Scientists have revealed that the alarming increase in "lifestyle" diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cancer could be directly linked to the food we consume, more specifically how we cook it. Consuming grilled, fried and baked food is progressively damaging our immune system, brain and circulation due to toxins created during the cooking process. Studies have directly linked even a moderate intake of these toxins to significant increases in the risk and severity of prostate and breast cancers.
Food becomes more tasty when cooked but at what cost? Even foods which are generally regarded as 'good' or 'healthy' can become toxic if they are prepared incorrectly. Understanding and avoiding these toxic cooking processes could prevent you developing cancers and diseases in later life.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE COOK?
Cooking changes the texture, digestibility and even safety of the things we choose to eat.Anthropologist's estimations vary wildly about when we started cooking, but it is generally agreed that the first instance occurred accidentally. Our pre-historic relatives may have stumbled upon an animal or plant charred by a forest fire and thought "hmmm. that tastes better" and we haven't looked back since.
We have become so familiar with the concept of cooking that we don't stop to examine if it is really in our best interests. No other animal eats cooked food. Our cooked food preferences is one of the reasons why we are suffering degenerative illnesses, casually referred to as 'lifestyle' diseases. These diseases are caused by how we live and primarily the food we consume.
There are both physical and chemical changes which take place during cooking. Starch, long chains of sugar molecules, in foods like potatoes, breakdown into shorter chains when it is heated. These shorter chains are further broken down by enzymes in our saliva to release sugars which we use to fuel our bodies. Heating often causes texture of our food to change.
Animal proteins are also changed by heating: it can cause softening, for example the collagen in meat; it can also cause proteins to become harder, for example when you cook an egg. Animal proteins are very temperature sensitive which determines their function.
WHY DO WE COOK?
Heating food above 150 degrees Fahrenheit kills dangerous bacteria, reducing the chances of food making you immediately ill. However, the main reason we cook our food is to make it more enjoyable. Frying and roasting food makes it crispier, which we like.
Food also develops specific flavors as a result of changes occurring on a molecular level. The 'browning' of meat and vegetables trough cooking is a result of two chemical reactions: the first is referred to as the 'Maillard Reaction', named after the scientist who discovered it; the second is caramelization.
The Malliard reaction is when amino acids (protein building blocks) bond with natural sugars in the food creating aroma compounds with malty or earthy flavors. Caramelization occurs in sugar molecules and gives a nutty flavor. The ratio of protein to sugars in the food determines the exact flavor: meat contains a higher ratio of protein so would incur less caramelization than carrots.
Both processes increase the hotter and longer you cook food for, so quickly frying incurs less chemical changes than prolonged charring on the BBQ. The amount of chemical reaction is also demonstrated by the color of the browning (or blackening!) of food.
As far back as the 1980's scientists discovered that browning proteins through cooking actually reduces the amount we were able tot absorb successfully into our bodies. Children's universal dislike of bread crusts could be because they instinctively knew it contained 15% less absorbable protein.
Cooking can also reduce the amount, and quality, of available nutrients as water soluble vitamins will get lost in the cooking water and fat soluble ones will get dispersed in the fat.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF TEMPERATURE AND MOISTURE
Both caramelization and the Maillard reaction only occur when food is cooked over 300-320 degrees Fahrenheit with hot and dry methods of cooking, such as steaming and boiling do not provide the conditions for the chemical reactions, which is why boiled meat or carrots will never go brown and crispy.
The joining of an amino acid to a sugar molecule, in the Maillard reaction, is also known as glycation and the longer the reaction goes on for the more Advanced Glycation End (AGE) products are created. It is these end products, also known as AGE's which are causing significant damage to many parts of the human body.
The hotter and longer you cook for, the more AGE's are produced. Cooking at higher temperatures is also more likely to produce hetero-cyclic amines which are specifically known to mutate genes which lead to cancer formation.
Studies looking specifically at the effect these AGE compounds have found that reducing consumption for just four weeks lower insulin resistance, leading to weight-loss (for both diabetics and non-diabetics). The popularity of Raw Food and Paleo diets has been promoted further by their ability to reduce AGE's, a mechanism which helps people lose weight. Cooking food at lower temperatures can also reduce troublesome glycation of internal fats by 32% in just six weeks.
