This page has moved to a new address.

Do chemicals in cooked meat cause cancer?

body { background:#aba; margin:0; padding:20px 10px; text-align:center; font:x-small/1.5em "Trebuchet MS",Verdana,Arial,Sans-serif; color:#333; font-size/* */:/**/small; font-size: /**/small; } /* Page Structure ----------------------------------------------- */ /* The images which help create rounded corners depend on the following widths and measurements. If you want to change these measurements, the images will also need to change. */ @media all { #content { width:740px; margin:0 auto; text-align:left; } #main { width:485px; float:left; background:#fff url("http://www.blogblog.com/rounders/corners_main_bot.gif") no-repeat left bottom; margin:15px 0 0; padding:0 0 10px; color:#000; font-size:97%; line-height:1.5em; } #main2 { float:left; width:100%; background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/rounders/corners_main_top.gif") no-repeat left top; padding:10px 0 0; } #main3 { background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/rounders/rails_main.gif") repeat-y; padding:0; } #sidebar { width:240px; float:right; margin:15px 0 0; font-size:97%; line-height:1.5em; } } @media handheld { #content { width:90%; } #main { width:100%; float:none; background:#fff; } #main2 { float:none; background:none; } #main3 { background:none; padding:0; } #sidebar { width:100%; float:none; } } /* Links ----------------------------------------------- */ a:link { color:#258; } a:visited { color:#666; } a:hover { color:#c63; } a img { border-width:0; } /* Blog Header ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #header { background:#456 url("http://www.blogblog.com/rounders/corners_cap_top.gif") no-repeat left top; margin:0 0 0; padding:8px 0 0; color:#fff; } #header div { background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/rounders/corners_cap_bot.gif") no-repeat left bottom; padding:0 15px 8px; } } @media handheld { #header { background:#456; } #header div { background:none; } } #blog-title { margin:0; padding:10px 30px 5px; font-size:200%; line-height:1.2em; } #blog-title a { text-decoration:none; color:#fff; } #description { margin:0; padding:5px 30px 10px; font-size:94%; line-height:1.5em; } /* Posts ----------------------------------------------- */ .date-header { margin:0 28px 0 43px; font-size:85%; line-height:2em; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#357; } .post { margin:.3em 0 25px; padding:0 13px; border:1px dotted #bbb; border-width:1px 0; } .post-title { margin:0; font-size:135%; line-height:1.5em; background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/rounders/icon_arrow.gif") no-repeat 10px .5em; display:block; border:1px dotted #bbb; border-width:0 1px 1px; padding:2px 14px 2px 29px; color:#333; } a.title-link, .post-title strong { text-decoration:none; display:block; } a.title-link:hover { background-color:#ded; color:#000; } .post-body { border:1px dotted #bbb; border-width:0 1px 1px; border-bottom-color:#fff; padding:10px 14px 1px 29px; } html>body .post-body { border-bottom-width:0; } .post p { margin:0 0 .75em; } p.post-footer { background:#ded; margin:0; padding:2px 14px 2px 29px; border:1px dotted #bbb; border-width:1px; border-bottom:1px solid #eee; font-size:100%; line-height:1.5em; color:#666; text-align:right; } html>body p.post-footer { border-bottom-color:transparent; } p.post-footer em { display:block; float:left; text-align:left; font-style:normal; } a.comment-link { /* IE5.0/Win doesn't apply padding to inline elements, so we hide these two declarations from it */ background/* */:/**/url("http://www.blogblog.com/rounders/icon_comment.gif") no-repeat 0 45%; padding-left:14px; } html>body a.comment-link { /* Respecified, for IE5/Mac's benefit */ background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/rounders/icon_comment.gif") no-repeat 0 45%; padding-left:14px; } .post img { margin:0 0 