According to recent findings published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences we actually can get fatter from eating cooked food.
Apparently “cooking substantially increases the energy gained from meat, leading to elevations in body mass that are not attributable to differences in food intake or activity levels”.
I believe there is more to it. Consider this:
Less energy spent on digestion
Cooking food is like pre-digesting. Eating “pre-digested” food requires less energy from the body to complete the digestive process. Less expanded energy equals fewer burned calories, which means more calories will stay on your hips.
Fewer nutrients, bigger hunger
Cooked food contains fewer nutrients. Most vitamins are heat sensitive. Vitamin A, C, D, E, and some vitamins B are substantially reduced when food is heated. The same is with amino acids and essential fatty acids. Proper glucose and fat utilization require nutrients. If you do not have a full spectrum of nutrients available for keeping your body in shape, you will put on weight or have difficulty losing weight.
Heat and inflammation
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) knows about energetics. There are hot foods, and there are cold foods. You can increase heat in the foods just by heating it. Hot foods provide more energy and can even put the body into an overdrive.
Heat in TCM means inflammation. I am wondering if there is some kind of a connection between western concept of calories and eastern concept of heat. After all, we all know that excess fat is pro-inflammatory.
The study on effects of cooked foods was done on rats. They got fatter on a cooked diet, but the question is “would humans end up the same”? This is yet to be determined.