DANGERS OF ADVANCED GYCATION END PRODUCTS
AGEs are produced inside the body, in very small quantities, but we get a lot more from the food we eat as Dietary Advanced Glucation End products or dAGEs. They are found naturally in food, specifically animal protein, but the amount increases dramatically after certain cooking processes.
*Raw chicken breast (naturally high in protein) contains about 700 dAGE kilo units per 90g serving
*If you boil the same piece of chicken for 1 hour it increases to 1,100 dAGEkU/s
*If you microwave it for 3 minutes instead it's AGE content increased to 1,300 dAGEkU/s
*But, if you broil the chicken for 15 minutes this figure increases massively to 5,200 dAGEkU/s
*Worse still is frying, in just 8 minutes you increase the toxic load to 6,300 dAGEkU/s
*Boiled eggs contain 200 units each, but if you fry them this increases to 1,200 units each
*potato increases from just 17 units per serving when boiled to over 1,500 when prepared as fries
*Even an innocent apple nearly triples it's dAGE content when baked form just 14 to 45 units each
Diabetic individuals often have higher levels of endogenous AGEs (those produced internally by the body) due to poor glucose control elevating blood sugar levels. The diseases associated with diabetes, such as cardiovascular and kidney damage which can lead to complete kidney failure.
Since the damage done by these molecules is slow we may not even be aware it is happening. However, the biological markers for aging, such as skin elasticity and tone, immune function and mental cognition are also affected by high AGE diets. The physical processes associated with getting older are being accelerated by what we are eating and how we are cooking it. AGE literally makes you age.
In the body AGEs cause: inflammation (by stimulating the immune response); they cause free radicals to be generated; and they attach themselves to specific tissues, accumulating and forming lumps, which cannot be broken down.
Plaques form on the inside of arterial walls which can lead to heart attacks and strokes when they impede the blood flow, a similar plaque formation process is found with Alzheimer's disease. AGEs specifically accumulate on nucleic acids (which make DNA), proteins and fats, which is why they are now being linked to diabetes, atherosclerosis, renal failure and neuro-degenerative diseases.
TYPES OF INFLAMMATION
Inflammation is one of the body's responses to danger. At the site of infection or injury the body signals for specific immune cells to go to the site of the infection to deal with problems and start repairs. Acute inflammation like the swelling and pain resulting from an injury indicates the body is working and healing.
Chronic (long term) inflammation is completely different. It is like a state of constant immune alert which has been linked to major illnesses, premature aging and autoimmune diseases.
One of the cell receptors involved in this inflammatory immune process has been labelled RAGE (Receptor for Advanced Glucation End Products). This name is very misleading,, the receptor although responding to AGEs was not evolved for this purpose.
It is a 'pattern recognition receptor' which means it will allow several different molecules to bind, and therefore operate it, even if they are not an exact fit. The high levels of dAGEs are just too much for this receptor which is in a permanent state of alert, signaling to the body there is a problem. This constant over stimulation puts unnecessary stress oh the immune system and it also makes it harder for the body to target and repair real problems.
Scientists have found that when the RAGE receptors are over stimulated there is a positive feedback loop which actually causes the body to synthesize even more receptors, increasing the immune react even. A very high number of RAGE receptors have been found in tumors, indicating they have a direct relationship to tumor formation.
A high number of Rage receptors is now considered to be indicative of a 'pro-tumorgenic micro environment'. This means if you have lots of these receptors, because they are being over expressed as due to dietary AGE stimulation, you are much more likely to develop cancer.
INFLAMMATION AND CANCER
Our cells have innate repair mechanisms, they are able to heal themselves or self-destruct if they detect problems. Unfortunately during long periods of immune stress they are unable to carry out protective repair functions. The constant stimulation of the RAGE receptors leads to large amounts of inflammatory cytokines (messenger molecules) to be released.
This signals an immune response is needed, however, it can also lead to the immune system mistakenly attacking the bodies own cells. When high levels of inflammatory cytokines are produced it leads to immune confusion and weakness.
