Scientists have found that the type of meat and the style in which it is cooked have health consequences for the consumers.
A high protein diet – especially one that contains meat – may cause kidney cancer. This could be due to the way the meat is cooked. There is undoubtedly a genetic component to this whole risk among individuals.
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But lifestyle and environmental factors are also involved in the etiology of the disease. The journal of the American Cancer Society had a paper published early online in CANCER and now in it. This article showed how diet and genes interact to increase the risk for kidney cancer.
Termed Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC) the disease is the most common type of cancer in adults. This malady has been rampant in Western societies. A western diet which is protein-heavy may be responsible for this phenomenon.
All sorts of meats, especially red meat, and processed packaged foods not to mention refined starches go on to clog the human physical system. The study focused on 659 patients and 699 normal healthy individuals were also factored in the equation. And the results are clear for all to see.
The patients with kidney cancer ate more meat of all sorts including red meat and white meat. As for those who did not have cancer, they were more into vegetables and fruits and whole foods and ate less meat.
Meat was just a flavoring agent in their diets. It was not the be all and end all of their existence. When meat is cooked at high heat or on a barbecue spit, the result is the formation of certain carcinogens in its fibers. And thus the epidemic of cancer has become so commonplace today. Genes do have their role, but so does a carcinogenic environment.
Some very complex amino acids were responsible for the interactions that produced the kidney cancer in the patients. Cooking the food over an open grill or frying it in a pan were the most hazardous methods of making the food palatable. Also barbecuing the food was a surefire way of inducing susceptibility to cancer among the consumers.
"Our study provides additional evidence for the role of red meat, white meat, and 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenyl-imidazo(4,5-b)pyridine (PhIP) in RCC etiology and is the first study of dietary intake of mutagenic compounds and RCC risk to suggest an association with 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo(4,5-f) quinoxaline (MeIQx), one of the most abundant heterocyclic amines commonly created in grilling, barbequing, and pan-frying meats at high temperatures," said Dr. Wu.
"Also, our study 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."
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The study does have its limits since it was carried out on non-Hispanic whites. More research and exploration of the issue will have to be done before we finally come up with the big picture. Besides one should not over generalize since not everyone who consumes steaks and sausages winds up with kidney cancer.