Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Does Steaming Food Add Years to Your Life?

tidbits that tantalizeGeorge? - For ME??!

Yeah, sure - you're a bit nervous. Who wouldn't be? George is a huge guy and, despite that warm smile and winning presence, you're pretty sure he'd love to just stomp you into the ground. After all, it was your report that lead to the second quarter sales decline, the third quarter mass street protests and the fourth quarter call for George's addition to the FBI's most wanted list.

But, really - you were just doing your job. As a certified, registered, licensed, tenured molecular food biologist, well - you simply have standards to uphold and reports to issue. Little did you know your email would be leaked to the press, setting in motion the disastrous series of events. Had you any inkling, you may been more circumspect in sharing your findings:

"Tom - Just wrapped up work on the George Foreman grill analysis and, wow! It's true! The grill definitely loads up foods with AGEs - sure, they taste great, but ole George is in for the fight of his life. Man, I wish I could deliver the news to him myself. I'd give the scrawny little pipsqueak a piece of my mind all right. I'd look him in square in the eyes and let it rip. Yeah, he looks great on TV, but he'd be nothing more than a blubbering mass of whimpers when I got through with him..."

So, the email was leaked to the press, George's company hit the skids and - for some absolutely bizarre reason - he blames you. Now, he's waiting for you in the lobby. Well, steady on. You adjust your pocket protector, make sure your clip-on tie is secure and head for the door...

Scientists at Mount Sinai School of Medicine report that toxic substances generated by grilling food are a major health hazard. The toxins, Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs), are produced when animal products are grilled, fried or broiled. Sorry, George. The AGEs have been linked to multiple diseases, including inflammatory illnesses, diabetes, vascular disease and Alzheimer's.

The toxins are also produced when food is sterilized and pasteurized.

Significantly, the researchers found it was not the food itself, but the method of preparation that produced the unwanted AGEs. So, while you may have a hankering for a huge hunk of beef, you may need to consider an alternative to the backyard grill. Ah, but there's the rub. The same grilling process that produces the harmful AGEs also unleashes a cavalcade of wondrous, wafting aromas and sensational tastes that make food - wonderful...

However, all tasty considerations aside, the scientists believe the AGEs not only contribute to multiple diseases, they may also shorten life expectancy. A steady diet of AGE rich foods causes a buildup of the toxins in the blood. As we age, we become less capable of eliminating the AGEs from our body, become more prone to developing chronic illnesses and may experience a shorter lifespan.

The scientists recommend steaming, boiling and stewing foods as a healthy alternative. They note the same foods may be consumed, without reducing fat or caloric intake, and healthier results may be achieved by using alternate cooking methods. There is no word on the progress of developing a boiling method that wafts grill-style aromas into the air.

...As the elevator doors slide open, you put your plan into motion. You walk on your tiptoes, extending your height to an impressive 5'9" - you spread your arms wide, curl your hands into fists and snarl. You want George to know you're coming at him in a raging fit of fury - all 129 pounds of you...

To read more about the study, see this from ScienceDaily. For tips on healthy cooking techniques, see this from Dr. Andrew Weil.


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