The severe pain associated with arthritis, damage to brain cells and even mutation of DNA are the result of these cytokines being released. They are being released as a result of immune receptor stimulation by toxins in cooked food, and they are doing a lot of damage.
One method doctors use to look at a patient's immune system is measuring the amount of C-reactive protein in the blood. This gives doctors an idea of the severity and duration of inflammation. The presence of the protein indicates a history of immune stimulation and is associated with high levels of cytokines. The levels of C-reactive protein can help understand disease progression.
There are some diseases known to be a direct result of specific immune problems, known as autoimmune diseases including asthma, arthritis, diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome. These diseases often occur in body tissues less able to repair the damage of the out of control immune functions. Recent studies by the Mount Scieni School of Medicine linked multiple diseases to problems with the immune system related to chronic inflammation. They linked high levels of dietary AGEs to cancer, obesity, heart disease and cardiovascular problems. The American Journal of Epidemiology reported that just 1 to 2 servings of fried red meat per week can increase the risk of prostate cancer by 30%. If you have an average of 3 servings per week this risk goes up to 40 %, and it is more likely the cancer will be more severe.
While we have been consuming, and cooking our food for eons, it is clear that we have reached a tipping point. The body can no longer cope with the influx of toxins we consume. The higher risk of cancers in later years is directly related to the toxic build-up within our bodies.
ALTERNATIVE COOKING METHODS
To reduce the amount of AGE's you consume use cooking methods which are quicker, wetter and cooler. For example: steam, boil, poach or stew food. Stir frying is also less toxic: it exposes the food for less time and the stirring keeps the moist parts of the vegetables in contact with the pan, stopping the Maillard reaction.
Processed foods, specifically refined, canned, dried or pasteurized contain a very high number of AGEs as they are cooked for prolonged periods. Acidic marinades, such as using lemon juice or vinegar can reduce AGE formation by inhibiting the Maillard reaction.
Eating more raw foods and increasing intake of Omega-3 fats can also reduce chronic inflammation. Consume more foods which are naturally low in AGEs such as fruits and vegetables, seafood and whole grains cooked quick/wet and cool.
Dehydrating is an excellent alternative method to create the crispy crunchy texture enjoyed by many and is much healthier.
TIME TO MAKE A CHANGE
It's never too late to make changes to your diet. Eliminating these toxins can significantly improve your health, help you lose weight and even make you look younger. Cutiing out processed and carcinogenic foods from your diet could quite simply save your life and significantly reduce your chance of developing deadly 'lifestyle' diseases.
Scientists and doctors are agreeing that chronic inflammation plays a key role in almost all diseases common to a Western lifestyle and diet. However, simple changes to your approach to cooking could halt these diseases in their tracks.
Adopting healthier cooking methods can quickly impact your long term well-being, and it doesn't have to be difficult. After reading this article,it should make us think even more carefully about what we put into our body. Next morning, instead of frying eggs, why don't you try poaching them and see how delicious eggs can be!!!!
Functional Medicine is often referred to as a third type of medicine, in that it incorporates comprehensive aspects of traditional and natural medicine in a unique manner for each person. The manifestation of health and disease is an individual expression of genetics, physiology, environment and emotions. Investigating the interconnected causes of illness versus just treating the symptoms distinguishes Functional Medicine.
For example, let's say three people have headaches--each could take a painkiller that might relieve the pain temporarily (relieve the symptoms), but would most likely not address the underlying cause?
* if person #1's headaches are caused by hormone imbalances
* person #2's are caused by food allergies or genetic issues
* and the #3's are caused from neck muscle tightness
Painkillers may relieve the pain temporarily, but will not address the root of the cause. This is where Functional Medicine shines.
* For person #1 we can investigate various types of hormone with blood work and saliva testing.
* Allergies and genetic variations can be investigated with blood and cheek swab analysis for person #2.
* and for person #3--muscle tightness would benefit from chiropractic, massage, and stress reduction.
Each of these scenarios has a unique underlying mechanism that would persist indefinitely if only painkillers were prescribed. With Functional Medicine, the symptom (pain) is relieved, and the cause of the pain is addressed and hopefully further deterioration prevented.
