Nutrition: The importance of cooking methods and health
First we were told to avoid fat, then to count calories, then certain macromolecule ratios, and now the Internet tells us a little bit of everything. But I rarely hear the discussion of how you cook your food. My mentor always said- it’s the AGEs that age you, that is Advanced Glycation End products. These are created when you mix sugar and a protein with heat. They are actually unavoidable, but you can reduce the load.
They don’t always come from food. AGEs are also made when you have too much sugar in your blood and don’t burn it (i.e. going to bed after a snack), it will bind to a protein (‘glycation’) and then deposit in your tissues- especially the eyes, kidney, and nerves (i.e. Diabetic neuropathy, nephropathy, retinopathy).
If you cook with water, you reduce the load of AGEs you are consuming. If you cook with high heat, broiling, or frying then you are promoting AGEs.
“AGEs promote inflammation and play a role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease, diabetic complications, and fibromyalgia. AGEs may also accelerate the aging process” – Dr Alan Gaby
So what to do?
Well I love my cast iron skillet, and I love a summertime grill sesh. But I also love my goodwill bamboo steamer (which I get a lot of flack over). Health is a balancing act, with everything in moderation. Too much of anything is not good, even water.
So I challenge you to consume a meal each day that is cooked via water- steaming, boiling, or stew!
Check out this list of foods and their AGE content. Boiled chicken 9x less than fried, 4.3x less than broiled. Wow, look at infant foods! Those delicate infants swigging on the AGEs in formula. (source: Nutritional Medicine, Dr. Alan Gaby)