Many Americans still do not know that grilling can be unhealthy. The cancer risk from grilling, however, is real, but it changes dramatically with what you grill and how you do it.
The problem with traditional grilling comes from the combination of meat with intense heat. Whether you are using red meat, poultry or seafood, substances in the muscle proteins of these foods react under high heat to form carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). HCAs can damage the DNA of our genes, beginning the process of cancer development.
Consumption of HCAs is mostly clearly linked to cancers of the colon and stomach. One study found that people who eat the most barbecued red meat (beef, pork and lamb) almost doubled their risk of colon polyps, compared to those who did not eat these foods. Colon polyps can develop into colon cancer. Some evidence also suggests that these carcinogenic compounds can travel through the bloodstream to other tissues. This would explain why HCAs could be a factor in breast cancer and other cancers.
So, does Grilling Pose A Cancer Risk?
Grilling is not bad for your health. But it appears that bad grilling may be bad for your health. Bad grilling is the way people grill food including all restaurants.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): “Some studies suggest there may be a cancer risk related to eating food cooked by high-heat cooking techniques as grilling, frying, and broiling. Based on present research findings, eating moderate amounts of grilled meats like fish, meat, and poultry cooked — without charring — to a safe temperature does not pose a problem.”
The keywords are “some studies suggest” and “without charring”. It appears that charring the meat can create compounds called Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs) that probably are capable of causing colon cancer, lung cancer, or breast cancer if consumed in excess. But, like so many areas of preliminary research, there is conflicting and contrary information. For example, it is not known how many HCAs are problematic.
According to one of the country’s primary researchers in the field, Dr. Rashmi Sinha of the National Cancer Institute “There’s a clear relationship between very high temperatures and the risk of cancer-causing agents.”
Dr. Sinha has some healthy cooking advice that all good chefs can agree with from a tasty cooking standpoint. She says we need to avoid blackening meat on the outside. This charring creates potentially hazardous compounds. And, I might add, it just plain tastes bad.
She says we should avoid flare-ups caused when fat hits the flame. Flare-ups just burn the food and deposit soot on the surface. You can avoid flare-ups by using a gas grill with metal flavor bars between the food and the flame, of by using a 2-zone cooking system on a charcoal grill and by having a squirt gun handy.
Dr. Sinha adds that if there are burned parts of the meat, especially burned fat, just cut them off. “It’s important to help consumers understand how to cook without undercooking or overcooking,” to which the National Cancer Institute (NCI) ads “That’s one more reason to use a food thermometer.” Amen.
In their report on Heterocyclic Amines in Cooked Meats, NCI says “Four factors influence HCA formation: Type of food, cooking method, temperature, and time. HCAs are found in cooked muscle meats; other sources of protein (milk, eggs, tofu, and organ meats such as liver) have very little or no HCA content naturally or when cooked. Temperature is the most important factor in the formation of HCAs. Frying, broiling, and barbecuing produce the largest amounts of HCAs because the meats are cooked at very high temperatures.”
They also added “Researchers found that those who ate their beef medium-well or well-done had more than three times the risk of stomach cancer than those who ate their beef rare or medium-rare.” I might add that well done meat is tougher and drier.
It is important that consumers understand that much of the relationship between HCA and cancer is still not thoroughly understood, that there is a lot of research yet to be done, and that eating burned steak once or twice a year probably isn’t going to make you sick. Nor is eating well done steak. The real message here is that good food is also good for you and that if you’re going to grill, do it right.
AFTER READ THIS YOU CAN CONCLUDE:
GRILLED FOOD IS NOT BAD! BAD IS THE WAY IT IS COOKED!
How many people do it right? None! Some can try to avoid it but, to do it properly some methods need to be used and that is not available in the market .
HEALTHY GRILL WILL BE THE FIRST GRILL PROJECT ABLE TO PROVIDE GRILLED FOOD FREE OF THOSE CARCINOGENS!
WHAT ABOUT THE RED MEAT?
How you cook red meat matters, prostate cancer study finds!
As red meat is cooked, be it fried or grilled, compounds shown to cause cancer take root in the meat.
It is not exactly like that! Why they say red meat causes cancer?
“When it comes to eating meat, a guy’s choice of what he eats and how it is cooked may affect his risk of having advanced prostate cancer, a new study says.
Men in the study who ate more than 1.5 servings of pan-fried red meat per week were 30 percent more likely to have advanced prostate cancer than were men who rarely ate pan-fried red meat. And men who every week ate more than 2.5 servings of red meat cooked by any high-temperature method — including broiling and grilling — were 40 percent more likely to have advanced prostate cancer than were men who rarely did so.”
Did you read?
It is not the red meat it self but the way you cook that red meat. Did you understand?
RED MEAT AND CANCER…
The National Cancer Institute estimates 242,000 U.S. men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, while 28,000 prostate cancer patients will die.
Advanced prostate cancer, in which the disease has spread to distant sites in the body, accounts for just 4 percent of all cases. However, that disease is particularly deadly. While nearly everyone with cancer that is confined to the prostate can expect to live at least five years, only 28 percent of those with advanced disease live that long, according to NCI statistics.
Surveying men in Los Angeles and San Francisco, Stern and her colleagues examined the red-meat eating habits of nearly 1,900 prostate cancer patients — including 1,100 whose disease had advanced beyond the prostate gland — and 1,096 men without prostate cancer.
The reason why red meat cooked at high temperatures may increase the risk of advanced prostate cancer is that such meat contains compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs). Both have been shown to cause cancer in animals, Stern said, noting that both are also found in cigarette smoke.
PAHs form when fat is cooked at high temperatures. For example, when meats are grilled, fat drips in the flames, and the rising smoke deposits PAHs on the meat. HCAs form when sugars and other molecules in the meat are heated. With higher temperatures and longer cooking times, more HCAs form.
“There is strong evidence that PAHs and HCAs cause cancer,” Stern said. “There is increasingly suggestive evidence that PAHs and HCAs that accumulate in meats may contribute to certain cancers; prostate is one of them.”
Still, did you read everything? The real problem is not the meat it self but the way people cook it!
Every time you eat grilled meat, fish, etc… (animal protein) in a restaurant you are consuming carcinogens!