Okay, it's my turn to ask the obvious. When, by various means of ours we convert starch to sugar, do we add calories?

Can a raw onion ever be made to create more calories? If I sauté raw onion with love, until it's peak of sweetness, will my wife grow more pleasantly plump?



ChefManuela March 3, 2013
You have not net the calories to cook. Amilase does not come free.
That is why we cook. Try to eat uncooked pasta or rice and see that. Or try to eat on ounce of sugar versus an ounce of bread or an ounce of paper!
ChefOno March 3, 2013

If you're saying what I think you’re saying, that some starches are resistant to digestion in the same way that cellulose is indigestible, I would argue this: The conversion of starch to sugar via cooking is the same process we use internally to convert starch to sugar, the enzyme amylase. In other words, starch that would pass through our digestive system unchanged would also be unchanged via cooking. Conversely, the starch that is converted to sugar via cooking would otherwise have been rapidly converted to sugar after consumption. Net zero.

ChefManuela March 3, 2013
Cellulose is sugar just as starch and has same calories once burnt but does not give same claories on food as it is not digestible. That is why sugar maltose from starch has more calories.
ChefOno March 3, 2013

I believe you're taking my statement out of context. The subject at hand is weight gain vis-à-vis starch vs. sugar. The very definition of a calorie is the quantification of energy potential, thus a calorie = a calorie. A popular myth is still a myth and there are many that revolve around this subject.

As for Bittman's piece, I can't comment on the study he refers to because I haven't read it and, just as importantly, I haven't heard the opposing analysis. I will say this though: Anyone who claims sugar is "toxic" is being sensationalistic at the very least. And anyone who calls for revoking fructose's GRAS status is either a zealot or out to sell his next book (or both). What are we supposed to do -- stop eating fruit? Or is fruit okay but "added" fructose is somehow different?

susan G. March 2, 2013
Re the above "it doesn't really matter how much sugar one consumes, only the total caloric intake." Recent research has questioned that truism, and found that's not the case: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/category/mark-bittman/.
ChefOno March 1, 2013

I don't believe any of the thermal energy is converted into a digestible form if that's where you're heading. In a nutshell, starches are glucose molecules bound together. Under heat starches hydrate making it easier for enzymes to break them down into sugar. Our bodies run on sugar, specifically glucose, so in theory you're saving the body some work though I imagine any energy savings, thus net caloric gain, would be very small.

To put it another way, contrary to NYC mayor Bloomberg's way of thinking (if you can call it that), it doesn't really matter how much sugar one consumes, only the total caloric intake. 1000 calories of sugary drink + 100 calories of fat + 10 calories of carbs is exactly = 100 calories of sugar + 10 calories of fat + 1000 calories of carbs.

The cooking fat absorbed by the onion would far outweigh any other factor (so to speak) except perhaps more obtusely, since we're genetically programmed to seek sugar and saturated fat, one is likely to consume more of the cooked dish than if it were raw, thus increasing calories consumed.

jsdunbar March 1, 2013
That should be the Way the onion looks…
jsdunbar March 1, 2013
The heat changes the easy the onion looks & tastes, as well as heating the pan and the room, but the onion still has 3 Calories per gram as do all carbohydrates plus fat from the pan that clings to the onion has more than twice the Calories per gram, as do all fats, as I understand it.
bugbitten February 28, 2013
Sorry, badly asked. Does the heat that is necessary to turn an onion sweet make it more plumpening? That's what i meant to say.
ChefOno February 28, 2013

“Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.”
-- Albert Einstein

bugbitten February 28, 2013
Where does the heat from sweetening an onion go?
ZombieCupcake February 28, 2013
That kind of a yes and no answer. You can release enzymes out of certain food and proteins of meats by cooking. Now is this going to change the caloric intake I would think not. Now can you strip away nutritional value and energy certainly. If I am wrong my mistake I would love to hear the explanation on it.
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