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Nutrient Differences between Raw and Cooked Foods

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  1. Sherrie Ashenbremer

    This is awesome information, thank you. I plan on coming back here and studying this. We need all the information we can get when it comes to feeding our pets.

  2. Paula

    This is great information for me and the dogs. Thank you so much for posting this.

  3. Duncan

    Geography matters too. If one has access to fresh, good meat like in the mid- and far-west, that’s one thing–but in this area of New England, the meat so doctored that I’d not feed it raw to someone I didn’t like (let alone to my pets). I suppose if I went up north and hunted, I’d have plenty of meat but (1) there is no storage room and (2) count me out. So I cook! Great information and very helpful for both.

  4. Robin Sherwin

    I cooked organic beef (Painted Hills) and local poultry for my dog. My vet did not believe that cooking would make a major difference and since she had cancer, she expressed concerns over the bacteria in raw food. She lived for 5 years after she was given 6 months to two years with a lymphoma diagnosis. That was long enough to develop two other cancers, mast cell and nerve sheath tumor. We finally put her down when she was about 17 (a stray) due to old age, arthritis and in the end weight loss and lack of appetite. I believe she as well as she did for so long due to her diet, drinking filtered water and lack of vaccines and no chemicals. I used a flea tag that seemed a bit mysterious, but she did not have fleas and we did not use chemicals. (You can Google flea tags). I still read these articles to pass on to my friends with pets and even my vets. Thanks Susan.

    1. Sherrie Ashenbremer

      Robin that is wonderful. It shows that a healthy raw diet is good. You have given me more reason to research and feed my dogs a better diet

  5. Laurie Raymond

    I teach home made pet food making classes at our community college, at my store and at customers’ homes, and we’re getting ready to launch an online version. There are a couple of places where cooked vs raw can be important: animal fat, and starch veggies. Dogs and cats digest raw fat much more easily than cooked! And starchy veggies – winter squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, other roots (though not beets) should be cooked for ease of digestion if fed in quantities exceeding 1/8 the total meal volume. I coach people to make a fruit and veggie fine-grind by trimming their produce when they bring it home, using outer leaves, stalks, stems and less desirable but still clean and fresh parts, and processing them finely in the food processor, adding apples,pears, blueberries, beets, carrots, watermelon, cranberries – whatever they have. I usually add a whole bunch of parsley, too. Once this is finely processed, put it into little tupperware containers and freeze immediately. Taste it – you’ll be amazed how good it is just raw! And dogs love it. I know several dogs who preferred their meat cooked at first, then happily accepted raw – and a few who went the other way. But meat with fat content of more than 5% is better raw, because cooked fat is really harder to digest.

  6. chris

    Either it’s a typo or the grass fed beef has more fat. One is listed in grams, the other in milligrams.

      1. chris

        That’s what I figured, not trying to be persnickety. Appreciate everything you do!

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          Oh no – I appreciate the heads up!

  7. Elizabeth Bell

    Thank you! Very good information. I feed my two cats grass feed beef liver and heart three times a week instead of their portions of canned cat food. Of course, one will only eat liver and the other only heart!

  8. barbara m.

    Thanks. Much to research here. The link to the USDA site seems complicated at first. It lists grass-fed beef, (but doesn’t mention if it is grazed on treated or untreated grass), which you can compare to the regular corn-fed factory-farm beef.
    A farmer told me that most grass-fed cows have to go onto a grain diet for “finishing” for a few months, because in most areas of the US and Canada the grass dies, so… it’s not a perfect world.
    Of course, in the olden days, farmers always dried their grains to feed their animals thru the cold months, but that’s only rarely done in these modern times.
    We feed local grass-fed beef heart to our cats… who love it.

  9. Marty

    On the raw and cooked chicken fat comparison: cooking can’t produce fat. It’s more likely that fat would be lost during cooking. But often water is lost during cooking so that the proportions of fat and protein appear to be increased. But also for the chicken comparison it also looks like there is more fat in the refuse from the raw chicken than from the roasted chicken. More fat might have been trimmed from the raw chicken before analysis than from the roasted chicken. That might be part of the reason for the higher fat value in the cooked chicken.
    For the comparison of grass-fed beef fat, it looks like the non-grass-fed is not raw but cooked. It seems like a difficult comparison to make because of different amounts of fat trimming and different cuts and sources. 23607 has only 5.15 g fat.

    1. Marty

      (Trying to be more clear: Suppose you have a bunch of chicken and you cook part of it and then compare 100 g of the part you cooked to 100 g of the part you left raw. Probably some water would be lost in cooking. That means that if you measured 100g of cooked chicken it would have been more like 110 grams when it was raw. So there would have been more fat and more protein in the cooked chicken to start with. After it was cooked the total weight would go down to 100 g because of water loss but the starting higher amount of protein and fat (assuming no fat was lost in cooking) would still be there. OTOH if you took 100g of raw chicken and cooked it the weight might go down to 90g because of water loss but the amount of protein and fat (assuming no loss in the pan) would stay the same. You wouldn’t gain fat just by cooking. But as you said, the same weight of already-cooked chicken could have more fat than raw, not because cooking increased fat but because it started out as more than 100g of raw chicken.)

      1. Marty

        (values given for beef short loin porterhouse are apparently from #13459, cooked)

  10. Margaret Gates

    Please keep in mind that this isn’t really comparing apples to apples. It would have been more useful to compare 100 grams of raw meat to whatever weight that meat ended up at after cooking, which would be very different depending on how it was cooked. It certainly would not be the same. To end up with 100 grams cooked, you would need to start with more than 100 grams of raw. Many of the nutrient differences would be attributable to that difference. It would also depend on whether the juices from the cooked meat were retained or discarded before measuring the nutrients. Taurine, an amino acid critical for cats, is water-soluble, so any cooking method where liquid from the meat is lost will reduce the taurine content. It’s not the cooking process that affects the taurine levels (as most people believe), but the loss of liquid from the meat – it takes some of the taurine with it. This is also why taurine levels can decrease with freezing – people will discard the liquid the thawing process produces, and with it some of the taurine. This would be true for any water-soluble nutrient in the meat.

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