In a similar way discomfort such as heartburn may be due to 1) an infection; 2) food allergies; 3) structural problems with the esophagus or stomach. Heartburn medications such as Prilosec or Zantac can relieve the symptoms, but do nothing to kill the infection, address the food sensitivity, or fix a structural problem int the body. Again, based on a thorough history, each possibility can be investigated and tested if necessary.
Functional Medicine utilizes a greater volume of data to evaluate the unique biological, biochemical, and environmental influences that lead to disease.
Functional Medicine provides personalized, complete solutions instead of chasing symptoms or targeting only one part of the body. The saying "He who chases the site of the pain is lost..." is often referenced by Functional Medicine practitioners.
SO,WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE?
Functional Medicine sees you, the patient, as a whole person, with a unique history, a unique set of circumstances, and a unique set of genes that interact to create your health, or the experience of disease.
Functional Medicine does not apply a standard protocol to each problem. This is not "one-size-fits-all" medicine.
Through the unique partnership between you, the patient and the doctor, the Functional Medicine approach produces a comprehensive plan for maximizing health. Beyond just alleviating symptoms or slowing the progression of disease, Functional Medicine is integrative, science-based healthcare that focuses on addressing the underlying cause of illness, as well as the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases.
Functional Medicine practitioners spend a lot of time with their patients, listening to their histories and investigating the complex interactions among genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease.
Through this comprehensive evaluation, and development of a personalized wellness program, Functional Medicine practitioners help you to regain control over your health and make changes to support a lifetime of wellness.
CORE PRINCIPLES OF FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE--SEEING AND TREATING THE WHOLE PERSON
* Each person is unique, with unique healthcare needs.
* Health is more than simply the absence of disease.
* Balanced biochemistry is essential to proper functioning.
* Medicine must be personalized for the individual.
Functional Medicine is science-based and uses a variety of lab tests to help understand how your individual body systems function. To assess where your imbalances lie, we may utilize appropriate, comprehensive lab testing to assess:
* Genetic variations
* Metabolic functioning
* Nutrient deficiencies
* Digestive, absorptive, and microbiological imbalances
* Immune and inflammatory imbalances
* Oxidation problems
* Neurotransmitter and hormonal issues
* Detoxification and biotransformation problems
Using this detailed information, you and your doctor can create a customized wellness plan just for you.
The internet is like the Wild West when it comes to nutrition information: anything goes. Websites are rife with less-than-accurate nutrition facts, which only fuels food myths and adds to consumers' confusion about which picks are the healthiest. At best, you can hope there's a kernel of truth in what you're reading, but more often than not, there's no scientific basis for these myths. Below are seven of the most popular nutrition myths and the real deal on each.
MYTH 1: YOU NEED TO DETOX YOUR BODY WITH A JUICE CLEANSE.
Fact: From celebrities to personal trainers, there's no shortage of so-called experts advocating fasts or juice cleanses to detox. If you Google "detox," you'll get nearly 64 million results for diet programs and treatments that supposed to help "flush out your system," remove toxic substances from the body," "give your GI tract a rest," or "speed up your metabolism" and "enhance your overall health." But despite all the hype and popularity, there's little proof that fasting or following a deprivation diet for several days actually delivers on any of the above promises.
While an occasional short fast or a day of following a "juice diet" won't cause harm for most healthy people, it will likely leave you feeling cranky and hungry. If you really want to be and feel you best, eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, get adequate sleep, and don't drink more than one alcoholic beverage per day.
MYTH 2: DIET SODAS MAKE YOU GAIN WEIGHT.
Fact: While you may have read that diet beverages make you gain weight, a recent clinical trial found just the opposite. In the 12-week study, published in the journal Obesity, dieters who drank diet beverages lost 13 pounds on average--44 percent more than subjects drinking water only, who lost an average of nine pounds. Whats's more, the diet-soda drinkers reported feeling more satisfies. This study adds to a substantial body of research demonstrating that low-calorie sweeteners and the diet beverages that contain them do not hinder but can in fact help with weight loss. Two peer-reviewed studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by researchers from the University of North Carolina in 2012 and 2013 randomly assigned subjects to drink either water or diet beverages (without making any other changes to their diet). After six months, the diet-beverage group had a greater likelihood of reaching a meaningful amount of weight loss--five percent of one's body weight--compared to the control group. These studies reinforce that if you're trying to lose weight, diet beverages may help you peel off pounds, as they can help you achieve and maintain a lower-calorie eating plan.
