Nutrition is not an exact science. When you Google “steak” you find that a steak has 679 calories, 48g of fat, and 68g of protein.
Does that mean your steak does? No. There are many variables. It’s an approximation.
It gets stranger when you think about the source of the food.
There is a big difference between grass-fed and finished steak and one that was fed corn in a feedlot.
The same is true with vegetables. Vegetables can only absorb what is available to it in the soil.
If your food is grown in an area where potassium has been depleted from the soil, the nutrition information isn’t accurate.
And then the most complicated confounder of all, does cooking change things besides the taste?
Some cooking methods obviously deplete food of its nutritional values. For instance, boiling something and throwing away the water is obviously depleting the boiled food of some nutritional value.
Sometimes cooking actually makes more nutrients available. For instance, men should eat their tomatoes cooked because the process brings out the lycopene in the tomatoes which seems to improve prostate health.
You very much need to boil beans to kill the high quantity of lectins in them. See this article in Freedom Health News about the dangers of undercooked kidney beans.
Last Christmas many people received the latest kitchen gadget called an Instant Pot. Basically, these are very high-tech pressure cookers.
These work by combining heat and steam to quickly cook food. Its sealing ring allows heat and pressure to build safely.
The pressure-cooking method has actually been around since the 1600s.
But what is surprisingly not tested very often is the actual changes to the nutritional value of food when it is cooked and does cooking at high temperatures create even more changes?
When enough experts say, “there is a reasonable degree of certainty” they are basically saying “there is no scientific proof, but we think this.”
So, when you start researching this, you run into a bunch of “experts” telling you in essence “we have not tested this” when they give you their opinion.
Some questions have been tested. After the movie “Rocky,” there was a fad of eating raw eggs in the blender.
Some scientists wanted to see if this was a better way to get the nutrients out of the egg.
It turns out after testing that your body can digest 180% more egg protein from cooked vs. raw eggs. (Sorry Rock.)
So, is the Instant Pot a danger to the nutrients in your food?
We can safely say there is no evidence that it is a danger.
We can also safely say there is no evidence there isn’t a danger. What this means is there are not any studies on this.
One of the obvious advantages to steaming and pressure cooking is that water soluble vitamins are not washed out of the food because very little water is present to carry these nutrients out as can happen with boiling.
In short, it is always wise to remember that all of our nutrition labels are approximations.
The cooking method can affect the nutritional values of the food, but some of these changes are good (remember undercooked beans are dangerous and potentially deadly and cooked tomatoes are great for prostate health).
The big thing is to cook your food in a way that you enjoy and is safe for you to eat.