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Can Cooking Foods At High Temperatures Increase Belly Fat And Inflammation?

Since most of the topics discussed on this blog have to do with health and fitness for middle age adults, we get into the subject of inflammation quite frequently.

There’s little doubt in my mind that inflammation is a direct precursor to declined health in general and the increased risk of chronic disease.

While a lot of the talk around reducing inflammation has to do with increasing your consumption of natural foods, the way you cook these foods may be important as well.

Research continues to give us clues that cooking foods at high temperatures may make it harder to control inflammation and reduce unwanted body fat.

More after the jump…

I recently came across a research study conducted at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine that linked dry heat cooking to belly fat and type II diabetes.

Granted this was an animal study, conducted on mice, it does provide us with some clues.

In the study, researchers found that when mice had continued exposure to methylglyoxal (MG), an advanced glycation end product (or AGE’s), they gained significantly more mid-body fat and developed type II diabetes.

Now before I lose you with these fancy suit words, just know that AGE’s are produced when food is cooked at high temperatures using dry heat, like roasting, baking, broiling, and grilling.

This doesn’t mean you have to throw the grill out just yet, but what it does mean is you’ll want to pay attention to the temperatures you use when cooking.

In general, you don’t want to be scorching your food and cooking at very high temperatures. The more you cook something, and the higher the heat, the more AGE’s are produced along with enzymes and nutrients being destroyed.

There seems to be a benefit with simply turning down the heat and allowing foods to cook longer if need be. There’s a fine line with this however, as obviously you want to make sure to cook meats long enough to kill bacteria and pathogens.

Basically if your food is black and charred you’ve pretty much wiped out the nutritional value and increased the oxidative by-products that result in carcinogens.

Here are some guidelines to help reduce inflammation and increased belly fat with how you cook your foods.

For starters, look to consume a large portion of your fruits and vegetables in their raw state.

Some cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, etc can cause digestive distress when consumed raw, and are therefore better off lightly steamed or juiced.

I’m a huge proponent of juicing and highly recommend this practice as a means of getting in raw vegetables. This is especially true for the greens which are high in antioxidants and micronutrients.

When you do cook your vegetables, lightly steam them or put them in a slow cooker like a crock pot.

And for heaven’s sake don’t nuke them in the microwave or boil them on the stove. Sure, I like veggies on the grill like a lot of us do, but just look to balance this out with raw and lightly cooked veggies as well.

When cooking your eggs for best practices look to use low temperatures.

Prepare them sunny side up or over-easy. Choose soft boiled over hard boiled. Scrambled eggs are one of the least desirable ways for preparation and should be done in moderation. You lose a lot of the enzymes and nutritional value when cooked this way.

If you can get farm raised, free range, eggs they can be consumed raw with little worry of salmonella. I wouldn’t try this with the grocery store, commercial varieties though.

When cooking your meat over the grill use lower temperatures and longer cook times.

You don’t have to consume your meat raw with the blood still coming out, but don’t go well done either. Prepare to your preference, but just know that while there’s a risk of under-cooking some meats, like pork for example, there’s also downside with overcooking due to the AGE’s.

Use acidic ingredients like lemon juice and vinegar when cooking.

These are great to incorporate into marinades. Some studies have shown that marinating meat with red wine vinegar for an hour before cooking can slash AGE’s by more than half.

Bottom line is go raw when you can and when you don’t look to use lower temperatures when cooking meats and veggies.

You’ll reduce inflammation and belly fat in the process.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios. He specializes in helping people achieve a body transformation with burst training exercise and whole food nutrition. You can receive a FREE no-obligations trial of his Charleston personal fitness programs and start experiencing the Shaping Concepts difference today.

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Category: Nutrition.