MYTH 3: SEA SALT HAS LESS SODIUM THAN TABLE SALT AND IS MINERAL-RICH.
Fact: Run-of-the-mill Morton table salt and gourmet Himalayan sea salt contain essentially the same amount of sodium per teaspoon--2,300 milligrams. As for minerals, neither contains enough of any mineral to make it a clear winner over the other. For instance, a teaspoon of table salt has just 1 mg calcium compared to 12 mg in sea salt. Since 12 mg is just one percent of your daily needs, it's not a very healthy way to get calcium into your diet.
Most people believe that sea salt tastes better and, in some cases, you may be able to use less of it (and therefore reduce your sodium intake), but it is by no means a lower-sodium and more mineral rich option. Keep in mind, sea salt lacks iodine--and not getting enough of this compound can lead to goiter, intellectual impairments, growth retardation, and much more. In fact, iodine deficiency is a serious health threat, especially among pregnant women, according to Boston University researchers, so don't use sea salt exclusively in your diet.
MYTH 4: CANOLA OIL IS MADE FROM RAPESEED PLANTS, WHICH ARE TOXIC.
Fact: Canola oil comes from the crushed seeds of canola plants--not rapeseed plants, which are, in fact, harmful. Rapeseed oil contains high levels of erucic acid, which is linked to heart disease and therefore is not allowed to be sold in the US. While the two plants are cousins, they're distinctly different in their composition. In the 1960's, farmers used breeding methods to help eliminate the erucic acid from canola plants, and canola oil is now regulated to contain negligible amounts of the compound, ensuring that canola oil is 100 percent safe. In fact, it also happens to be one of the healthiest oils (behind olive oil) because it has less saturated fat and more heart-protective omega-3's than other vegetable oils. Canola oil is just seven percent saturated fat compared to olive oil, which is 15 percent saturated fat.
MYTH 5: MUSCLE CAN TURN TO FAT (...AND VICE VERSA).
Fact: You'll often hear someone at the gym say something like, "Since my injury, my muscles have turned to mush." But this isn't the case because muscle and fat tissues are entirely different, and therefore they can never transform from one to the other,. It's the equivalent of saying you can turn water into wine or lead into gold.
What really happens when you stop exercising is that your muscle mass declines. And how you gain fat tissue is when you eat more calories than you burn off, which is much easier to do when you're not exercising. And likewise, when you up your exercise routine, you'll add lean tissue and might start burning excess body fat, but your fat didn't turn into muscle.
MYTH 6: IT TAKES 21 DAYS TO BREAK A BAD HABIT (OR FORM A NEW ONE).
Popular self-help gurus and many diet plans claim that it will take 21 days to form a new healthy habit--or break a bad one. The truth is, there is no magical time frame for breaking bad habits. One study that evaluated behavior change found that creating a new habit, like eating a piece of fruit daily, took and average of 66 days. However, there were wide variations--anywhere from 18 days to 254 days. The authors found the adaptation time was a function of how hard the new behavior is as well as the individual. If you're trying something new, like daily exercise, give yourself time to make it a routine. It may not happen overnight--or even in 21 days!
MYTH 7: SOME FOODS, LIKE CELERY, HAVE NEGATIVE CALORIES.
Fact: When something sounds too good to be true, well, it probably is. Take "negative-calorie foods" as an example. The notion is that digesting certain foods burns more calories than those foods provide. The faulty logic of this urban legend is based on the scientifically proven thermic effect of food (TEF), which simply means the amount of energy the body uses to digest a food. The thinking goes, if you were to eat a very low-calorie food--common examples include celery, apples, and limes--then you'd actually create a calorie deficit. In other words, these foods would end up costing less-than-zero calories.
Sadly, there are no negative-calorie foods. The TEF generally ranges from 10 percent to 20 percent of the calories in a food. So let's say a celery stalk has seven calories. Even if you assume a 20 percent TEF, that means you're still left with about five and a half calories.
