Cooked Food Toxins

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Reducing Exposure to Heat Induced Carcinogens

Cooked Food Toxins is the unambiguous, accurate label given to the chemicals formed when foods are exposed to high heat. The five categories of cooked food toxins are unmistakably dangerous and should be avoided if not eliminated from your diet. After each toxin you will find easy ways to avoid or lessen your exposure.

Advanced Glycation End Products (AGE’s)
Internal AGE’s are formed when excess glucose molecules adhere themselves to the protein strands wrapped around fats in the bloodstream. This may not sound devastating, but these protein strands enable the fat cells to move easily through the watery blood stream. When glucose attaches to these strands they reach out to yet another protein, adhering the two together. When this happens between multiple fats in the blood stream LDL cholesterol rises. When clumps of fats stick to capillary walls arteriosclerosis begins. When the proteins of the skin are glued together in this way, wrinkles form. AGEs can be kept low in the body by keeping glucose levels at a healthy low so these reactive molecules don’t have the chance to wreak havoc on the body.

According to the leading researcher on AGE’s, Professor Helen Vlassara, M.D. of Mount Sanai Medical School, the most significant sources of AGE’s are from the food we ingest and cigarette smoking. AGE’s are formed in foods by exposure to heat and formation increases exponentially based increasing temperature and length of exposure to heat. The biggest culprits are animal fats cooked at high temperatures, but even plant foods can contain AGEs if they are cooked to the point of browning or crisping.

Lower your exposure to AGEs:

  • Avoid foods cooked at high temps; frying, grilling, and baking at high temps.
  • Choose cooking methods such as steaming, boiling, or baking under 250?F.
  • Refrain from eating foods that are cooked to a crisp, charred, or blackened.
  • Eat more plant based, raw foods (uncooked they contain negligible if any AGEs)

Acrylamide
A team of researchers in Sweden studying exposure to acrylamide (an industrial chemical) in the workplace, discovered that acrylamide is present in the bloodstream of those who eat certain cooked foods. Their findings revealed that acrylamide is formed whenever foods that contain the amino acid asparagine and any reactive carbohydrate are heated above 248?F. Acrylamide causes DNA damage, neurological and reproductive damage, and is a probable carcinogen. It is worth mentioning that the EPA deems the maximum safe level of acrylamide in a single liter of water to be 0.12 micrograms. A large serving of McDonalds French fries contain 82 micrograms, more than 683 times the acceptable level. This is due to the high content of asparagine in potatoes.

Lower your exposure to Acrylamide:

  • Eliminate acrylamide creation in foods, especially potatoes, by cooking foods at temperatures below 248?F.
  • Remember that water boils, or turns to steam, at 212?F which makes steaming or boiling the preferred cooking method for potatoes (and any asparagine-containing foods such as asparagus, wheat, sweet potatoes, etc).
  • The smoke point for ALL cooking oils is much higher than 248?F, which means that eliminating ALL fried foods that contain asparagine is advisable.
  • Avoiding potato chips, French fries, as well as breads and cereals that are cooked above 248?F will significantly lower your acrylamide exposure.
  • Foods on the raw foods diet contain no acrylamide.

Heterocyclic Amines
This cooked food toxin is formed when creatine and amino acids are cooked at temperatures above 302?F. If you know anything about muscles and muscle building, you probably know that both creatine and amino acids are found in muscle tissue. That means that whenever you consume muscle meats from animals, (and what cut of meat isn’t a muscle?) you are being exposed to this mutagenic and carcinogenic toxin. Plant sources occur at much lower levels and only when food is browned or charred.

Lower your exposure to Heterocyclic Amines:

  • Eliminate exposure by removing muscle meats from your diet and not cooking foods above 302?F.
  • Lower your exposure by cooking meats at low temperatures, for example a beef stew cooked in crock pot at low temps instead of a steak cooked well done on a grill.
  • Increase the amount of raw foods because raw fruits and vegetables do not contain any heterocyclic amines AND they have the added benefit of containing cancer fighting antioxidants, and fiber to help your body move foods, such as muscle meats, through the digestive tract more quickly and efficiently.

