Understanding the link between colon cancer and meat
Several past studies have linked meat eating and colon cancer risk. This new study goes a step farther and demonstrates the underlying chemical mechanism. This is important because it gives more specific information about the types of eating behavior that can lead to extra risk of getting colon cancer.
Scientists analyzed levels of certain compounds: heme iron, nitrate, nitrite and mutagens in various types of meat cooked different ways. After analyzing 300,000 people over 7 years, the scientists found links between the presence of the compounds and the increased colon cancer risk. The extra risk can be explained by the higher consumption of red and processed meats, as well as certain meats cooked at high temperatures. These types of meat and cooking methods increased the amount of the chemical compounds. Scientists have found 17 different substances in cooked beef, pork, poultry and fish can pose cancer risk. Several of these substances are not present in unless the food is cooked at high temperatures. When fish, poultry, beef and pork are cooked at high temperatures, naturally occurring creatine combines with amino acids to form the dangerous substances, known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs).
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