Men's Health

Fried Meat May Boost Prostate Cancer Risk

How a man cooks his dinner may affect his risk for prostate cancer. Pan-frying red meat at high temperatures creates cancer-causing chemicals, something that doesn't happen when meat is broiled or grilled.

Photo of meat and vegetables on a grill

When looking at data from a prostate cancer study, researchers at the University of Southern California and the Cancer Prevention Institute of California found that men who ate more than 1.5 servings of pan-fried red meat per week increased their risk for advanced prostate cancer by 30 percent.

"In addition, men who ate more than 2.5 servings of red meat cooked at high temperatures were 40 percent more likely to have advanced prostate cancer," says study leader Mariana Stern, Ph.D.

Burgers raised risk

Hamburgers, in particular, were linked to an increased risk for prostate cancer. The risk was greatest among Hispanic men.

Dr. Stern speculates that these findings are because hamburgers can contain higher levels of carcinogens. Both the internal and external cooking temperatures rise faster for a hamburger than for a steak.

Men who ate mostly baked poultry had a lower risk for advanced prostate cancer. Those who ate pan-fried poultry had a greater risk for the disease. Researchers concluded that diets rich in pan-fried meat or poultry of any kind may increase men's risk for prostate cancer.

Cooking creates chemicals

They believe that heterocyclic amines - DNA-damaging carcinogens - are formed during the cooking process and may be to blame for the higher risk.

These cancer-causing chemicals are formed when sugars and amino acids are cooked at higher temperatures for longer periods of time.

Dr. Stern says the findings from this study alone are not enough to make any health recommendations. But she says that making simple changes in the kitchen might help men reduce their risk for prostate cancer.

The study was published online in a recent issue of the journal Carcinogenesis.

Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.

Online Resources

(Our Organization is not responsible for the content of Internet sites.)

American Heart Association - Healthier Preparation Methods for Cooking

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute - Meal Planning: Healthy Cooking Techniques

National Cancer Institute - Chemicals in Meat Cooked at High Temperatures and Cancer Risk

November 2012

Tips for Tuning Up Your Nutrition

Eating healthier food to improve your health or reduce your waistline isn't as difficult as you may think. Small dietary changes, made gradually, can result in substantial improvement over time.

Nutrition experts offer the following guidelines for improving your diet and your health:

  • Increase your fiber. Your diet should include plenty of fiber, which helps you to feel full faster. Fiber is found in vegetables; beans and legumes; whole-grain breads, cereals and pasta; oatmeal; and berries and other fresh or dried fruit. As you add fiber, make sure you're also drinking six to eight glasses of water a day.

  • Choose lean protein. The leanest sources of protein include turkey breast, skinless chicken breast, egg whites, lean red meats, low-fat yogurt, skim milk, low-fat cheese, beans, lentils, most seafood and fish, split peas, chickpeas and tofu.

  • Go low-salt. Seek low-salt condiments if you're trying to reduce your sodium intake. Ketchup, mustard, salad dressings, powdered sauces, soy sauce and steak sauce are all high in sodium.

  • Cook with good fats. When you cook with fat, use the monounsaturated kind. Olive oil, peanut oil, sesame seed oil, and canola oil are high in monounsaturated fat - the kind that helps lower blood cholesterol.

Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.

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