Latest research published in Nature Human Behaviour showed that:
How to cook for a healthy life
On December 8, 2022, Nature Human Behaviour published online the latest research results of Professor Tangchun Wu from Huazhong University of Science and Technology and Professor Liming Li from Peking University entitled "Cooking and future risk of all-cause and cardiopulmonary mortality". Associate Research Fellow Kuai Yu from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Professor Jun Lv from Peking University, and Professor Gang Liu from Huazhong University of Science and Technology were the co-first authors. The study suggested that lower risks of all-cause mortality and cardiopulmonary mortality could be gained only when cooking with clean fuels; the mortality risks decreased gradually with extended duration of cooking with clean fuels. Furthermore, the association of cooking with clean fuels with all-cause mortality and cardiopulmonary mortality might be mediated by household physical activity and dietary pattern.
Food is the first necessity of human beings; therefore, cooking is closely related to people’s health and longevity. Previous studies from the research team have reported the health effects of household air pollution caused by cooking and the corresponding preventive strategy [2-3]. However, cooking is a complex behavior, which involves the process of transforming basic ingredients into food. Beyond environmental factors, the practice of cooking closely relates to multiple social, economic, and psychological factors. What are the health effects of cooking with clean fuels? What factors may intermediate the cooking-related health effects? The research team conducted further research focused on the above questions.
The study included more than 500,000 residents from the five urban and five rural areas in the China Kadoorie Biobank study (CKB). After an average of 9.9 years of follow-up, we found that compared with always non-cooking, the multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) of cooking previously but switched to non-cooking currently were 1.30 (1.24–1.36) for all-cause mortality, 1.46 (1.36–1.56) for cardiovascular mortality and 1.40 (1.21–1.61) for respiratory mortality, respectively. The mortality risks decreased with extended duration of cooking with clean fuels in dose-response manners, with the lowest risks among never-smokers reported over 25 years of cooking. Another interesting finding was that 30%-46% higher risk of all-cause and cardiopulmonary mortality was seen among residents who had switched from cooking to non-cooking compared with always non-cooking. This finding further supported the health benefits from cooking behavior. In the mediation analysis, household physical activity explained 66.0% (38.5–85.8%), 58.1% (34.6–78.4%) and 50.1% (14.5–85.6%), respectively, of the decreased risks of all-cause and cardiopulmonary mortality associated with cooking with clean fuels. To a much less extent, favorable diet (1.3% [0.6–2.8%] to 1.5% [0.8–2.9%]) also accounted for the decreased risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.
This study breaks the inherent thought that cooking is harmful to health because of the accompanying air pollution. It emphasizes that with the use of clean fuels, even though residents may be exposed to light air pollution, the improvement in physical activity and dietary nutrition due to cooking is still beneficial to health. It further advocates residents to adopt clean cooking, enjoy delicious food and live a better life.
1.Yu K, Lv J, Liu G, et al. Cooking and future risk of all-cause and cardiopulmonary mortality. Nature Human Behaviour 2022; published online Dec 8. https://doi.10.1038/s41562-022-01486-5.
2.Yu K, Lv J, Qiu G, et al. Cooking fuels and risk of all-cause and cardiopulmonary mortality in urban China: a prospective cohort study. Lancet Global Health 2020; published online Jan 19. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(19)30525-X.
3.Yu K, Qiu G, Chan KH, et al. Association of solid fuel use with risk of Cardiovascular and all-cause mortality in rural China. JAMA 2018; 319(13): 1351–61.