“How would you like your burger cooked?” It’s a question we often don’t give too much thought to and respond to quickly based on our taste preferences. But a new study suggests that, if we’re concerned about our daily protein intake, we should also be wary of how we’re cooking our meats.
Findings published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveal that your body may be absorbing less protein if your steak isn’t served well-done. For the study, ten volunteers between the ages of 70 and 82 chowed down on one-ouncece portion of beef that was cooked at 131 degrees for five minutes (deeming it rare) and then consumed a portion cooked at 194 degrees for 30 minutes (deeming it fully cooked). After administering the meals, researchers quantified levels of leucine, an amino acid or protein building block. They noticed that when the participants ate the rare meat portion, they absorbed less protein than when they consumed the fully cooked meat.
While researchers believe that meat cooking conditions have little effect on how young adults process protein, cooking time and temperature have a significant effect on how the elderly process amino acids. So next time you’re out to dinner, reconsider ordering the steak medium-rare. And whether you’re still a spring chicken or reaching your golden years, we always recommend cooking your protein fully through as meat is one of the 20 Foods Most Likely to be Contaminated.