Cooked meats and their relationship to breast and colon cancer

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Heterocylic Amines

During the 1970s, Japanese researchers found that the surfaces of broiled or barbecued meat and fish contained potent carcinogens. These compounds, known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs), enter cells, where they damage DNA and start the cancer process. They form during the cooking process from creatine, amino acids, and sugars in meats, and all it takes is heat to turn them on. Roasting, baking, and deep-fat frying all create the same hazardous results. The higher the temperature and the longer the cooking process, the more these dangerous carcinogens form. Even concentrated meat juices, as in beef extract or bouillon cubes, may also contain these potentially damaging substances. Recent studies show that grilled chicken ca be extraordinarily high in these carcinogens--fifteen times higher than roast beef or hamburger. Some people seem to be particularly susceptible to these carcinogens because their bodies are slow to eliminate them . This may contribute to colon or breast cancer "running in the family." There is also evidence that heterocylic amines may pass through breast milk and be transferred through the placenta to a fetus.

Healthy Eating for Life to Prevent and Treat Cancer, Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine.

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