According to findings from a University of Minnesota study presented this week at the annual American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) meeting in Denver, eating charred meat on regular basis increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by up to 60%.
It was know that meat cooked at very high temperatures creates Heterocyclic Amines or HAs that increases the cancer risk. HAs are created when amino acids and other substances in meats cooked at particularly high temperatures and that are particularly well-done or worse charred. HAs turn up in grilled and barbecued meat as well as broiled and pan-fried meat.
The University of Minnesota study study investigates the association of HAs and Pancreatic cancer on a larger scale. The team of researchers, led by Kristin Anderson, PhD, associate professor and cancer epidemiologist with the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health and Masonic Cancer Center, surveyed the eating habits of more than 62,000 people, noting meat intake, preferred cooking methods, and doneness preferences. The study participants were then followed for average of 9 years as part of the PLCO (Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian) screening trial.
Over the study period, the team found that people who asked for well-done meat, be they bacon, sausage, hamburger, or steak had a higher risk of getting pancreatic cancer.
"We found that those who preferred very well-done steak were almost 60% more likely to get pancreatic cancer as those who ate steak less well-done or did not eat steak, furthermore, when we looked at amount of consumption with doneness preferences, we found that those with the highest intake of very well-done meat had a 70% higher risk for pancreatic cancer over those with lowest consumption. Our findings in this study are further evidence that turning down the heat when grilling, frying, and barbecuing to avoid excess burning or charring of the meat may be a sensible way for some people to lower their risk for getting pancreatic cancer," Kristin Anderson, PhD, associate professor and cancer epidemiologist with the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health and Masonic Cancer Center, said.So in the future, when grilling or cooking meat;
- 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 HAs.
- 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.