When you’re cooking meat throughout the week, do you have a go-to method? Maybe you love grilling a juicy cut of steak or roasting meatloaf in your oven. But depending on which one you choose, you could be inadvertently creating problems for your digestive system.
Researchers in India and New Zealand recently conducted a study published in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, where they took a look at how popular meat cooking methods affected people’s gut health. They investigated nine common methods: Grilling, microwaving, boiling, frying, stewing, roasting, sous-vide, and steam cooking. After looking at different studies focusing on samples of meats, fish, and seafood prepared using these methods, scientists discovered a few key things.
Sous-vide, which is a process of cooking meat in a vacuum-sealed bag within a temperature-controlled water bath, turned out to be the best method. Researchers say that the slow heating process actually makes muscle proteins easier to digest and allows people to get the most nutritional value out of that meat. A method like steaming is also generally healthier because of this slow-cook method at gradually higher temperatures. On the flip side, roasting and stewing, two incredibly popular cooking methods, were rated the worst techniques in terms of their effect on the digestive system. They actually cause an uptick in gas and bloating, increase the amount of stomach acid needed to digest food, and make it harder for the body to fully digest muscle proteins and extract the maximum nutritional benefit from your food.
That said, there are some limitations to the research. Scientists generally looked at a number of different kinds of animal products, including seafood and fish, but there might be some variation in results when it comes to how particular cooking methods affect specific meats. They’re also not entirely sure of the molecular changes occurring that change meat while it’s cooking and say more work has to be done.
Regardless, their findings are definitely important to keep in mind, especially if meat is a significant portion of your diet and if you also deal with gastrointestinal problems.