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Date of last update: 9/4/2017.

Forum Name: Nutrition & Diet

Question: Calcium in Pasturized milk, etc.

Jeff Richardson - Tue Feb 04, 2003 9:47 pm

I heard on the radio today that the calcium in store-bought milk is not usable to humans because the pasturization process changes the calcium somehow. I also heard that cooking vegetables at a temperature greater than 120 F likewise makes them far less nutritional to us. Are these two claims nonsense, or are they true? If true, why aren't we all dying? (my guess is that the above claims are false).
Dr. Tamer Fouad - Wed Feb 05, 2003 12:34 am

Dear Jeff,
Pasteurization slightly reduces the content of a few nutrients, but this reduction has no significance in people's overall diet. The claim that pasteurization reduces the availability of calcium is false.
As for cooking and boiling they may lead to denaturation of certain vitamins. For example:
Vitamins D, E, K are not stable on heating
Vitamins A, C, Thiamine are relatively stable and not denatured by cooking.

Cooking does have certain advantages: it improves digestability in certain types of food, and likewise increases palatability.
One of the main arguments of raw versus low-temperature cooking is that heating above 104F (40C) results in progressive enzyme damage; hence, even if you steam your vegetables, your food is "dead." However, such arguments are invalid, and that dietary enzymes have a very minor role in our health, if any.

So to conclude it would be best to eat raw whatever is palatable in that form and not to overcook anything.

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