5px 0; padding:4px; border:1px solid #ccc; } blockquote { margin:.75em 0; border:1px dotted #ccc; border-width:1px 0; padding:5px 15px; color:#666; } .post blockquote p { margin:.5em 0; } /* Comments ----------------------------------------------- */ #comments { margin:-25px 13px 0; border:1px dotted #ccc; border-width:0 1px 1px; padding:20px 0 15px 0; } #comments h4 { margin:0 0 10px; padding:0 14px 2px 29px; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; font-size:120%; line-height:1.4em; color:#333; } #comments-block { margin:0 15px 0 9px; } .comment-data { background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/rounders/icon_comment.gif") no-repeat 2px .3em; margin:.5em 0; padding:0 0 0 20px; color:#666; } .comment-poster { font-weight:bold; } .comment-body { margin:0 0 1.25em; padding:0 0 0 20px; } .comment-body p { margin:0 0 .5em; } .comment-timestamp { margin:0 0 .5em; padding:0 0 .75em 20px; color:#666; } .comment-timestamp a:link { color:#666; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } .paging-control-container { float: right; margin: 0px 6px 0px 0px; font-size: 80%; } .unneeded-paging-control { visibility: hidden; } /* Profile ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #profile-container { background:#cdc url("http://www.blogblog.com/rounders/corners_prof_bot.gif") no-repeat left bottom; margin:0 0 15px; padding:0 0 10px; color:#345; } #profile-container h2 { background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/rounders/corners_prof_top.gif") no-repeat left top; padding:10px 15px .2em; margin:0; border-width:0; font-size:115%; line-height:1.5em; color:#234; } } @media handheld { #profile-container { background:#cdc; } #profile-container h2 { background:none; } } .profile-datablock { margin:0 15px .5em; border-top:1px dotted #aba; padding-top:8px; } .profile-img {display:inline;} .profile-img img { float:left; margin:0 10px 5px 0; border:4px solid #fff; } .profile-data strong { display:block; } #profile-container p { margin:0 15px .5em; } #profile-container .profile-textblock { clear:left; } #profile-container a { color:#258; } .profile-link a { background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/rounders/icon_profile.gif") no-repeat 0 .1em; padding-left:15px; font-weight:bold; } ul.profile-datablock { list-style-type:none; } /* Sidebar Boxes ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { .box { background:#fff url("http://www.blogblog.com/rounders/corners_side_top.gif") no-repeat left top; margin:0 0 15px; padding:10px 0 0; color:#666; } .box2 { background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/rounders/corners_side_bot.gif") no-repeat left bottom; padding:0 13px 8px; } } @media handheld { .box { background:#fff; } .box2 { background:none; } } .sidebar-title { margin:0; padding:0 0 .2em; border-bottom:1px dotted #9b9; font-size:115%; line-height:1.5em; color:#333; } .box ul { margin:.5em 0 1.25em; padding:0 0px; list-style:none; } .box ul li { background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/rounders/icon_arrow_sm.gif") no-repeat 2px .25em; margin:0; padding:0 0 3px 16px; margin-bottom:3px; border-bottom:1px dotted #eee; line-height:1.4em; } .box p { margin:0 0 .6em; } /* Footer ----------------------------------------------- */ #footer { clear:both; margin:0; padding:15px 0 0; } @media all { #footer div { background:#456 url("http://www.blogblog.com/rounders/corners_cap_top.gif") no-repeat left top; padding:8px 0 0; color:#fff; } #footer div div { background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/rounders/corners_cap_bot.gif") no-repeat left bottom; padding:0 15px 8px; } } @media handheld { #footer div { background:#456; } #footer div div { background:none; } } #footer hr {display:none;} #footer p {margin:0;} #footer a {color:#fff;} /* Feeds ----------------------------------------------- */ #blogfeeds { } #postfeeds { padding:0 15px 0; }

