Meat High Temperatures Cooking Causes Heterocyclic Amines (HCA), a Cancer Causing Carcinogen

The healthiest way to eat meat is medium done. Rare puts you in peril of food poisoning. And well done may advance your risk for cancer.

Cooked meat contains heterocyclic amines (HCA), which are strong suspects for causing cancer. Generally, heterocyclic amines are carcinogens formed whenever muscle meat is cooked from:

  • fish
  • fowl
  • beef
  • pork

Heterocyclic amines are created when amino acids and creatine react during cooking. However, how your meat is cooked, for how long and at what temperature makes a significant difference as to the magnitude of HCA produced.

The highest number of HCAs are formed when the meat is cooked at high temperatures via frying, boiling or barbecuing. Oven roasting and baking tends to cook meat at a lower temperature, hence HCA carcinogen yield is lower. And stewing, boiling or poaching cooks up a negligible output of these cancer causing chemicals.

For those who insist on eating charred meat off the BBQ, then you can reduce your high temperatures cooking cancer risk by tossing that hamburger, or whatever, in the microwave for a couple minutes first. Seems meat that are microwaved prior to high temperature cooking has a substantial impact on heterocyclic amines content. As in significantly lowered.

The cancer’s associated with this high temperature meet cooking carcinogen are:

  • stomach
  • colorectal
  • pancreatic
  • breast cancer

Since temperature is the most important factor in the formation of heterocyclic amines, the healthiest way to go is to limit your dietary consumption of high temp fried, broiled and barbecued muscle meats.

And gravy made from meat drippings is a source of HCA carcinogen as well. So, save that cancer causer for your holiday diet.

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