Everyone always tells you what not to eat, but that's just no fun. Here are some formerly forbidden foods that aren't the devil incarnate and won't mess with your healthy eating efforts, according to Samantha Heller, registered dietitian at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.
1. White Potatoes: Fries and loaded baked potatoes full of bacon, cheese, and sour cream give potatoes a bad rep, but they might as well be the new kale, Heller says. Potatoes are a good source of vitamins C and B6, and fiber (if you don't peel them). Put salsa, olive oil, or roasted garlic on your baked potato to keep it in the healthy zone, and roast potato wedges to get your French fry fix. (Obviously they're not the same as fast food ones, but the healthy swap will do if you're serious about eating healthy.)
2. Peanut Butter: Yes, everyone's favorite spread contains about 200 calories per two-tablespoon serving. (And no, it's not easy to step away from the jar once the lid comes off.) But peanut butter is full of healthy fats that help your body absorb essential vitamins from other foods you eat, so it's totally worth every calorie, just as long as you pick the right variety. Avoid reduced-fat spreads, which squeeze out the good fats and add sugar, salt, and other fillers to restore the flavor and creamy texture. Instead, opt for natural peanut, almond, or cashew butter made from nothing but the nuts.
3. Butter: In small amounts, butter isn't that bad for you--at least compared to margarine, which contains about the same number of calories plus five times as much trans fat, which raises bad cholesterol levels and lowers good cholesterol. Butter has more saturated fat than margarine, but recent research casts doubt on the whole saturated-fat-causes-heart-disease thing. This doesn't mean you should eat it by the stick, but don't beat yourself up if an otherwise healthy recipe calls for a bit of butter, or if you can't resist the pad that comes with the restaurant breadbasket. For the record though; dipping bread in olive oil is always your best bet in such a situation. And now that big brands are removing trans fat from their products, vegetable oil spreads are a close second to keep on hand at home.
4. Sugar: People associate sugar with foods with lots of calories and little nutritional value, like cake and candy. However, when you eat sugar, your body turns it into glucose, an important source of fuel for every cell in your body, from your brain to the muscles that take you the distance at the gym. Whole foods like fruit contain natural sugars, but if your diet is pretty healthy overall, it's fine to add some honey to your tea or sugar to your coffee, Heller says. Just watch your portions and save desserts made with tons of sugar for special occasions if you want to avoid weight gain.
5. Hot Chocolate: Cocoa is packed with healthy compounds called polyphenols that fend off disease. You can't say the same for processed milk chocolates and syrups though, which lose lots of the good stuff by the time they make it to your mouth. To indulge in hot chocolate the healthy way, heat up a cup of unsweetened soy or regular low-fat milk, and stir in about two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder plus a teeny drop of vanilla extract and sugar or honey to taste.
6. Pizza: Eating a little pizza now and then isn't going to kill you, which is a good thing because it brings most people a remarkable amount of ``PLEASURE``. To keep the calories in a reasonable range though, opt for thin crust, load on the veggies, and go easy on the cheese, and you've got a perfectly balanced meal. And try not to eat the entire pie.
7. Popcorn: OK, OK, so the stuff they serve at movie theaters is bad news. (It basically gets a salty butter bath before it's served, which means it's unnecessarily high in fat and calories). But straight-up air-popped and light microwave varieties are just fluffy whole-grains full of filling fiber and a satisfying crunch that has as few as 31 calories in one whole cup.
8. Sports Drinks: Sports drinks are often grouped with sugary juices and sodas because they contain calories that you can't chew. While you shouldn't throw back a gallon of Gatorade while you watch TV, sports drink calories do serve a purpose when you work out hard: They deliver carbs for quick energy and replenish the fluids and electrolytes that you sweat out. Think of sports drinks that contain calories as a post-workout snack and indulge when you sweat through endurance activities like a long-ass indoor cycling class or a super-long treadmill run.
9. Carbs: As long as you focus on whole grains, like those found in whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, and quinoa, carbs can be a healthy part of any diet. (You're welcome). Despite their bad rep, whole grain carbs contain fiber and nutrients that keep your digestive system on track, which boosts your immunity, fends off bloating, and even reduces your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Heller says.