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Can I Have My Steak Medium-rare?

Can I have my steak medium rare? 

A new study my help to reinforce the role of cooking meat on our health. My blog on the role of cooking and cancer risk demonstrated the link between cooking/charring meat and the risk of cancer. New humanised mice that were fed charred meat had a greater risk of bowel cancer. So don't eat BBQ meat, right? 

This new study has shown that when you cook meat you are able to obtain more energy from the food than when it is raw. Rachel Carmody, a Ph. D student conducted a study looking at how different cooking methods affected weight gain in mice. She used both meat and sweet potato in her study and used four different cooking methods. 

As humans we have adapted to cooking, we process our food and have done this for many years. Grinding grains, slicing meat, cooking, baking are all part of the way we eat. What Rachel found was cooking meat lead to greater energy gain compared to eating the food raw. 

For a little over a month Rachel and her team conducted experiments in mice using raw whole food, pounded raw food, cooked whole food and cooked pounded food. They tracked changes in the weight of the mice during the diet. What they found was that cooking the meat and sweet potato provided more energy compared with the raw food. 

The next question to ask is, should you have your food well done or rare? Looking at the big picture, my response to that question depends on what your health goals are. If you are overweight and want to lose weight, most certainly have you steak medium rare. This is an advantage from both a weight loss and cancer perspective. 

If you are trying to gain weight you should consider including more processed foods. In fact the increase in the availability of highly processed foods this millennium may in part explains the increase in obesity. If you really can't stomach a bloody steak , my advice is to cook the steak it a little longer and have a smaller piece.

Harvard University. (2011, November 8). "Cooking May Have Driven Human Evolution." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
29 Feb 2012

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