Marinating meat in the traditional Chinese style can substantially reduce the amount of unhealthy cholesterol compounds that form during cooking, chemists reported in a new study.
Cholesterol oxidation products (COPs) form when cholesterol-rich foods are stored, processed or heated. Studies have linked intake of large amounts of certain COPs to an increased risk of the artery blockages that cause heart attacks, cancer and other diseases. Those findings have led to efforts to identify the kinds and amounts of COPs present in foods.
In their study, Bing-Huei Chen and colleagues developed a method for analyzing COPs in marinated food. They used the technique to check on how the addition of soy sauce and sugar to a marinade affects COP levels in pork and eggs. Chen used a Chinese cooking process that involves putting food in a pot of marinade and simmering for at least an hour.
Marinating reduced the amount of COPs formed in pork by 60 percent and by 38 percent in eggs. Their report is scheduled for publication in the June 28 issue of the ACS Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry. The study raises the possibility that western-style marinating also could reduce the amount of COPs formed during cooking, Chen said.
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