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Digestion of enzymes and cooking

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  • Digestion of enzymes and cooking

    Here is the question that I am putting out there for debate. I have an opinion on it but I would love to hear what others think.

    Do intact enzymes, in raw and lightly cooked food, have an additional benefit to the human body?


    My opinion is: No, they don't. My two reasons

    1. Digestion. Once enzymes hit the pH of the stomach they are likely denatured. Also, in order to be used, for muscle and other proteins, the body actually breaks dietary protein into the amino acid building blocks. A full size enzyme is never going to make it out of the digestive tract and into the body. (The digestive tract is actually outside the body)
    2. Immunity. Our body has sentinels looking for anything foreign. An intact enzyme that does not belong to the human proteome will be destroyed pretty quickly.

  • #2
    Anyone want to weigh in on the matter? I am actually curious to see if there is evidence for the enzyme talk.

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    • #3
      I agree with you.
      ;-)

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      • #4
        Supposedly a lot of people who are lactose-intolerant can digest raw milk just fine. Although it could also be the case that pasteurized milk is very difficult to digest for many who can produce lactase well enough. It could also be the case that the bacterial culture is far more important in digestion than the lactose.

        There is also evidence of people with digestive problems doing well with digestive enzyme supplements. But perhaps these supplements are different from those within food. And a lot of the time the supplements are coupled with probiotics and the enzymes could be taking the glory.

        /stumped
        Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

        Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!

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        • #5
          hmm well i am not lactose intolerant but i do not digest raw cheese without constipation and acne... would enzymes help ths?? or would cooking/eating it out of the fridge change how i digest it.... seems like a stretch
          Get on my Level
          http://malpaz.wordpress.com/

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          • #6
            I'm not sure, but some fruits (papaya and pineapple) seem to help me with digestion, and they will break down proteins before entering the digestive tract. Whether it's digestive enzymes or not, I'm not sure, but that seems to be what I remember reading.

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            • #7
              hmmm interesting about the milk/raw milk differences. I would bet that it's something to do with bacteria present. I am mildly lactose intolerant and I can eat most cheese and yogurt without any problems at all.

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              • #8
                I forgot about those fruit. I have heard that they are supposed to help with digestion. I know that papaya contains papain which is a proteolytic enzyme and I'm pretty sure that pineapple contains something similar.

                They both make great additions to marinades for that reason.
                Last edited by lcme; 04-02-2010, 07:14 PM.

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                • #9
                  I used to be a raw foodist and I digest cooked veggies better than raw ones (because cooking breaks down cellulose). In Traditional Chinese Medicine (which has over a 3000 year-old history), it is believed that if you already have weak digestion, raw foods are more difficult to digest and can weaken digestion further.
                  http://www.prettyinprimal.blogspot.com

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                  • #10
                    I don't know nuffin' 'bout no science, but if you put pineapple to close to meat on a kabob and wait too long to cook and/or eat it it gets that mushy digested kinda consistency that you'd get with an enzymatic tenderizer.

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                    • #11
                      Patty, you certainly have the inquisitive mind of a scientist though.

                      P.S. Prior to your new profile picture I definitely thought that you were a Patricia, now I'm leaning towards a Patrick. That is, assuming that your username has anything to do with your actual name. Haha.

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                      • #12
                        I was just talking about this over at the barefoot group board. I'm from NY where there's enough Irish that Patty is almost certainly male.

                        It is Patrick, but only my wife and mother call me that. And mom only does it when I've been bad. You can call me Pat, Beef, ABP, or just about anything else. Different groups of friends know me by different names.

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                        • #13
                          I agree that exogenous enzymes have basically no effect on digestion unless you're allowing the food to rot (one method of pre-digestion) before eating it. The one exception would be papain and bromelain from papaya and pineapple respectively. You can use the pulp or juice from those fruits in a marinade to tenderize meat. Enzymatic tenderizers tend to be isolated enzymes from papaya.
                          Give me liberty. Exploration of other options will be vigorously discouraged.

                          Wondering something sciencey? Ask me in my Ask a Biochemist Thread

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Allbeef Patty View Post
                            I don't know nuffin' 'bout no science, but if you put pineapple to close to meat on a kabob and wait too long to cook and/or eat it it gets that mushy digested kinda consistency that you'd get with an enzymatic tenderizer.
                            Accounted for by acid?

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                            • #15
                              Actually, acid doesn't really tenderize anything but the outermost layer of meat. What it does do is help more fluid to get into the meat so it's juicier.
                              Give me liberty. Exploration of other options will be vigorously discouraged.

                              Wondering something sciencey? Ask me in my Ask a Biochemist Thread

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