home Forums Kitchen Chit-Chat Does pressure cooking reduce phytic acid?

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    Lately I’ve been wondering about the effect of pressure cooking as compared to conventional cooking on phytic acid in beans and grains. Does pressure cooking reduce phytic acid more than conventional cooking?

    It’s known that phytic acid can be healthful, but diets too reliant on whole grains and beans, such as vegetarian diets, can contain too much of it, causing mineral deficiencies. Traditional methods for processing food to reduce phytic acid can be time-consuming and often change flavor. These methods such as fermenting, sprouting, or soaking beans/grains for DAYS before cooking can leave food swampy-tasting and unpalatable. I have tried them and, except for sourdough bread, ended up discarding what I’d made.

    But maybe we can reduce phytic acid with pressure cooking, which, unlike the above methods, makes food taste GOOD.

    The following website asserted that pressure cooking reduces phytic acid more than conventional cooking, and cited a scientific paper that showed this by testing peas:

    Is Pressure Cooking Healthy?

    A subscription is needed to read the cited article on peas, so I haven’t read it yet. But Food Renegade wrote of it, “In this study done on peas, the phytic acid content of peas soaked overnight and then boiled was only reduced by 29%. But in peas that had been soaked overnight and pressure cooked, the phytic acid was reduced by 54%.”

    I am intrigued. That’s a 25% reduction in phytic acid over conventional cooking. IF this effect is generally applicable, if you combine pressure cooking with a moderate interval — not days — of soaking of beans and grains, maybe you could significantly reduce phytic acid without having to eat swampy-tasting food. :-) But my sporadic googling has not yielded additional articles that compare the two cooking methods.

    Does anyone know more about the effect of pressure cooking on phytic acid that they could share?

    Laura Pazzaglia

    Not a fan of the fearmongering on the Food Renegade Blog – also, she used all the references from my first nutritional article and didn’t credit Hip Pressure Cooking for the inspiration. Oh, the writing is original but it’s obvious she didn’t read the papers herself otherwise she would not have used the same “Vitamin Retention by Cooking method” chart I produced (omitting to microwave pressure cooker as the best option, as I did).

    I explain all of this here without pointing any fingers. But since you linked to it I just wanted to share my opinion on the quality and trustworthiness of this person’s content.

    “Although I already made a quick reference to this broccoli study in the past, I wanted to revisit it in detail to share more about it. There are lots of interesting tidbits, there, including data that’s been hidden by omission by myself and just about anyone else who has cited this study to promote the nutritional benefits of pressure cooking.”

    Broccoli & Pressure: the untold story of the better cooking method

    Anyway, back to phytic acid, I address this briefly in the Chickpea Nutrition article but I have read a bunch of papers that also support this in other legumes . The concensus is that both sprouting beans (soaking them until they split) and pressure cooking them is the best way to reduce phytic acid in beans.

    As soon as I get a chance I’ll gather all the articles for you and maybe put in in a coherent article.

    Would love to hear opinions, ideas and theories others as well who have specifically researched reducing antinutrients in beans.





    About the Food Renegade blog
    It came up when I Google searched on phytic acid. On second glance, yes, I would definitely want to read the article and judge for myself. I’m not on board with the Sally Fallon/Weston Price/raw milk crew as this blogger appears to be. And I do see that she used the same table on vitamin retention in broccoli that you did. I’m typing on a small screen at the moment, so I’ll take your word for it that she used your references. A lot of coincidences, no? It’s got to be annoying to research an article and find someone else cruising in your wake without giving credit. I used to write health columns for universities. Those bylines meant a lot to me. Now it’s a free-for-all online. It’s got to be challenging to stay motivated.

    About phytic acid
    I read an abstract of the Xu article you cited in your article discussing chick peas and phytin. It’s exactly the kind of thing I’m interested in but, again, requires a significant fee to access. I can check with my local library and district media people to see if privileges and access to the state university electronic subscriptions are available (but I’m not optimistic). I’m interested because I’d like to know how long they soaked the chickpeas and how long they pressure cooked them to get their results. Also I’m interested in how much phytic acid was removed as a result of pressure cooking.

    A future article??
    I would very much anticipate an article on phytic acid/pressure cooking/legumes with your usual careful citation of journal sources. Thank you for your offer to share your research. I look forward to your article. :-)

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