How you like your meat cooked could give you a clue about your cancer risk.
Before you sink your teeth into a big, juicy burger, make sure it isn’t well done to help lower your risk of prostate cancer.
Cooking red meats at high temperatures—especially pan-fried red meats—may increase the risk of advanced prostate cancer by as much as 40 percent, according to the The California Collaborative Prostate Cancer Study. Specifically, men who ate just 1.5 to 2.5 servings of pan-fried red meat per week increased their prostate-cancer risk by 30 percent, and chowing more than 2.5 servings a week upped their odds by 40 percent. Researchers speculate that DNA-damaging carcinogens—chemicals linked to prostate and other cancers—produced at high temperatures could be to blame.
The study involved nearly 2,000 men of all different ethnicities. Each participant completed a questionnaire that asked about how much meat they ate and whether it was usually poultry or red meat. The participants also had to supply information about their cooking methods with color photos of the meat to show the level of doneness. More than 1,000 participants of study participants were diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. After examining the data, here is what the researchers found:
• Pan-frying meat—whether it be chicken or beef—is linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer.
• Hamburgers cause more of a risk for prostate cancer than steak. Hamburgers heat up quickly so it’s a lot easier to overcook them, which causes a higher accumulation of carcinogens in the meat.
• Baked poultry was linked to a decreased risk of prostate cancer, but pan-fried poultry still caused an increased risk, even though it wasn’t red meat.
You don’t need to give up all of your burger and steak nights. Instead, try cooking your beef or poultry at lower temperatures or bake them instead. It may also be a good idea to alternate your carnivorous meals with fish, quinoa, and other alternative sources of protein.