our plants cooked.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 20, 2011
at 09:12 PM

i'm also in the process of trying to make some salt cured pork liver (i got a bunch of free pork livers) keeping them in a cure for 2 weeks then hanging them for 3 weeks or so... keeping my fingers crossed they will turn out well (Fergus Henderson recipe)

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 20, 2011
at 08:55 PM

most people don't know that almost all meat hangs for a few days at least before it is sold to develop flavor and tenderness

0
Fd504de9b242f4cd7009db70af5e2121

(558)

on April 20, 2011
at 06:34 PM

I think raw animal products are more nutritious and easier to digest. When salmon is cooked the beneficial fats come out,same with beef to a lesser degree.

05055dcbf12c81f1cce777ec365870af

(1791)

on April 20, 2011
at 07:36 PM

parasites do exist naturally, however our current immune system is so poor that we are more easily sickened by everything.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 20, 2011
at 06:49 PM

what is with the parasites in salmon(wild caught)?

-1
619a75eefb2ad8ca6e08f03e27db81a6

on November 19, 2011
at 02:59 AM

both raw and cooked contain the same nutrients, however as humans have evolved we have lost our enzymes that allow us to survive off of a raw meat diet. (if we just eat raw meat we will die within a few months). think of cooking the food as an external stomoch that starts to break down the outer layers of food and alowing us to digest it like other foods.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on November 19, 2011
at 02:49 PM

Not true. see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aajonus_Vonderplanitz This dude eats an all raw diet, including, and especially meat. He's quite healthy and quite alive vs all the diseases he got over when he was younger. n=1 and all that. :)

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