Grilled and Smoked Meats Increase the Risk of Premature Death of Breast Cancer Survivors

close up of grilled pork on the grill at market in Thailand.

Breast cancer remains the most common type of cancer among women, affecting hundreds of thousands of women every year. That’s why it is not surprising that a lot of studies are dedicated to breast cancer.

Recent disturbing results of a study show that breast cancer survivors (female) who consumed more barbequed, grilled, and smoked meats had a higher risk of actually dying, compared to those patients who eat grilled meat less often. Please continue reading if you want to find out how cooking meats at very high temperatures can generate toxins and what you can do to protect your health.

What Does the Research Tell Us about Eating Animal Meat?

The study which was conducted at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute followed 1,508 breast cancer patients for a span of 17.6 years. Researchers found that a higher meat intake prior to the breast cancer diagnosis was associated with an astounding 23% risk of dying from any cause. Additionally, consuming higher amounts of grilled and smoked meats after the breast cancer diagnosis carried an increased mortality rate of 31%.

There are many other studies with similar results, showing that the incidence of several types of cancers increases among those who regularly eat meat cooked at very high temperatures. For one, in a study conducted at University of Minnesota, women who consume overcooked hamburgers increase their risk of getting breast cancer by no less than 50%, compared to women who eat their burgers medium or rare.

How You Prepare Your Food Matters

According to experts, foods that are cooked through broiling, frying, grilling, roasting, and searing can expose your body to harmful chemicals and glycotoxins which are DNA-altering mutagens.

These toxic compounds are released during the “browning” process wherein the grilled meat becomes charred. The browning reaction that is caused by cooking at very high temperatures releases polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines which are associated with breast and prostate cancers.

How do advanced glycation end products increase cancer risk and damage the body?

Advanced glycation end products or AGEs occur naturally in foods. They can also be formed in the body through normal metabolism. The problem is, when they exist in excessively high amounts in the bloodstream or in tissues, they can become pathogenic. They can also cause tissue-damaging oxidative stress and result in chronic inflammation. Aside from these, they can alter antibodies, enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters – damaging cell DNA and increasing the risk of cancer.

How Can You Reduce AGEs Consumption?

You can always start by avoiding highly-cooked foods. Instead, try “moist heat” methods of cooking like poaching, boiling, steaming, and stewing. You should also cook at lower temperatures. Cooking using acidic ingredients like vinegar and lemon in marinades can cut production of AGEs significantly.

Plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grains have much lower levels of AGEs. Foods that are higher in protein and fat are also likely to be high in AGEs.

If it’s impossible to avoid a plate of grilled meat occasionally, it would be a good idea to prep your meat using an acidic marinade and serve it with broccoli and Brussels sprouts for your side dish!

Want to learn how you can eat and live healthy the natural way? Give Sloan Natural Health Center a call today!