One of the most controversial issues today is health and wellness. There is a slew of contradictory information being circulated and it is difficult for the uninitiated to make sense of them – especially why many of them come from respectable sources yet they conflict with each other. I am offering one explanation.
In our “eagerness” to be the first to post information, there are often minor details that are left out. These details, minor though they be, are vital to the accuracy of the information.
A case in point is the age-old issue of eggs as one of the sources of dietary cholesterol. They say that eating eggs will bring up the serum cholesterol to dangerous levels, yet I personally know of a few who eat more than an egg a day and yet have normal serum cholesterol. Is it because of their metabolism, their DNA, their lifestyle, what?
Another case is the recent argument that too much meat is bad and may even be a cause of bladder or colon cancer. However, the traditional diet of the Inuit (Eskimos) has not only been an all-meat diet but at least of their diet is blubber or pure fat. Yet, the traditional Inuit is in good health.
Research from the world renowned experts and prestigious institutions appear to clash with what I am seeing.
Perhaps it is because there is one small detail that was left out. In both cases, the small detail was that the egg and the meat (or fat) was eaten raw. When we cook the egg and eat it, our serum cholesterol goes up. So is the same with meat or with fat. However, when the egg (of course, assuming it is fresh) is eaten raw, the serum cholesterol normalizes. As for the Inuit diet, it is obvious that the traditional method of eating meat and fat was raw (unless they can find kindling in all that snow).
They say that coconut oil is saturated fat and that saturated fat is unhealthy. But, in the Philippines, specifically in the Bicol region, the traditional diet is heavy on coconut and coconut oil and yet the Bicol region is one of the most vote-rich regions. By all arguments, the Bicolanos should be sickly and unhealthy people. It seems that there is a contradiction again.
And yet most people would agree that mother’s milk is the best for babies. But, mother’s milk is full of saturated fat, almost identical to that of coconut oil!
So, which is true now?
And then many say that commercial milk (which may also contain saturated fat, unless low-fat or skimmed) are not all that healthy. What is the difference?
Again, the difference is that mother’s milk and (the healthy way of producing) coconut oil are both unprocessed.
So, what pattern is beginning to emerge? That cooking is hazardous to your health.
But, many will argue that our ancestors have been cooking their food long before we did and yet they are (relatively) healthy – i.e., they may have diseases but not lifestyle diseases.
The “secret” here is the cooking method. In the older times, much of the cooked food is done with wet cooking. Dry cooking, with some exceptions, are usually rare. It is only recent history that dry cooking became the “norm”.
What is wet cooking and what is dry cooking? I will leave this for you to find out – do some work on your own.
But, what is the difference? The cooking temperature. In wet cooking, the maximum temperature is around 100 degrees C, whereas in dry cooking, the minimum temperature is way above 200 degree C. (120 degrees C appears to be the critical threshold.) So, in BBQs, the cancer-causing reason is not the blackened carbonized portions but the superheated oil (that drips to the embers and is returned as fumes) that is absorbed into the meat. Carbon itself is a very good anti-toxin and is not the cause of the cancer that everyone is so afraid of.
Finally, our ancestors may have cooked their food but it was not done with oil but with water. Water cannot be heated far above 100 degrees C because, otherwise it turns to steam. Oil, in those days, was used in lighting and in heating, but seldom in cooking. Today, it is all frying, roasting, baking, grilling, broiling, etc. (BTW, cooking does not always involve heat, as in the case of “cooking” with vinegar – pickling and “kinilaw”.)