Cooking increases the energy value of meat

Processing food extensively by thermal and nonthermal techniques is a unique and universal human practice. Food processing increases palatability and edibility and has been argued to increase energy gain. Although energy gain is a well-known effect from cooking starch-rich foods, the idea that cooking meat increases energy gain has never been tested. A novel study now shows that cooked meat provides more energy than raw meat, a finding that challenges the current food labeling system and suggests humans are evolutionarily adapted to take advantage of the benefits of cooking.

Project leader(s):
  • Richard Wrangham (Harvard)

Rachel N. Carmody, Gil S. Weintraub, and Richard W. Wrangham,  Energetic consequences of thermal and nonthermal food processing, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 7 Nov 2011