Cooking And Chemical Reactions
The kitchen is a chemical laboratory that produces millions of completely new substances, which—if they exist at all in nature—do so only rarely. A cooking process called the Maillard reaction will produce an almost infinite number of sugar-and-protein combinations. These new substances are called advanced glycation end products (AGE) and are linked to chronic disease. They are also known as AGEs, glycotoxins, Amadori compounds, or Advanced Glycated End Products.
Throughout most of our evolutionary history, before we invented processing methods like grinding and cooking food, human beings rarely ingested as many Maillard molecules (compounds formed by the interaction between amino acids in foods and heat) as we do today. The introduction of dairy products and grains in recent years has brought about changes to the chemical substances humans eat, just as the introduction of any new foods does.
Key Information To Consider
Cooking can seriously alter the energy of food. It is scientifically proven by Kirlian photography, which shows that live and bioactive raw foods are more vibrant than cooked ones
Cooking alters the biochemical structure and nutrient makeup of food. Molecules in the cooked food are deranged, degraded, and broken down—and this degeneration happens when you cook at home as well as in restaurants. When fiber is cooked it’s broken down into a soft, passive substance in the intestines, its broom-like and magnetic cleansing quality becomes lost.
When cooking food, nutrients—such as vitamins and minerals—are depleted, destroyed, or altered. How much they are depleted depends on the type of heat used (for instance boiling water destroys more nutrients than simmering)
Cooking denatures (alters the shape of) up to 50% of protein molecules. This denaturing and crosslinking causes the protein to lose its original function in the body and speeds up cellular aging.
The interrelationship of nutrients is altered from its natural synergistic makeup. For example, when meat is cooked more vitamin B6 than methionine—an essential amino acid found in foods such as fish and beans—is destroyed which fosters atherogenic free radical-initiating homocysteine accumulation (a substance that can cause heart problems). Food that has been cooked loses its water content and can no longer be considered a healthy part of the diet.
When foods are cooked at high temperatures, toxic compounds and “byproducts”—such as free radicals that cause aging and cancer—are formed. Frying or grilling produces higher levels of these contaminants than other cooking methods do. Cooking fats and proteins generate carcinogenic substances, mutagens, and free radicals.
Heat causes molecules to collide, leading to bonding and crosslinking the formation of new substances. The waste produced by cooking can fill, block up and disrupt your body’s cells, organs, and systems. This can result in premature aging, disease, and even death. The following are some of the ways that cooking damages your body:
-Loss of vitamins and minerals
-Increase in free radicals
-Damage to proteins, fats, and carbohydrates
-Loss of vitamins and minerals
Food enzymes in raw food are destroyed at temperatures as low as 118 degrees Fahrenheit. These natural digestive aids aid in digestion, becoming active immediately upon ingestion. Cooking destroys 100% of these enzymes—meaning that people who eat a lot of cooked foods may have difficulty digesting their meals properly.
Eating enzyme-dead food places a burden on your pancreas and other organs, which eventually exhausts these organs. The digestion of cooked food uses valuable metabolic enzymes in order to help digest your meal—so when you eat the raw version of that same dish, those digestive juices are free to do what they were meant for (instead of being diverted back into your stomach). Unlike raw food, which is easily digested and passes through the digestive tract in a half to a third of the time it takes for cooked food.
When a person eats cooked food, white blood cells rush to the digestive tract, leaving the rest of the body less protected. For this reason, from an immune system perspective—one in which foreign (toxic) substances are viewed as invaders of our bodies—eating cooked foods amounts to us eating something that is toxic.
Cooked meat contains putrefactive bacteria, which outnumber the healthy strains of intestinal flora. Eating cooked meat can lead to a condition called dysbiosis or intestinal toxemia—your body is flooded with toxins as these bad bugs overpower your good gut microorganisms. These toxins can create a variety of symptoms, including bloating, gas, and indigestion. Due to the high amount of fat in cooked meat, it also slows down digestion by clogging up our digestive tract.
