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Decoded: Grilled, barbecued meat might actually harm your health

The risk is high in individuals with certain genetic variants who are more susceptible to the harmful effects of cancer-causing chemicals that are produced when meat is cooked at high temperatures or over an open flame.

Close-up of shish kebab

Love pan-fried, grilled or barbecued meat? Read this very carefully, as meat that is cooked at high temperatures or over an open flame may impact kidney cancer risk, researchers warn.

The risk is high in individuals with certain genetic variants who are more susceptible to the harmful effects of cancer-causing chemicals that are produced when meat is cooked at high temperatures or over an open flame.

“A meat-rich diet may increase the risk of developing kidney cancer through mechanisms related to particular cooking compounds,’ the team from University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Centre noted.

To reach this conclusion, a team led by Dr Xifeng Wu studied the dietary intake and genetic risk factors of 659 patients newly diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) – the most common form of kidney cancer in adults — and 699 healthy controls.

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The researchers found that kidney cancer patients consumed more red and white meat compared with cancer-free individuals.

Also, cancer patients consumed more cancer-causing chemicals that are produced when meat is pan-fried, grilled or barbecued.

“Our study provides additional evidence for the role of red meat and white meat in RCC etiology. It is the first to evaluate the impact of RCC susceptibility variants, identified via genome-wide association studies, on the association between intake of mutagenic compounds and RCC risk,” Dr Wu explained.

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Investigators suspect that factors related to a western lifestyle — such as a diet high in meats, processed foods and starches — may play an important role in this trend.

“Reducing consumption of meat, especially when cooked at high temperatures or over an open flame, might serve as a public health intervention to reduce the risk of developing RCC,” the authors cautioned.

The incidence of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the most common form of kidney cancer in adults, has been increasing in the US and other developed nations, said the study that appeared online in the journal CANCER.

First published on: 10-11-2015 at 04:23:45 pm
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