7 Major Effect of Cooking on Food | Cooking of food involves heating food in a variety of ways to make it more palatable. There are several effect that occur during this processes.
This does not mean that our food should not be cooked.
But the following point has to be taken into consideration to avoid being over-heated.
The major effect of cooking food are:
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1. Changes in the structure and texture of food (coagulations):
When food like protein is heated e.g. eggs, it coagulates.
The process is gradual. When heat is applied on egg, it thickens, becomes opaque and then firm.
Overheating will harden the protein, making it tough, unpalatable and shrunken.
A lightly cooked egg, for instance, is easily digested, while hardboiled egg may not digest easily.
The characteristics coagulation is protein (egg) when heated makes it to be most acceptable in coating food, especially foods that can break easily in frying oil.
Moist heat causes starch grains to soften and swell. Tis process is called gelatinization.
When cooking food in a dry heated fire e.g. roasted yam, it causes starch grains to brown.
And the effect is called dextinization. Prolong heating causes it to burn.
Dry heating of food e.g. maize, causes sugar to caramelize.
Excessive heating will eventually turn all the food to carbon and finally to ash.
During the process of cooking any fatty foods, the heat from the fire will the fatty foods to melt.
Equally, water is driven off with continual frying.
Later, a faint blue haze appears. Further heating will result in smoking and burning.
The unpleasant smell of burning fat is caused by the presence of fatty acids.
When cooking food, some are soluble in water, while some are not soluble.
Example, vitamin A and D are insoluble in water.
Therefore, they are not lost by method of cooking.
Equally, vitamin B is soluble in water.
High temperature and pressure cooking destroys vitamin B.
Vitamin C also being water soluble, is lost or destroyed very easily in cooking.
It dissolves in cleaning and cooking.
Therefore, it should not be soaked in water e.g. cucumber, fresh tomatoes, okra, watermelon and other fruits and vegetables.
Vitamins can equally be lost through other ways like: airing, soaking, cutting, and heating.
Some minerals may be lost in the cooking liquid, example salt.
This applies to melting mineral salts. But calcium and iron which do not dissolve in liquid are not lost.
Iron may be gained by cooking food in an iron utensils.
Some cooking water may contain calcium and will therefore increase the calcium content of food they are used in.