Barbecuing Meat Elevates Your Prostate Cancer Risks

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April 22, 2006 | 10,078 views

A study indicates that a compound called PhIP, formed when meat is charred at high temperatures, causes prostate cancer in rats.

This bears out other studies that have shown cooking meat until it chars, as in barbecue, could cause cancer.

PhIP seems to both initiate prostate cancer and increase its growth. It is difficult to determine exactly how much PhIP is in barbecued meat, because different amounts are formed based on cooking conditions.

For the study, PhIP was mixed into the rats' food for up to eight weeks, after which their prostates, intestines and spleens were examined. Genetic mutations were found in all of the organs after four weeks.

PhIP might be the newest addition to the list of problems that can occur when you choose to cook your meat at high temperatures.

Heterocyclic amines are the previously identified potent cancer-causing substances that form when meat is cooked at high temperatures while grilling or barbecuing. And with the temperatures rising in the Northern Hemisphere and more sunshine to light our late afternoons, you may be tempted on a whim to pull out your grill and cook some meat or veggies.

But even if you are grilling grass-fed organic beef you will still form these substances. So be careful out there and avoid meat that is grilled like this.

Does this mean you should never have it? No, as the healthier you are the more your body will tolerate this type of abuse. But every time you consume barbecued or grilled meat you will be dragging your health down.

There is less of a problem if you briefly sear it on the outside and leave the remainder of the meat lightly cooked or nearly rare. This will improve the flavor and greatly decrease your risk.

If you are using grass-fed organic meats the likelihood or risk of any infection is very small, as these types of animals are rarely contaminated with potentially infectious bugs.

Alternatively, if you're going to cook this way, regardless of what the evidence shows or what I or anyone else recommends, there are two ways you can reduce the damage grilling causes:

  • Add cherries, blueberries or vitamin E to your ground meat.

  • Cook your foods at around 200 degrees, meaning very low heat.

I would also encourage you to start trying uncooked food, as it is full of powerful biophotons that will improve your health. Raw foods are generally nutritionally better than cooked ones, as the cooking process breaks down the important micronutrients. 

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