In fact, it is cooking meat at very high temperatures (above 200 ° C or 400 ° F) and over a long period that is associated with the increase of certain types of cancers (prostate, colon, breast and pancreas). Clearly, the meat must be charred. That’s why the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends limiting exposure to carbonated meats to reduce the risk of cancer.
Why is carbonization toxic ?
Cooking meat and fish at high temperatures produces two carcinogenic chemicals:
- Under the action of a strong heat, the compounds naturally present in these foods (creatine, amino acids, sugars) produce carcinogenic chemical compounds: amines heterocycles (AH).
- In addition, when the animal fat falls on the heating element of the barbecue (briquettes or flames of propane), it decomposes in volatile toxic substances which rise with the smoke and are deposited on the food: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons ( PAH).
On the National Cancer Institute website, we can read that HAs and PAHs can damage our DNA only after being metabolized by specific enzymes in our body: a process called “bioactivation”. Studies have shown that the activity of these enzymes, which may differ from person to person, may be related to the increased risk of cancer.
Red meat, worse than other meats ?
Whatever the type of meat, the longer one cooks meat at high temperatures, the more it will tend to form HA and the more it will be exposed to PAH. Thus, a well-cooked chicken and steak will both have high concentrations, according to the National Cancer Institute. As for fish, as their cooking time is generally shorter, it would reduce their exposure to these carcinogens. Note that vegetables can not generate HA.
Higher cancer risk … but how much ?
Difficult to know precisely. Laboratory and animal research suggests that HA can cause DNA damage and promote the development of tumors in cells of the colon, breast, prostate and elsewhere. However, population studies have not yet established a definitive link between human cancer and exposure to HA and PAH via consumption of cooked meat.
One of the difficulties in conducting such studies is to determine the exact level of exposure a person gets, depending on their consumption of cooked meats and selected cooking methods. However, cancer prevention authorities in most Western countries recommend minimizing exposure.
To put it in perspective, the Rumor Detector contacted the Canadian Cancer Society. “Smoking or being sedentary is certainly more problematic than barbecuing about cancer risk. Nevertheless, the consumption of carbonized foods is one of the risk factors, says spokesman André Beaulieu. You have to look at eating in a global way: eating well, eating lots of fruits and vegetables and limiting your exposure to carcinogens through your diet are all ways to reduce these risks. “
When it comes to barbecuing, the best approach would be moderation, says Beaulieu. “We should not eat barbecued meats every day. And when you eat it, you should avoid carbonizing, cut the fat or remove the skin to avoid rekindling the flames, choose cuts of meat that cook quickly or marinate the meat to reduce the cooking time, “he adds. -he.
Can a marinade reduce the formation of carcinogens ?
On the website of Public Health Canada, it can be read that marinating meat, if only for 10 to 20 minutes, can reduce the formation of carcinogens by as much as 90%. Several marinade options would be effective:
- Public Health Canada recommends an oil-free or low-oil marinade that contains an acidic agent, such as lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.
- A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry showed that marinating red meat in beer for four hours significantly reduced HCA.
- According to a study from the University of Kansas, a dry marinade would significantly limit the production of HCAs. For this, simply rub the meat with rosemary or rosemary extract before cooking.
Can certain cooking methods reduce the risks ?
As you will have understood, to limit its exposure to carcinogens, it is necessary to lower the temperature of the fire, to reduce the cooking time, to avoid the direct flames and to limit the exposure to the smoke. For this, we can precook some meats (sausages and spare ribs) before putting them on the grill, use a block of cedar or Himalayan salt to avoid carbonizing meat and fish, grab the meat and finish cooking in indirect cooking mode, or opt for cooking in foil. In short, we avoid burning them!
– Eve Beaudin, science journalist
The Rumor Detector is produced by Agence Science-Presse, in partnership with the Fonds de recherche du Québec and the Inter-University Cooperation Office.
BBQ cooking and cancer in 6 questions Article Source: //