Why Overcooking Steak Is A Bigger Mistake Than You Think

Yes, there are some out there that will tell you there is only one way to cook a steak, and that is to cook it rare. Per The Guardian, some will even go so far as to call it a "crime against food" to cook it as anything more than medium. Most food choices really come down to personal preferences. Steak might be a little less subjective than that and ordering it well done might carry more baggage than the longer wait time and a judgmental scoff from the waiter.

One reason is that it might be unhealthy. Research has found that well done steak contains a higher concentration of heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (via National Cancer Institute). These compounds have been found to alter DNA and possibly create cancer cells in the human body. So while you might prefer the taste of well-done meat, it may be doing harm to your body in the long run. Your body might also be putting in a lot more work in the short-term.

Well done steak is harder to digest

While some folks might prefer to have all of the pink grilled out of their steak, doing so actually makes it harder to digest. According to Best Ground Beef, when beef is overcooked, the proteins, fats, and sugars all melt together. Napoleon notes that it will also cause the collagen cells to contract as well. All of this makes for a steak that has had every natural juice squeezed out of it by these processes. You're left with an overly dry, tough to chew, and harder to digest cut of meat than if you had taken it off the grill a few minutes sooner.

Livestrong also notes that beef is naturally harder for our bodies to digest than plant-based foods. Beef is heavy in protein and fat. Because those nutrients don't break down until the latter stages of digestion, beef can take a long time to pass through our digestive systems. Livestrong recommends chewing your steak thoroughly to help aid in the digestive processes. The best answer would be to opt for a leaner cut of beef that would break down more easily. However, that's going to give you a drier steak and cause an excessive amount of chewing to break it all down.

So the next time you're craving a steak, its best to stick with some pink left in the middle.