Anecdotally, over the years I've noticed that eating nuts vs eating peanut-butter has different effects on my weight-loss progress. While whole nuts seem to be minimally processed by my digestion and have no perceived negative impact regardless of amount; peanut-butter has a noticeable effect in non-trivial amounts.

My hypothesis is that the net-carbohydrates are no longer net-carbohydrates because the fiber in the nut is no longer physically holding the nut together. It has become more absorbable.

This got me to wondering, if I take a cauliflower and steam it to the point it becomes "mashed potatoes" does this have an effect on how I absorb its macro-nutritional content? If it is soft and mashed, have I broken down the fiber holding its contents together and made it no longer a net-carb calculation?

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    This...is borderline. We expect nutrition questions to be in the context of an actual fitness regimen, not just a mention of weight loss. Unless you can relate this more to how it fits into your program, it may be closed as off topic.
    – JohnP
    Nov 6, 2020 at 22:06
  • @JohnP Is it better to remove the nutrition tag? I can elaborate my own eating protocol, I follow the KetoGains calculator which places my net-carbs as 20G per day (truthfully I play fast and loose because I like to experiment). My question isn't necessarily specific to myself, I'm trying to ask it in the context of someone who'd like to design their own eating protocol or determine if steaming the cauliflower would fit in their protocol. Nov 6, 2020 at 23:00
  • What would help is if you are trying to design your own eating protocol is to outline a typical day/week of workouts. That way people answering can give answers guided towards your specific needs. Thank you sir! :)
    – JohnP
    Nov 7, 2020 at 20:51
  • @JohnP -- would this not be better on the cooking stack? I think OP would get some better answers there.
    – C. Lange
    Nov 9, 2020 at 16:08
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    @C.Lange - No, they have a stricter "no nutrition questions" policy than we do.
    – JohnP
    Nov 9, 2020 at 16:16

3 Answers 3


Yes steaming vegetables changes their absorption properties.

  • Rice cannot be digested until it is cooked. Burnt food is of little nutritional value.

Your peanut vs peanut butter hypothesis is more focused on processed food vs unprocessed food.

  1. One point raised by Lazy is the discussion about enzymes in "living food" vs processed food which usually pasteurized, sterilized, or stabilized.
  2. The other point you mentioned is the removal of fiber from processed food. This can negatively impact your diet (Behavioral eating, not the action of going on a diet) because fiber keeps you fuller for longer since it takes longer to digest and typically fibrous foods are full of the good stuff.

This video lecture series is practical if you have the time.


Cooking breaks down the vegetable and sometimes releases extra vitamins or minerals. For instance, cooking spinach(steaming) increases it's vitamin K content from 72 micrograms to 442 micrograms. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/much-vitamin-k-half-cup-spinach-micrograms-4934.html

Not an exact science but your body will spend more time breaking down food which consumes calories if its more "full", such as eating a handful of strawberries with all the fiber content is healthy, but blending them and drinking them removes the fiber(even though youre technically still drinking it) and essentially gives you pure sugary drink, which will make you gain weigh faster. fiber negates the effect of carbs and slows down the absorption of fructose. It could be a volume amount too, for example, you could eat a handful of peanuts, but a serving size of peanut butter contains 45 peanuts, so youre eating a lot more, plus added sugar and oil which are high calorie. If you were to do a study eating 45 whole peanuts, some oil, molasses, etc vs 2 tablespoons of peanut butter theyd be equivalent in calories, but might absorb differently.

To answer your question, steaming a vegetable does not change the calories, and it is not necessarily an issue with vegetables or starches but fructose more often, in which case eating whole fruits is healthier than cooked or blended fruits, despite the calorie content remaining the same


If you heat it vegetables past 140 degrees Fahrenheit some value is lost. Raw foods are enzymatically alive which means these foods have enzymes present and chemically active within them to help digest 40 to 60% of that. Since cooking can brea down these enzymes, cooked and processed foods are enzymatically dead which means there are no live enzymes within that food to help with digestion.

Vitamins can breakdown (water soluble vitamins like B's and C) when cooked in water. Fruits and vegetables are best comsumed fresh. research in digestive health and enzymatic proficiency has been documented https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4923703/

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    This is interesting, but I don't think it completely answers the question about absorption. In addition, this is not really a scientifically accepted premise, it's a holistic health theory. If you would like, you can add some peer reviewed scientific articles to support this.
    – JohnP
    Nov 9, 2020 at 22:27

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