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A Warning on Well-Done Meat

Bashertome / flickr

If you favor your meat charred and not bloody, you’re playing with fire. That’s because people who regularly eat well-done meats increase their risk of pancreatic cancer by up to 60 percent, according to new research backed by the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR).

The scientists studied the eating habits of more than 62,000 carnivores, and, over a 9-year period, found that people who preferred well-done meat (whether bacon, sausage, hamburger or steak) faced great odds of contracting the cancer.

One mechanism: Cooking meats—particularly, the amino acids within them—at very high temperatures creates a carcinogenic chemical called heterocyclic amines.

The researchers add that those with the highest intake of very well-done meat had a 70 percent higher risk for pancreatic cancer compared to those with the lowest consumption.

To limit your exposure to potentially cancer-causing heterocyclic amines, try these healthy barbequing tips, from the AACR:

  • Choose lean cuts of meat and trim any excess fat. Fat dripping onto hot coals causes smoke that contains potential carcinogens. Less fat means less smoke.
  • Line the grill with foil and poke small holes in it so the fat can still drip off, but the amount of smoke coming back onto the meat is lower.
  • Avoid charring meat or eating parts that are especially burned and black—they have the highest concentrations of heterocyclic amines.
  • Add colorful vegetables and fruit to the grill. Many of the chemicals that are created when meat is grilled are not formed during the grilling of vegetables or fruits, so you can enjoy grilled flavor worry-free. Red, yellow and green peppers, yellow squash, mushrooms, red onions and pineapple all grill well and make healthy additions to your plate.

About The Author

David Schipper – David began writing for CorePerformance.com in 2008, after spending six years at Men's Health magazine digging up the newest scientific research in health, weight loss, nutrition, muscle and cardiovascular fitness.

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Tags: Eating Out, Cooking, Food

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