Will Hetero Cyclic Amines from Meat items cooked at high temperatures induce Cancer?

Generally we think that “Fast Food” are unhealthy and we prefer to dine out in good restaurants or eat at our homes. According to the studies by the “National Cancer Institute” and the Japanese and European scientists, cooking meat items such as:-

  • Beef,
  • Chicken and
  • Fish.

at a very high temperature and for a long time amino acids, proteins and creatine present in the meat react an a chemical, named Hetero Cyclic Amine (HCA) gets formed, which will induce certain types of Cancer, such as:-

  • Stomach cancer,
  • Colo rectal cancer,
  • Pancreatic cancer and
  • Breast cancer.

In view of the above studies, we have to understand that meat items cooked in fast food centers are less harmful than those cooked at very big restaurants and homes. Because in fast food centers the food items are heated only for a limited time. Whereas, in cooking meat at restaurants and hotels the meat items are heated for a long time and to keep the stuff hot they are being kept under constant heating. Even at homes, we cook meat items for a long time in high temperature to get the meat well cooked for easy digestion and for taste. Mostly, the food items at home are heated again before eating and the repeated heating will increase the risk of HCA formation.

It has also been found that meat items which are partially cooked in the microwave oven before cooking by other methods have lower levels of HCAs. Microwaving meat prior to cooking will help to decrease ‘mutagens’ by removing the precursors. Meats which are microwaved for 2 minutes prior to cooking will have a 90-percent decrease in HCA content. And when the liquid which is formed during microwaving is poured off before further cooking, the final quantity of HCA will be reduced. The following four factors influence HCA formation:-

  • Type of Meat,
  • Cooking method.
  • Temperature and
  • Time of Cooking.

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