“You don’t want fried chicken, obviously, with all its fat and cholesterol, but it turns out that grilled chicken is peppered with chemicals clearly linked to cancer”
Michael Erikson, Chemist, M.S. Sullivan and Chad Sandusky, toxicologist, PhD, USA.
The danger of consuming fried, grilled or blackened meat
Grilled meat contains one of the most potent carcinogens known: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The sure signs are the black stripes from the grill. When fire directly touches meat the fat liquefies and drips into the fire. This vaporises into polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-containing flames, creating dangerous cancer-causing compounds that rise in the form of gas and reattach to the meat. There is a consistent association between grilled or blackened PAH meat consumption and high rates of cancer¹. Sadly, when scientists want to create cancer in animals in a laboratory, they will often use PAH because it is so effective at creating cancer. Yet, we eat it by choice.
“This research reinforces the relationship between diet and cancer. These results strongly support what we suspected — people who eat a lot of meat, particularly fried or barbecued, seem to have a higher likelihood of bladder cancer”
Professor Xifeng Wu, to the American Association for Cancer Research, 2010.
Cooked meat contains carcinogens
Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are a family of 17 mutagenic cancer-causing compounds that are produced during any high-temperature cooking process of chicken, beef, pork or meat. Even meat that is cooked under normal grilling, frying, or oven broiling can contain significant quantities of HCAs². HCAs raise cancer risk by more than two-and-a-half and increase bladder cancer risk by up to five times in some people³. Cooked meat becomes a source of carcinogens and mutagens, such as HCAs, some of which are distributed to the mammary gland, increasing breast cancer formation⁴. PhIP is another highly dangerous compound in cooked meat that has been known to cause cancer for more than a decade. The longer and hotter the meat is cooked, the more PhIP is present in the meat, the more cancerous compounds form. Alongside cleaning products and dust, beef, pork and dairy foods are associated with tested human urinary levels of various antibiotics and chemical phthalates⁵.
White meat being better than red meat is a myth
Grilled chicken has been shown to form higher concentrations of PhIP and HCAs than other types of cooked red meat⁶. Fried chicken is coated in rancid starches and then cooked. The recipe for most commercial fried chicken batter is basically white flour, white sugar, salt, black pepper and monosodium glutamate (MSG). You know who I am talking about here and it is no secret recipe … Kids Fattening Centre indeed. Just this is bad enough. However, when you eat a diet rich in fried starches, you also create acrylamides, which raise your risk of kidney cancer by 59%, your risk of ovarian cancer by up to 122% and your risk of endometrial cancer by up to 99%⁷.
I have not eaten chicken for many years, nor will I ever again.
Further Reading: The research, studies and food recommendations from the WCRF & AICR 2018, to help lower your risk of, and to prevent, breast cancer, are built around following; a no-alcohol, plant-based wholefood diet.
The Associations between Food, Nutrition and Physical Activity and the Risk of Breast Cancer – World Cancer Research Fund International Systematic Literature Review 2017
White meat like chicken is no better than red meat: References:
- Study by Norat, T., Riboli, E., ‘Meat consumption and colorectal cancer: a review of epidemiologic evidence.’ Nutrition Reviews, 2001, 59(2):37–47.
- Skog, K.I., Johansson, M.A.E., Jagerstad, M.I., ‘Carcinogenic heterocyclic amines in model systems and cooked foods: a review on formation, occurrence, and intake.’ Food and Chemical Toxicology, 1998, 36:879–896. Also, Meat Science, June 2011, 88(2):227–33.
- Study by Professor Xifeng Wu and scientists at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas, based on 12-year research findings on over 1700 people. Presented at the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, Washington, DC, 2010.
- Snyderwine, E.G., ‘Some perspectives on the nutritional aspects of breast cancer research: Food-derived heterocyclic amines as etiologic agents in human mammary cancer.’ Cancer, 1994, 74(3 suppl.):1070–1077.
- M. Wormuth, M. Scheringer, M. Vollenweider and K. Hungerbuhler, ‘What are the sources of exposure to eight frequently used phthalic esters in Europeans?’ Risk Analysis, 2006, 26(3):803–824. Also see, Swan, S.H., ‘Environmental phthalate exposure in relation to reproductive outcomes and other health endpoints in humans.’ Environmental Research, 2008, 108(2):177–184.
- Sinha, R., Rothman, N., Brown, E.D., et al., ‘High concentrations of the carcinogen 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo-[4,5] pyridine [PhlP] occur in chicken but are dependent on the cooking method.’ Cancer Research, 1995, 55:4516–4519.
- Researchers from Maastricht University and the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, J.G. Hogervorst, L.J. Schouten, E.J. Konings, R.A. Goldbohm, P.A. van den Brandt, ‘Dietary acrylamide intake and the risk of renal cell, bladder, and prostate cancer.’ American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 2008, Vol. 87, No. 5, pp. 1428–1438.
Jason wishes to deeply thank, acknowledge and recognise the effort and contribution that the PIF Foundation has provided on a voluntary basis since 2014, as we educated, motivated and inspired change that helps transform the health, vitality and longevity of people all over the world.