Cooked starches and fats can cause serious intestinal problems. When they aren’t digested properly, these types of food tend to break down into a tar-like substance called mucoid plaque that builds up in the intestines. Cooked food is difficult for the body to digest, and it contains fewer usable nutrients than raw foods. Cooking destroys enzymes and heat-sensitive vitamins such as vitamins C and B vitamins. These are important because they support digestion and help us absorb iron from plant foods.
Cooked foods cause a build-up of toxins and waste material in many parts of the body, including within individual cells. One such toxin is called lipofuscin, which accumulates in nerve tissue as “age spots” or liver spots. Lipofuscin is made of oxidized fats and proteins, including cholesterol. Lipofuscin has also been found in the brain, causing age spots on the brain. This may explain why many elderly people suffer from mental deterioration. The more lipofuscin that accumulates in a person’s body, the more impaired their thinking ability becomes.
Because cooked food is less nutritious and contains toxins and wastes, individual cells in the body don’t get enough nutrients. When cells don’t have enough nutrients, they become malnourished and degenerate. This can cause the body to age prematurely and develop diseases. For example, when your skin suffers from a lack of oxygen, it becomes wrinkled. The same thing happens on a cellular level when the body is deprived of oxygenated blood for an extended period of time.
Because of the way processed foods affect metabolism, people who consume them tend to overeat. They don’t get enough nutrients from cooked food and their cells are constantly hungry—so they demand even more calories. Processed foods also have a negative impact on your body’s hormone levels. When you eat processed foods, your blood sugar levels increase rapidly and then fall just as quickly. This causes stress to your pancreas—which releases insulin in response to the drop in blood glucose levels. Insulin is a hormone that helps transport glucose into cells where it can be used for energy production or stored as fat.
When your body is undergoing a detoxification or cleansing process, it can manifest itself in various ways. Sometimes, you may feel like you’re dying of thirst. This is because as your body gets rid of toxins, it also rids itself of excess fluid that has been stored in the tissues and organs. You may also experience headaches or migraines, fatigue, nausea colds, diarrhea, and vomiting. These are all signs that your body is cleansing itself of harmful substances—and they will pass within a few days.
An overburdened immune system, having to handle the massive daily invasions of toxins and toxic by-products, eventually becomes weakened. A key factor in the aging process. Weakened immune systems often result in the onset of colds, flu, and other illnesses. This is because the body’s natural defense mechanisms are unable to cope with an attack by foreign viruses or bacteria. In extreme cases, this can lead to cancer or degenerative diseases such as arthritis.
Cancer is caused by the buildup of wastes, toxins, mutagens, and carcinogens within cells. Excess free radicals also damage DNA molecules in all cells—and some become cancerous as a result. This pollution causes an estimated 30% of American deaths each year. As we age, our bodies become more susceptible to illness. This is because the immune system becomes weaker and is not able to fight off foreign invaders as effectively as it once did. In addition, there is an increase in free radical activity that causes damage to DNA molecules and makes them susceptible to mutation.
The natural aging process can be slowed down or even reversed by a raw-food diet. A raw-food diet causes the body to produce more antioxidants that help to eliminate free radicals. It also increases the production of enzymes that detoxify chemicals in your body and neutralize carcinogens.
After eating a cooked meal, the number of white blood cells in the bloodstream increases, and there is an alteration in their relative proportions. This phenomenon is called “digestive leukocytosis”. The white blood cells are the body’s first line of defense against infection. When you eat cooked food, your body recognizes it as a foreign substance and produces more white blood cells to attack and digest it. After eating a raw-food diet, there is no change in the number of white blood cells in the bloodstream. This means that your body does not have to devote energy to digesting the food—all its energy can be used for other processes such as repairing damaged DNA molecules.
