Last Updated on May 2, 2022 by Share My Kitchen
As we mentioned in our best electric pressure cooker review, the quick cooking time and meal preparation benefits may seem too good to be true! There are many myths and speculations, including the claim that pressure cooking can cause cancer, expose people to chemicals, and reduce the nutritional value of food.
Why Do People Think That Cooking Instant Pot Kill Nutrients
This speculation is likely due to the traditional slow cooking times of certain foods like pot roasts. However, pressure cookers such as the well-known Instant Pot can make pot roast in a fraction of the time it takes to wash a load of laundry.
The only truth about it, however, is that the science isn’t conclusive. Since the 1940s, scientists have been studying the effects of pressure cookers on food. Research has shown that this method is both the best and the worst for meal preparation.
How Does Instant Pot Work?
The Instant Pot is an independent pressure cooker. It combines heat and steam in order to create a highly pressurized environment to quickly cook food. Instant Pot is relatively new, but pressure cooking has been around as long as the 1600s.
The sealing ring in the Instant Pot creates an airtight atmosphere for heat and pressure to build up safely. It is relatively easy to use an Instant Pot since it is an all-in-one appliance. It is able to cook multiple, and often every, part of a meal at once.
Do Instant Pots Use High Heat?
High-heat cooking is linked to loss of vitamins, and meats cooked over high heat are associated with particular carcinogens.
People assume Instant Pot uses high heat since this cooks food quickly. But, you may be surprised to find that oven baking or grilling require higher heat than Instant Pots or any other pressure cooker.
For instance, you need to bake the chicken breasts at 350°F for 25 minutes. Then, you need to grill chicken breasts at 500°F for 5 to 7 minutes per side. While the Instant Pot only operates at approximately 240°F. Other pressure cookers work also at the same temperature, give or take a few degrees.
So, how is it possible for Instant Pots to cook food at such low temperatures so quickly?
Pressure cookers are just simply more efficient. This is because they raise the boiling point of water, and doesn’t allow steam escape, thus creating a faster cooking environment.
Does pressure cooking destroy nutrients?
All cooking methods can reduce the nutritional value of food to a certain extent, but science provides arguments in favor and against pressure cooking.
No, it doesn’t
The Instant Pots’ fast cooking might be cause for concern. However, the majority of scientific evidence shows that it is not.
One 1995 study found that pressure cooking was superior to other methods of cooking because it retained more nutrients than others. Numerous later studies also followed this trend:
- A study published in the Journal of Food Science found that pressure-cooking broccoli retained 90% of its vitamin C, as opposed to 78% preservation from steaming, and 66% preservation from boiling.
- Researchers discovered that steaming and boiling decreased the antioxidant activity in legumes. Meanwhile, pressure boiling and steaming improved their antioxidant activity.
- Pressure-cooked food seems to be easier to digest than microwave-cooked meals. This could indicate that your body can absorb more nutrients from the food.
A number of studies also suggest that pressure cooking can destroy antinutrients. These are compounds that hinder the body’s ability to absorb and use nutrients. In comparison to boiling, pressure cooking eliminates more antinutrients.
Many nutritionists also recommend the Instant Pot. Dr. Andrew Weil is a nutritionist who created the original anti-inflammatory diet. He believes that pressure cookers can be used safely and are the best way to preserve nutrients.
Pressure cooking seems to be better than other methods of cooking according to the general consensus. This is because the water doesn’t distill nutrients like in other cooking methods. Less cooking time equates to less time for nutrients to escape, and lower temperatures mean that there are fewer changes in the nutritional structure of food.
Or maybe it does?
Although some studies have shown that pressure cooking can destroy nutrients, there are far fewer evidence to support it.
- One study found that pressure-cooked foods lost more antioxidant activity than food made using other cooking methods, such as baking and microwaving.
- Pressure cooking seems to eliminate some amino acids in vegetables, but this is also the case with other cooking methods.
No matter how you cook your food, heat and water will invariably destroy certain nutrients. For instance, some heat-sensitive nutrients like vitamin C don’t maintain their integrity when heated. However, home-cooked food will always be better than fast food or packaged, processed foods, regardless of how it is prepared.
Is pressure cooking safe?
Science has so far affirmed this conclusion.
Although some research suggests that pressure cooking may not be the best way to preserve nutrients, there is no evidence to suggest that pressure cookers of any brand or model pose a health risk.
So, you don’t have to worry if you love your Instant Pot. You can still safely use it. Just remember these Instant Pot safety tips to ensure that you have the best cooking experience.
This article is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is not meant to be a diagnosis or treatment. For any questions regarding a medical condition, or to achieve your health goals, consult a qualified physician.