Cooking Red Meat On Lower Heat Could Reduce Its Cancer Risk, So Here Are Some Options For The Steak Lovers In The Crowd
Meat lovers of the world, rejoice! According to a study published in the new issue of Cancer, cooking meat on lower heat may cut its cancer-causing risks. This is good news, right? I know you suffered a serious blow in October when a World Health Organization report revealed that red meat probably causes cancer. But because there is indubitably a breakfast-loving scientist somewhere in the world who refuses to give up hope on the egg's tastiest companion, research rages on in the name of bacon.
In an attempt to pinpoint a way to prepare meat that might help avoid you prematurely showing up at that great barbecue joint in the sky, scientists explored how certain variants might affect meat-cooking mutagens' risk of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). What they found and documented in the study was that cooking red and processed meat on lower heat could possibly lower the probability of cancerous tumor growth. Points out co-author Stephanie Melkonian, "The lower-risk methods are baking and broiling." Other potentially less harmful means of preparation may include using a slow cooker, or — if you're a culinary tour de force — sous-viding, the French cooking method by which food is sealed in airtight bags and heated via water bath.
So here's the thing: I know you love grilling classic fare like hot dogs and hamburgers. Who could blame you? There's something strangely patriotic about it. However, it might be time to pump the breaks on your grilling habit for a bit. Although more research will continue to either corroborate or refute these findings, the evidence at the moment is mounting quickly — and it's not good, my carnivorous friends. More than 800 studies investigating the connection between red meat, processed meats, and cancer were taken into account for the World Health Organization report that originally divulged the potential risks of these meats. Bottom line? As little as 50 grams of these meats per day up your risk of colorectal cancer nearly twofold. That's the equivalent of two slices of bacon, FYI.
However, if you can't imagine a world without sausage, bacon, ham, steak, and other carnivorous fare, here are a few things you can do to offset your moderate consumption of potentially cancer-causing meats.
1. Consider Alternative Cooking Methods
If you're feeling adventurous and know your way around the kitchen, why not try your hand at sous-viding? It may mean worrying less about that daily bacon fix of yours, so experimenting with some bags of water might be worth it. But if that seems altogether too intimidating, break out the slow-cooker. Bake, or broil. Maybe the raw foodists have had the right idea all along, in which case, we should never cook food at any temp over 112 degrees.
2. Make The Swap To White Meat
Processed meats — the most common of which include bacon, sausage, and hot dogs — pose the highest cancer risk of the meat family. Red meats — think beef, pork, mutton, veal, lamb, and goat — trail not far behind. So if you are going to eat meat, at least periodically swap some of it out for white meat. Fewer studies link poultry to the kind of cancer risk associated with the other meats. It should be noted, though, that white meat eaters still face triple the risk of developing colorectal cancer as vegetarians.
3. Eat More Veggies
If you want to eliminate the cancer-causing risk of consuming meat altogether, well, you need only cut out your consumption of meat altogether. This is harder said than done, I know. I've been a vegetarian for more than a decade, and there are still days when the smell of bacon sizzling on the stove brings me to my knees. But the general consensus among scientists and nutrition experts is that there is no cancer-causing risk involved in eating fruits and vegetables — non-organic or otherwise. Besides, a cursory search on Pinterest proves that the modern culinary world offers myriad delicious alternatives to meat.