An alarming new study suggests that cooking your meat at high temperatures can increase your risk of cancer.
Barbecue is a staple throughout the country, and each region has its own take on how to cook meat on the grill. According to a new study, however, grilling meat over an open flame has been linked to an increased risk of renal cell carcinoma, or a cancer that affects the kidneys.
According to a report from the Washington Post, researchers from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center collected survey information about the eating habits of 659 RCC patients and 699 healthy patients. After controlling for factors like genetics, the study highlighted an alarming link between renal health and consumption of meats cooked at high temperatures.
The study found that people with kidney cancer consumed more red and white meat than the people in the healthy group. Scientists believe that the cancerous effect comes from mutagens that form when meat is cooked over an open flame. Cooking meat at high temperatures results in the production of two carcinogens, called PhIP and MeIQx for short. People who consumed higher levels of PhIP had a 54 percent increased risk of RCC, while people who consumed more MeIQx had a 200 percent increase.
Even though the researchers tried to control for genetics, they found that variations to a single gene, ITPR2, increased peoples’ susceptibility to the two aforementioned carcinogens.
The study doesn’t discourage people from eating meat completely. Meat can fit in as a part of a well-balanced diet, and should be eaten alongside fruits and vegetables. When cooking meat, the researchers recommended to avoid charring it as much as possible.
The study has had people scared about eating meat, especially following a recent announcement from the World Health Organization that linked eating red meat to higher risk of colorectal cancer.
A press release from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center outlining the details of the study can be found here.