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Can grilled meat cause cancer?

grilled meat

There has been some debate recently about the possible relationship between cancer and grilled meat. Here we are going to check if indeed this type of meat has an incidence on the disease.

Chemicals and DNA change

According to a Huff Post article, the National Cancer Institute indicates that meat can give off mutagenic chemicals if they are prepared on the grill or, more accurately, exposed to a tremendous amount of heat.

Specifically, grilled meat may release Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) and Heterocyclic Amines (HCA), chemicals capable of changing the structure of DNA, and, consequently, increasing the risk of developing cancer.

Although human studies regarding the influence of these chemicals on cancer are less concrete, there is evidence that healthy people who consume large quantities of grilled meat are more likely to develop cancer.

How to prevent the effect of these chemicals

If you don’t want to give up eating grilled meat, there are ways you can reduce your risk of developing cancer by using chemicals released during cooking.

For example, some people recommend removing the charred meat as well as continually turning the meat as it cooks so as not to create overly burned areas. Lowering the cooking temperature can induce less release of PAH and HCA.

On the other hand, marinating meat is one way to create a barrier that separates meat from the flames, thus reducing the amount of HCA that is created.

In order to get rid of any chance of developing cancer, you can choose to prepare meat off the grill, which would not only allow you to ignore this risk but also increase your culinary skills.

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