Why does food have to be cooked if it can be eaten raw?

Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many food products do not have to be cooked before being eaten. Most (if not all) vegetables and fruits can be eaten raw, and many people prefer them in this state. Most seafood can also be eaten raw, and beef can be eaten raw if prepared properly. It is not advisable to eat most other forms of animal flesh uncooked, however. Bacteria, such as Escherichia coli (E-coli), is present in most meats, and it can cause sickness and even death. It is preferable to cook pork, poultry, lamb and wild game. Heat destroys the bacteria present. And, as most people know, cooking meat generally makes it taste better.

william1941 | Student

Food can be eaten raw. No species other than humans cooks food before eating it. There has been a lot of controversy on the topic whether food is better cooked than raw.

Many researchers now claim to have evidence that cooking destroys many essential nutrients and converts the form of proteins and other components in food, whereby they are more difficult for us to digest.

The reasons we need to cook food is to destroy harmful bacteria like Salmonella and Campylobacter and other organisms like tape worm that can cause serious illnesses as our digestive system cannot destroy them. Also, there exist substances in many foods that are toxic when raw. Some examples include trypsin inhibitors and lectins, which are destroyed by heat.