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Pong
Post  Post subject: Why food warm?  |  Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 9:29 am
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Hot meals & hot drinks, why? And when a food actually requires cooking to make it digestible, we rush to consume it while hot. But so what if the soup goes cold?

I'm guessing we're being calorie misers. We waste less calories by not having to heat the food/drink as it enters our bodies. Other explanations?

Test my hypothesis should be straightforward. A calorie is defined as the energy to heat a gram of water one degree. So, offer subjects food hot or cold, also requiring they spend body heat to warm a quantity of water, or gain body heat by same mechanism (a sort of bath?). If I'm right, they'll learn by experience to balance the costs/benefits of the environmental vs. dietary calories. E.g. a subject will learn to prefer the food cold if accompanied by environmental warmth amounting to more calories than otherwise. Most animals are viable subjects also. Predictions?


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Daecon
Post  Post subject: Re: Why food warm?  |  Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 9:59 am
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I have a speculation that warm food also triggers that ancient part of our brain from when we were predatory hunters, a warm carcass means a fresh kill, which means less chance of sickness from eating bad meat. Um, although I guess that it wouldn't apply to fruit and such... but as cooking does kill germs, a preference for cooked food may have been a useful survival trait to pass on.


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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Re: Why food warm?  |  Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 10:11 am

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In almost all cases the calories you save in hot vs cold food are negligible compared to the calories contained in the food... My guess is hot food just tastes better...

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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Re: Why food warm?  |  Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 1:22 pm

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An example to illustrate my point:

Can of baked beans (mass 410g), assuming the same SHC as water, heating this from room temperature to body temperature (~17 C difference) would take:

410 x 4.18 x 17 = 29,134 J.

The energy content of the beans is 1200 kJ... Heating the beans to body temperature takes about 2% of the energy content. For foods containing a lot of fat or carbs the percentage will be lower.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Why food warm?  |  Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 1:53 pm
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cooking meat or vegetables changes the chemical nature of its constituents into components that are more digestible and hence carry more nutrients
this is an irreversible change, meaning that if the cooked food then cools down, the higher nutritional value remains

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One beer
Post  Post subject: Re: Why food warm?  |  Posted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 8:53 am
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Agreed. Cooked food is easier to eat and digest, so presumably more nutrients become available and this might have helped support a larger brain? Just thinking aloud here.

As an aside; I find that cold curry (that has been kept in the fridge) the morning after is fantastic ! - almost better than when hot. Some cold pizzas are also good.

Or perhaps I have a weird sense of taste?

OB


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shlunka
Post  Post subject: Re: Why food warm?  |  Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:15 pm

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I drink coffee all day (usually from 7am to 10pm or later) and it has to be hot. I have to have a hot drink in my hand through all hours of the day (even if I have to drink tea...). This may be more of a habit than the previous scenarios posited. There's something psychologically comforting in a warm cup to soothe the tainted soul. And a cat.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Why food warm?  |  Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:23 pm
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you don't know what you're missing by not drinking cold coffee : there's nothing more refreshing on a hot day !

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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Re: Why food warm?  |  Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:44 pm
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marnixR wrote:
you don't know what you're missing by not drinking cold coffee : there's nothing more refreshing on a hot day !

I will second this. Iced coffee is great.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Why food warm?  |  Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:19 pm
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Cold-brewed iced coffee is even better...

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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Re: Why food warm?  |  Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 7:06 am

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Heathens! I love coffee and I'm addicted to it but cold (or iced) coffee is just wrong! It makes me want to spew! I don't like coffee in cakes or desserts either, for me it's a hot drink only. :lol:

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Why food warm?  |  Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:54 pm
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so you would not dunk a biscuit in your coffee ? it's your loss !

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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Re: Why food warm?  |  Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 3:15 pm
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PhDemon wrote:
Heathens!

I'll gladly wear that title while sipping from my mocha frappe. ;)

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Pong
Post  Post subject: Re: Why food warm?  |  Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 3:12 am
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PhDemon wrote:
Can of baked beans (mass 410g), assuming the same SHC as water, heating this from room temperature to body temperature (~17 C difference) would take:

410 x 4.18 x 17 = 29,134 J.

The energy content of the beans is 1200 kJ... Heating the beans to body temperature takes about 2% of the energy content. For foods containing a lot of fat or carbs the percentage will be lower.


In almost all cases the calories you save in hot vs cold food are negligible compared to the calories contained in the food... My guess is hot food just tastes better.

Thanks, that's just how I was looking at the silly question. But, "just tastes better" is what I wanna explode. Subjective preferences must be scientifically explicable.

Maybe "negligible" comes with our cozy environment and the present cost of food calories being practically negligible also. A shivering savage might prefer the (pre-cooked) beans hot. I suggest we developed our food tastes as shivering savages, and we maintain food traditions from that condition. Imagine a people who are half-starved but have unlimited firewood.

Curiously the Inuit lack a hot food tradition. Fuel was too precious to waste on cooking meat. They conserved it for directly warming their own flesh.



Hot food is tastier though, objectively. Because much taste is really smell, and that depends on vapours from the food. E.g. cold apple pie vs. hot apple pie.


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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Re: Why food warm?  |  Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:51 am

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Slightly off-topic but I thought this article would be of interest to readers of the thread as it discusses perception of tastes of food.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37800097

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