Cooked Food Studies
The effects of cooked and processed foods on the immune system were studied at the Institute of Clinical Chemistry in Lausanne, Switzerland, with Dr. Paul Kouchakoff serving as principal investigator. In this study, volunteers were asked to eat either raw food or a cooked-food diet. The results showed that when people ate raw foods, their white blood cell count remained the same; but when they ate processed foods (cooked meats and cheeses), their white blood cell count increased dramatically.
Dr. Kouchakoff discovered that when a person eats cooked food, his/her blood responds immediately by increasing the number of white blood cells. This increase is a defense mechanism that helps the body fight off foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. The white blood cells are produced by the bone marrow, which also produces red blood cells. Since the bone marrow does not have enough time to produce extra red blood cells when people eat cooked food their white blood cell count increases instead.
This is a well-known process called “digestive leukocytosis”, which means white blood cells (leucocytes) increase in number after eating. There are many types of white blood cells that help fight disease. These include neutrophils, basophils, and eosinophils. Neutrophils are the most common type of white blood cell, making up between 50% and 70% of all leukocytes in the body. They are also the first to arrive at any kind of infection or injury site. When they arrive they release enzymes that kill bacteria and other micro-organisms.
Because digestive leukocytosis occurred after eating and was the body’s normal response to food, it was assumed that this reaction never varied from person to person. No one knew why white blood cell counts tended to go up after eating, since this was a stress response—as if the body were responding to some sort of infection. In fact, it is only when the body is under stress that white blood cells go up. This increase in white blood cell counts happens as a result of eating. The body responds to food by releasing chemicals called histamines; these are responsible for inflammation and allergic reactions.
In 1930, Swiss researchers from the Institute of Chemical Chemistry studied how food affects human blood and made a remarkable discovery. They found that unaltered raw foods or those heated at very low temperatures do not cause an immune response in humans. However, when they heated the food to higher temperatures (above 118 degrees), they found that the body responded by releasing histamines. Foods that had been heated or processed always caused a rise in white blood cells, no matter the temperature. The researchers discovered that when food is cooked at high temperatures, it releases a protein called trypsin inhibitor. This substance can cause an allergic reaction in anyone who is sensitive to it.
They rechristened the reaction “pathological leukocytosis” and found that it occurred only when highly altered foods were consumed. If food was not overheated or refined, they found that the body saw it as a friendly substance and produced no such response. This was a groundbreaking discovery. However, these same foods caused a negative reaction in the blood only when heated to very high temperatures—a temperature level that is also harmful to human bodies.
The Worst Offenders
All foods that have been processed, refined, homogenized, or changed from their original state are unhealthy. So what is the worst offender? The worst offender by far is refined sugar. Sugar causes all of the same reactions that a hot, highly processed food would cause. This includes increased heart rate and stress on your body’s organs (especially the liver). So what is the worst offender? The worst offender by far is refined sugar.
Good examples of the most harmful foods outside of sugar are processed flour, white rice, pasteurized milk, chocolate, margarine, sugar-based candy, and other sweet treats.
There is also evidence that if some of the same food eaten in its raw state were consumed with cooked versions, blood pathology would be minimized. However, avoid unnatural processed foods; replace them with whole delicious ones for optimal health.
Food For Thought
Don’t try to switch completely to an all-raw food diet too fast. Most people can begin by eating 50% of their food uncooked, especially fresh fruit in the morning, and including a salad made from fresh vegetables at lunchtime. If you are looking at an all-raw food diet, start by adding more fresh fruit to your diet. Fruit is a great introduction to raw foods because of its high water content and sweetness, which makes it much easier for the body to digest than vegetables or nuts. If you are already eating plenty of fruit then move on to eating some leafy green vegetables or salads with cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, and other raw vegetables.
Kouchakoff, Paul, M.D.; “The Influence of Cooking Food on the Blood Formula of Man”; First International Congress of Microbiology; Paris, 1930.
Excellent synopsis of Dr. Kouchakoff’s study results.