Nitrosamines
These known carcinogens are an accepted evil in processed foods, especially in meats like hot dogs, sausages, bacon and sandwich meats. Nitrosamines are formed when the preservatives nitrites or nitrates combine with amino acids and are exposed to high heat such as grilling or frying or to the acid in the stomach. The formation is known, but accepted because the nitrites and nitrates prevent botulism, a highly deadly bacteria to humans. Nitrates and nitrites are also found in processed cheese products, pickling salts, no-fat powdered milk, beer, and livestock feed.

Lower your exposure to Nitrosamines:

  • Eliminate nitrate and nitrate containing foods from your diet, including animal meats that are not exclusively grass fed.
  • If you choose to eat nitrosamine forming foods, do so with foods that are high in vitamin C and or Vitamin E which can offset damage and possibly block formation of these toxins in stomach acid.
  • Eat a high raw diet with more raw foods, living produce, nuts and seeds.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
Called PAHs for short, these toxins occur naturally from volcanoes or fires and from man-made sources such as automobile exhaust, trash burning, cigarette smoke, fumes from cooking fires or cooking oil. We may not be able to control exposure to these carcinogens from natural sources, but we can control our exposure by reducing or eliminating the consumption of grilled or charred meats and exposure to cooking fumes.

Lower your exposure to PAHs:

  • Refrain from eating meats that are grilled, blackened or charred.
  • Avoid areas of high exposure to exhaust, smoke, coal, or fresh tar or asphalt.
  • Do not exercise in or near any of the conditions above.
  • You guessed it, eat more raw foods! Fresh fruits and vegetables are a better choice and help offset the damage PAHs can cause.

In summary…
You can avoid or eliminate exposure to ALL five major cooked food toxins by switching to a raw foods diet or a high raw diet. You can decrease your exposure and increase your body’s ability to remove toxins you are exposed to more efficiently by incorporating more fresh, organic fruits and vegetables into your diet. You can also decrease exposure by choosing steaming, boiling, stewing or baking at low temperatures over frying, grilling, and baking at high temps. Decrease your exposure to carcinogenic toxins while increasing your energy and loosing weight by incorporating more raw food recipes.

If you think a raw food detox diet might be for you

…Take a tour of Rocking Body Raw Food. This 14 day course is guided by your raw food video chef, Joy Houston and includes hundreds of video tutorials, menu plan, shopping lists, and recipes as well as comprehensive training videos and education on the science behind raw food nutrition.  If you are ready for a weight loss detox diet that works, tastes great, and involves eating delicious foods and no starvation, this may be the program for you.  What will you do in your new Rocking Body

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  • Well, we all need to eat some cooked foods in our diets b/c they are more digestible , more pleasant to consume, present vitamins and minerals in more absorbable form than straight raw foods. After all, who wants to eat raw salads three times a day??

  • Joy

    Whether we NEED to eat cooked foods is debatable. Knowing which cooked foods create toxins empowers us to now when to combine them with fresh (uncooked) foods that offer antioxidants and phytonutirents that help our body process these toxins quickly and efficiently. A great example would be to enjoy a steak that is not charred and have it over a bed of fresh greens with colorful vegetables. That would be a much healthier choice than eating a blackened burger with deep fried potatoes and flour-filled bun. With the right information, we can have our cake (or in this example steak) and eat it too!

  • My book (The Live Food Factor) has 66 studies showing the superiority of a raw food diet….many of the studies show how cooked food is toxic. Just going raw can assist the body in healing itself of nearly any disease.

  • Joy

    Susan,
    I’m of the same belief Susan. I understand that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to eating, so I respect other views. That said, the healing I experienced early in my raw transition and now see daily as a raw food nutritionist and personal chef is nothing short of mind boggling. I have not had the pleasure of reading your book as of yet. But I will put that at the top of my list AND be sure to share it with our readers her at the Delicious Revolution and at Rocking Body Raw Food (a site specifically dedicated to walking people through a 2 week raw food experience).

    Thank you for your comments and I invite you to share more of your expertise with us. We can all use it. Raw foods are a integral part of all healthy diets.
    Joy

  • Hello your site seems to be wonderful .I agree you are making your intensive knowledge.I would love to explore more of your website

  • Hi, Thank you for taking the time to write this post. i enjoyed reading through it. great post, thankyou .

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