We have uncovered some health advice regarding red meat, courtesy of cancer experts in California. If you take a steak, for instance, and pan fry it at high temperatures, you may be increasing your risk of advanced prostate cancer by 40%. If you eat the steak, of course.
It’s another negative health breakthrough for red meat,Â which health experts have long suggested we eat inÂ moderation. Older studies have shown a subtle linkÂ between eating lots of red meat and your prostate cancerÂ risk. But what of cooking methods?
Past studies have identified a cancer risk as a result ofÂ cooking meats at high temperatures. In the new study, dataÂ from about 2,000 men was looked at, with people fillingÂ out a questionnaire about how much poultry and red meatÂ they ate. Color photographs illustrated how “done” theÂ meat was, and was combined with information on how itÂ was cooked.
The takeaway fact: men eating over 1.5 weekly servings ofÂ red meat, fried on a pan, face an average elevation inÂ advanced prostate cancer risk of 30%. That risk rose toÂ 40% when men ate over 2.5 servings every week.
Back to the steak for a moment — in fact, hamburger had aÂ far higher link than other forms of red meat, which doesn’tÂ bode well for a nation obsessed with the burger. TheÂ researchers said in a press release that there are differentÂ levels of carcinogens in hamburger, and they can get toÂ higher temperatures more quickly than steak can.
How about baked poultry? For this, researchers identified aÂ lower risk for advanced prostate cancer. But if you switchÂ to pan-fried chicken, the risk goes up. In the study, panÂ frying any meat led to a higher prostate cancer risk,Â suggesting that it is the most dangerous method of cooking.
Where is this risk coming from? Researchers believe it isÂ the HCAs (heterocyclic amines) that are formed during theÂ cooking process. HCAs are carcinogens that can damageÂ your DNA — the precise sequence of events that can triggerÂ a tumor. HCAs are formed when sugars and amino acidsÂ are cooked at a high heat for a long time. There are otherÂ carcinogens, too, like PAHs (polycyclic aromaticÂ hydrocarbons), which can come about when meat is grilledÂ or smoked. If a barbecue’s fire catches a drip from the meat,Â the smoke that rises back up can leave PAHs on yourÂ burger or spare rib. Heavy evidence also exists for a linkÂ between HCAs and PAHs and cancer risk.
It’s all about understanding cancer risk. If you eat meat,Â consider alternative cooking methods to pan frying. AndÂ for the best approach, cut down your weekly exposure toÂ meat.