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Do chemicals in cooked meat cause cancer?

There have been a ton of news stories and links going around about the chemicals in cooked meat that can cause cancer. They all say don't eat meat, you won't get cancer...which we all know that there are many different reasons for cancer to occur, but one of them is a genetic marker, meaning that some people are predisposed to getting cancer (i.e. if a close family member mother, father, brother, sister has cancer).  The science behind Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) is real, but the question of whether they cause cancer is another question.



What are HCAs and PAHs?
Simply, HCAs and PAHs are the chemicals that are formed when cooking muscle meat (from fish, beef, pork, and poultry) at high temperatures and/or over open flames (like grilling).  As the meat cooks, we are changing the chemical composition: chicken goes from being slimy and pink, to white and firmer (something that you would actually want to eat).  Throughout that cooking process, especially at high temperatures, there are more HCAs and PAHs present.  The HCAs form when the amino acids (protein), sugars, and creatine (part of the musculature) react to the high temperature. The HCAs bare not frequently found in foods that are not cooked at high temperatures. The PAHs are formed when the fat from your meat drips into the grill, creates a big flame; those flames contain the PAHs that then adhere to the outside of the meat.  PAHs are also found in cigarette smoke, when smoking meats, and car exhaust (if it tastes "smokey" most likely it has PAHs).  Also, it is interesting to note that the more "well done" your meat is, the higher the level of HCAs because the longer it has cooked and the more chemical change has occurred to the meat....so you might want to start appreciating a nice rare steak ;)

Do they cause cancer?
HCAs and PAHs have been shown, in lab studies, to cause changes in DNA which can possibly cause cancer.  The studies were done on lab rats that were fed diets high in HCAs: the rats then grew tumors in their breast tissues, liver, pancreas, colon, skin, lung, prostate, and other tissues.  With PAHs, the rats had tumors of the stomach (entire Gastrointestinal tract), leukemias (blood cancer), and lungs.  BUT these rats were fed thousands of times the amount of HCAs and PAHs that any human being would be consuming, and truly any chemical would cause cancers at that level.  Population studies of different people in their natural habitat have not shown any increase in cancer with HCAs and PAHs; the caveat is that if someone lives in an area with high levels of exhausts or fumes, their exposure to PAHs are higher, so they are at risk of cancer from that, but not specifically due to ingesting cooked meats.  The environmental exposure to PAHs are more of a risk than cooked food. As well, peoples genetic risk is also a factor here: if you had a genetic predisposition to cancer, your body may be more susceptible to DNA changes causing cancer from HCAs versus someone who has a very low risk and no cancer in their family.  Although, those with a diet high in well done, barbecued, and fried meats have higher risks of colon, pancreatic, and prostate cancer....but there are other risk factors there as well (which can include a sedentary lifestyle, lack of vegetables, preventative care, etc.)

How do I decrease my exposure?
I wouldn't tell you to stop eating meat based on this one outrageous study, but if you are worried about it, there are ways to still enjoy a tasty piece of meat, but decrease your exposure to HCAs and PAHs.  YAY!
-Cook meat lightly in a microwave, then pan sear or cook on a grill to finish the cooking process (decreasing the amount of time over high heat significantly decreases the amount of HCAs present)  OR partially bake in the oven then grill.
-Continuously moving meat over high flame can decrease HCA creation- instead of leaving that burger sitting there to cook a few minutes on each side, think rotisserie chicken, and keep it constantly moving to cook, which will decrease PAHS from adhering to it.
-Remove charred bits of meat, and don't make gravy or other sauces from meat dripping when grilling, it will significantly reduce the amount of HCAs and PAHs you ingest.
-Eat meat that is more rare, as opposed to well done!

Looking at all the research, I would not stop eating meat based on what is out there.  But if you are concerned, head towards rare meats, bake in the oven, use that microwave, and maybe don't eat grilled meat EVERY night of the week!  Remember that when studies are done, based on the funding the researchers get, they want exposure, and so do the people funding the studies, so they will create "science" and then make it a media sensation to get everyone talking about it- mission accomplished on this one!  Rest assured there are studies that are taking into account normal levels of ingested HCAs and PAHs and the FDA/US Govt has not made any recommendations to change your lifestyle based on this one study.  So keep eating healthy, and if you are concerned, talked to your HCP about it!

Yours in Good Health
B

2 Comments:

At April 3, 2012 at 10:34 AM , Anonymous john said...

Hi there, just became aware of your blog thru Google,so interesting so good , i realy enjoy your blog ,nice site!

 
At April 9, 2012 at 6:18 AM , Anonymous arman said...

This is a better-quality article as they all are. I am waiting to read even more about this topic. I make fun of been wonder wide this an eye to some beat now. Thanks for sharing.

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home