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January 6, 1940


JAMA. 1940;114(1):42. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810010044011

The custom of cooking food is as old as the knowledge of fire. Doubtless heat was first applied in the preparation of food to improve the flavor and for hygienic reasons, but it is commonly believed also that cooking facilitates digestion. Although favorable therapeutic effects have been claimed when an uncooked dietary regimen is followed for short periods, an exclusively raw diet is recognized as unsuited for human use. The detailed study of the influence of controlled heating on the nutritive value of foodstuffs has been undertaken comparatively recently. The proteins in whole wheat, bread and prepared cereal foods were early shown to undergo changes, when toasted, that resulted in a decrease in biologic value. The nutritive value of the crust of bread was shown to be less than that of the crumb as far as protein was concerned.1 Later the changes in meat protein were examined from the