"Hey man, I was just wondering, I got this smoker as a gift but didn't know if I would be able to use it. Is that cool on your program?"
A prospecting client sent me this message wondering whether he would be able to smoke his meats as a preparation method and if so, would there be any harm?
His question mirrors a concern that needs to be squashed: the way we prepare our food has a big impact on our health.
Grilling, baking, boiling, frying, smoking, and any preparation method in between doesn't have much of an effect on the health value of your food. Some options can even be left raw.
So what is with the growing narrative that how you prepare matters a lot? Some people just want to make it harder than it really is.
The reality is that how you prepare your food doesn't have much of an impact on your health.
There are some small effects you should pay attention to, but otherwise don't fret over how you cook. First, when frying make sure you use calorie free cooking spray. If you use oils choose the healthier options and count the calories and fat grams towards your totals.
Grilling is great but over grilling food can produce substances that promote cancerous growth. Using a thermometer helps avoid this.
Microwaving and boiling veggies can lead to you losing some nutrients you otherwise would have gotten eating them prepared another way but this is offset by the ease that they are digested.
Just know there are pros and cons to every cooking method. The effects that change from one preparation style to another are tiny and not worth much of your concern.
In practice this means you can choose which cooking method you enjoy the most and use it without worry. Or perhaps start rotating several methods into your routine. Again, without fear that how you cook your food will amount to any noticeable health effects.
I told my client not to worry about using his smoker to prepare some meat. I told him not to give so much attention to tiny factors like cooking style and instead apply it to the huge ones like his calorie balance and macros.