Why does food brown when we cook it?

I was reading an article regarding the browning of meats and various other foods. It was about what’s known as the Maillard Reaction. It’s a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar, usually requiring the addition of heat. Like caramelization, it is a form of non-enzymatic browning. From there it got into some complex information that goes deep into the scientific end of it and I’m not really interested in that. The go overboard, in my opinion. I like to keep it simple.
The part I found interesting is that this reaction is found in many different foods from the browning of toast to the color of coffee, beer, chocolate and maple syrup.
The amount of brown depends on the amount of sugar there is in the product that is being prepared and the temperature that it is being cooked at.
The part I find most interesting is what temperature the food products start to color. Processed sugar caramelizes around 320*F and fructose around 230*F. Since processed sugar is more complex than fructose. It has to go through more stages before it starts to turn color.
You may not find this interesting but I’m always curious why things happen the way they do. For instance, when I was learning how to cook many years ago, I was told to heat the pot really hot and then add the sliced onions to the pot without oil. I had to move the onions so they wouldn’t get black. It was so they would brown and I could add whatever ingredient was next. It also made the onions taste better. I have always cooked onions without oil. Cool, huh?
It’s also why pineapple turns brown quickly when you grill it or when you’re making caramel and you heat the sugar, then add the cream. The sugar turns brown and the addition of the cream brings texture to the mixture. Or when you put carrots into a frying pan to brown them.
It’s the same with the meat. I wonder why some of the beef products brown quickly and some don’t. It depends on the treatment of the meat prior to putting it on the grill. I don’t use a marinade for beef but I do for chicken. Reason being is that beef only needs black pepper and ground thyme or rosemary and chicken is a rather bland product and needs some seasoning. I usually use the same marinade for it but I don’t soak it in the marinade.
That’s an interesting tidbit that I thought you might enjoy.
Have a great day!!