The number of calories that food provides appears to be affected by the way it's prepared. In a Harvard study, mice who were fed cooked food gained more weight than those who were fed the same food, only raw. Some mice also were fed food that had been pounded, but not cooked, and they gained more weight than the ones that ate raw food but less than those that ate cooked food. This effect happened with both meat and starchy foods, such as potatoes. Cooking makes it easier for the body to digest foods, so fewer calories are burned in the process.
More facts about calories and food preparation:
- Drinking alcohol doesn't affect the calories in food, but can affect the way they are digested, absorbed and even excreted. This is one of the reasons why long-term alcohol abusers often have nutritional deficiencies.
- Although it might seem like raw vegetables are healthier than frozen vegetables, this is not always true. The way the vegetables are stored and prepared can sometimes have a greater effect on their calories and nutrition than whether they are frozen.
- Some scientists think that the extra calories from cooked food might have given ancient humans the boost they needed to develop complex brains.