Cooking

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Contents

Introduction

The net potential health gain to humans of cooking their food is immense and this was an early extremely important health intervention in human cultures as they developed the ability to use fire consistently. The microbial content can be decreased, proteins made more digestible and the flavour and texture improved. So while cooking can contribute to health problems such as a diet poor in essential nutrients, obesity and even some malignancy, the health loss from malnutrition, infection and even cancer is much greater. The health gain versus harm assessment will vary considerably between the healthier cooking methods of steaming, boiling, and baking and those such as stir-fried and deep-fried preparation where the fat or oil used and potential for over cooking/burning will be important factors. Carcinogens can be generated by some cooking methods and not others[1] and the significance of low dose exposure overestimated based on high dose models[2]. However like much of the literature around nutrition and health multiple questionable associations are reported[3] and the relative benefits/risks of cooked versus raw vegetable consumption are not as clear as many claim[4].

Cooking preparation method

  • Baking preserves vitamins and minerals best in fish preparation compared to boiling, microwaving and frying[5]

Conditions prevented by cooking

Conditions with questionable associations with cooking

  • Aluminium exposure from cooking vessels

Conditions associated with cooking

  • Excessive cooking (particularly) with malignancy
    • Increased consumption of barbecued red meat (67% increased risk) and deep fried vegetables (70 % increased risk) of pancreatic cancer.[14]
    • Deep fried meat and breast cancer (odds ratio, 1.92; 95% CI 1.30-2.83)[15]

References

  1. Knize MG, Felton JS. Formation and human risk of carcinogenic heterocyclic amines formed from natural precursors in meat. Nutrition reviews. 2005 May; 63(5):158-65.
  2. Ames BN, Gold LS. The causes and prevention of cancer: gaining perspective. Environmental health perspectives. 1997 Jun; 105 Suppl 4:865-73.
  3. Schoenfeld JD, Ioannidis JP. Is everything we eat associated with cancer? A systematic cookbook review. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2013 Jan; 97(1):127-34.(Link to article – subscription may be required.)
  4. Link LB, Potter JD. Raw versus cooked vegetables and cancer risk. Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology. 2004 Sep; 13(9):1422-35.
  5. Hosseini H, Mahmoudzadeh M, Rezaei M, Mahmoudzadeh L, Khaksar R, Khosroshahi NK, Babakhani A. Effect of different cooking methods on minerals, vitamins and nutritional quality indices of kutum roach (Rutilus frisii kutum). Food chemistry. 2014 Apr 1; 148:86-91.(Link to article – subscription may be required.)
  6. Braden CR. Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis and eggs: a national epidemic in the United States. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 2006 Aug 15; 43(4):512-7.(Link to article – subscription may be required.)
  7. DuPont HL. The growing threat of foodborne bacterial enteropathogens of animal origin. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 2007 Nov 15; 45(10):1353-61.(Link to article – subscription may be required.)
  8. Jones JL, Dubey JP. Foodborne toxoplasmosis. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 2012 Sep; 55(6):845-51.(Link to article – subscription may be required.)
  9. Kaewpitoon N, Kaewpitoon SJ, Philasri C, Leksomboon R, Maneenin C, Sirilaph S, Pengsaa P. Trichinosis: epidemiology in Thailand. World journal of gastroenterology : WJG. 2006 Oct 28; 12(40):6440-5.
  10. Hochberg NS, Hamer DH. Anisakidosis: Perils of the deep. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 2010 Oct 1; 51(7):806-12.(Link to article – subscription may be required.)
  11. Cowie RH. Pathways for transmission of angiostrongyliasis and the risk of disease associated with them. Hawai'i journal of medicine & public health : a journal of Asia Pacific Medicine & Public Health. 2013 Jun; 72(6 Suppl 2):70-4.
  12. Correia da Costa JM, Vale N, Gouveia MJ, Botelho MC, Sripa B, Santos LL, Santos JH, Rinaldi G, Brindley PJ. Schistosome and liver fluke derived catechol-estrogens and helminth associated cancers. Frontiers in genetics. 2014; 5:444.(Epub) (Link to article – subscription may be required.)
  13. Lidsky TI. Is the Aluminum Hypothesis dead? Journal of occupational and environmental medicine / American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2014 May; 56(5 Suppl):S73-9.(Link to article – subscription may be required.)
  14. Ghorbani Z, Hekmatdoost A, Zinab HE, Farrokhzad S, Rahimi R, Malekzadeh R, Pourshams A. Dietary food groups intake and cooking methods associations with pancreatic cancer: A case-control study. Indian journal of gastroenterology : official journal of the Indian Society of Gastroenterology. 2015 Jun 12.(Epub ahead of print) (Link to article – subscription may be required.)
  15. Dai Q, Shu XO, Jin F, Gao YT, Ruan ZX, Zheng W. Consumption of animal foods, cooking methods, and risk of breast cancer. Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology. 2002 Sep; 11(9):801-8.

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