Effects Of Cooking

I've learned alot from BPE about cooking and the importance of heat and time as they pertain to oxidizing fats, denaturing proteins, and removing vitimins/minerals (but also toxins).  Some questions I'm still left with...


1.  What about starches?  I assume eating raw sweet potatoe is a bad idea but is there a risk in over cooking?  I like to bake mine for a good while so they get nice and sweet.  I assume this is due to sugar polymerization.  Is this a bad thing?  Is there a difference in insulin response to more/less polymerized starches?


2.  Is smoke point the same as oxidation point for fats?  I keep hearing (conventionally) that fats smoke when they are being oxidized and to avoid this.  Agreed.  Dave seems to indicate that fats oxidize, but do not necessarily smoke, at much lower temps.  What's the science on this?  Is frying with a stable fat like coconut oil really that bad if it hasn't reached smoking point?


3.  Dave recomends baking below 350 degrees, which is easy to remember and sufficient for anything if you have the time.  Like others here I cook my bacon around 200 for a really long time.  I feel like at a long enough time there is still a maillard reaction happening.  Are we really 'hacking' the bacon process here or just fooling ourselves?


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