Friday, August 28, 2009

Thought provoking

I had seen somewhere on the web about the book: Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham, but not thought much about it one way or another. On the way home today from a company picnic WBUR had the author on (I think) Science Friday and it was quite interesting.

The idea is that cooking food makes it easier to digest and allows our body to extract more useful energy out of a given amount of food. This leads humans to having a smaller digestive system and thus more body mass available for a larger brain & so forth.

All of this got me thinking about eggs. In popular culture we have tough guys showing how committed--to whatever quest they are on--by drinking a glass full of raw eggs. Setting aside the risk of salmonella poisoning, raw eggs actually remove an essential nutrient from your body. Egg is, or I should say would be a really great place for bacteria to grow but birds have found a way to prevent this. There is a protein called Avidin in egg whites which binds very strongly to Biotin (which is one of the B vitamins. The complete absence of Biotin makes eggs a lot less attractive to bacteria. When you cook eggs, the proteins become denatured and loose their ability to bind Biotin.

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