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Barbecuing Your Meat Will Increase Your Breast Cancer Risk

I warned you seven years ago that the way you prepare meat -- cooking it at high temperatures -- may worsen a postmenopausal woman's risk of breast cancer, and a new study from the journal Epidemiology does nothing to dispel it.

Researchers examined the consumption of meat (both recent and over a lifetime) among more than 1,550 healthy women versus nearly the same number who had suffered from breast cancer. Even though scientists backed away from any notion that cooked meats caused breast cancer, they recognized all the problems with the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines (HCA) that form when meats mix with high temperatures.

The numbers really paint the picture, however. Two-thirds of the postmenopausal women who ate the most barbecued, grilled or smoked meats, more than once each week, were nearly 50 percent more likely to suffer from breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer jumped to 74 percent among those same women who ate lots of meat at high temperatures at the expense of fewer fruits and vegetables.

The keys here to sidestepping these cancer risks are pretty simple. For one, always choose the right kind of meat to eat -- ideally grass-fed, organic meats.

It's also important to cook your meat at low temperatures. Another safe way to reduce the HCAs in meat even more: Add cherries, vitamin E or blueberries to your ground meat.

Epidemiology, Vol. 18, No. 3, May 2007: 373-382

Yahoo News May 3, 2007