Our bodies are less efficient at detoxifying heterocyclic amines—carcinogens formed from cooked muscle tissue—than once believed.
That’s why you have to cook the crap out of them—literally. But seventy years ago this month a Swedish researcher first reported that feeding mice roasted horse muscles caused cancer. This “cancer producing substance” has since been identified. Heterocyclic amines are “the carcinogenic chemicals formed from the cooking of muscles…such as beef, pork, [poultry], and fish” created when the building blocks of muscles react to high heat—roasting, frying, grilling, barbequeing.
Seventeen different such carcinogens have so far been discovered in cooked meats, and it goes on to explain how people eating meat well-done appear to have higher cancer risk than those eating meat cooked rare. So we’re kind of damned if we do and damned if we don’t, because, you know, we’re not supposed to eat meat rare any more because of the risk of food poisoning. So it’s like we can take our pick—cancer or E coli.
The reason we’re so concerned these days about these cooked meat carcinogens is that last year we learned that humans are much more susceptible than we thought. The prior research was done on rats, and rodents have to this uncanny ability to detoxify 99% of the heterocyclic amines we stuff down their throats. But last year we discovered that the human liver can only detoxify 50% of the carcinogens we get from eating cooked chicken, for example. So instead of 1% getting into our system—based on rat studies—we now know 50% gets into our bloodstream, so now we’re 50 times more concerned.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.
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Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the prequel to this video, "Fecal Residues on Chicken." Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!