It turns out that food preparation and cooking methods play a major role in how healthy food is for you. Foods that are minimally processed or cooked help to prevent diabetes and lower glucose, control weight and promote longevity.
By contrast, studies have shown that foods cooked or processed at high temperatures cause the release of harmful advanced glycation end products and mutagens.
Prevent diabetes: Why heavily-cooked or heat-processed foods should be minimized
Generally speaking, cooking (at high temperatures) will tend to create glycation end products (AGEs) – which cause tissues to lose their functioning and age prematurely. These cellular changes damage the DNA and increase the risk of cancer.
Specifically, heat processed and broiled meats tend to be the highest in glycation end products, with very toxic levels of these substances. However, pan frying shows levels in the toxic range as well, followed by grilling, which causes elevated levels of glycation end products. Remember, higher mutagen levels are associated with higher levels of glycation end products.
Science links glycation end products to cancer and diabetes
Recently, studies have linked glycation from cooked meats with chronic inflammation and a sharply higher risk of breast and prostate cancers. When foods are heated over 300 degrees, chemical changes occur that cause cellular damage. Men who eat just 1.5 or more servings of cooked or grilled meat per week have a 50 percent higher risk of prostate cancer.
Conversely, a study of diabetics who consumed a diet of foods cooked at low temperatures lost more weight than those who consumed identical calories, fats, carbohydrates and proteins cooked at higher temperatures. The low-temperature group also experienced reductions in their blood glucose and LDL cholesterol numbers.
Cooking methods are a key to health and can prevent diabetes. Avoiding heat processed foods and meat cooked at high temperatures reduces harmful advanced glycation end products and also prevents DNA-mutating toxins and carcinogens from forming.
Discovering a healthier way to prepare meals
With overheated food now associated with cancer, diabetes and accelerated aging, it’s crucial to pay attention to food preparation and cooking methods used. While the data supports a raw food diet as the ideal choice, there are other ways to help mitigate the harmful effects of glycation on internal proteins from cooked food.
Eating raw vegetables and fruits more often is an obvious step, but cooking foods more lightly can help as well. Steamed fish, chicken, vegetables and legumes are much healthier, as are minimally processed whole grains and raw dairy products.
The health benefits of steaming, boiling, poaching and marinating foods
Besides steaming, cooking methods like stewing, poaching and boiling can help with reducing the formation advanced glycation end products. For example, boiled chicken has at least an 80 percent lower level of AGEs than broiled chicken.
Soaking foods in acidic marinades before cooking can help with inhibiting AGE formation as well. Marinades based on vinegar and/or citrus fruits with added seasonings are also an excellent way to enhance the flavor of meats before cooking.