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Carcinogens in Roasted Coffee?

If there are carcinogens created when you roast chicken, what about roasted coffee beans?

November 17, 2009 |
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Supplementary Info

Sources Cited


Image thanks to lgkiii.


In the U.S., though, children have the highest levels of these carcinogens in their bodies. And these chemicals may play a role in our childhood asthma epidemic as well. Two things seem to do it: meat intake, and the presence of smokers in the home. So parents need to be educated to take certain precautions: no indoor smoking, and reducing their children’s intake of grilled and smoked meat so as to decrease their exposure to these carcinogens.
Warnings about meat in general is kind of vague, though. Where are these carcinogens found most? Flame-broiled burger or fried? Pan-fried chicken? Lamb chop, pork chop, or grilled salmon?
Salmon is bad, but for the first time it seems, chicken… beats out fish for carcinogenic contamination.
Chickens aren’t the only things roasted, though What about coffee beans? Measured for the first time this year, but… they don’t have any muscles, so they only contributed “very insignificant quantities.” And an earlier study found zero mutagenicity from frying veggie burgers—again, they are not “muscle meat.” The carcinogen is created from the muscle itself—in fact it has been detected in roasted human muscle too, though I really don’t know why that even did that study.

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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Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

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 theother videos on cooking methods. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

Please also check out my associated blog post for more context: Avoid Cooked Meat Carcinogens

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    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 other videos on cooking methods. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • Lynn Scott

    Great info as always, Michael. My question is…I am 74 and have been a “vegetarian” for about 32 years. I certainly haven’t alway eaten well and had tiny bits of meat here and there. Lots of cheese, and other dairy. Before that I ate a pretty meat centric I am told I don’t need any more mammograms or colonoscopies. That is a bit worrisome. If I might have 20 or more years left, Isn’t it playing a dangerous game? I have been mostly raw vegan and now McDougall plan the last few years. I certainly hope it helps. What does your research showing? Thanks. Lynn

    • Don Forrester MD

      Congratulations on your healthy diet. We certainly can’t go back and undo our past diet but it is important to realize that the body works to heal itself and get rid of the mercury, arsenic and persistent organic pollutants that we ingest when we eat meat, dairy, eggs and cheese. Although I now recommend patients avoid GMO products… to find out more about that visit the website for the Institute of Responsible Technology & see…. for a shopping guide. As far as screening tests the mammogram issue from a science and statistic stand point is no longer up in the air. I advise my patients not to obtain and to read the Nordic Cochrane Center’s Leaflet on Mammogram screening available on the web. Screening for colon cancer is best done by sigmoidoscopy(short scope) once after age 55 with consideration for colonoscopy depending on the results. You can read more about screening tests on the McDougall clinics website. It is important to continue to eat right as Dr. Greger has pointed out in his videos to prevent cancer and possibly reverse precancerous lesions. The best science shows that a non GMO whole food starch centered diet with a variety of vegetables and fruits with adequate B12 intake is the best course. Of course the science keeps changing so keep tuned to and if you have symptoms or questions work with your physicians.

  • Roberta

    Thanks to your info Dr Greger, I have discovered how to boost the nutrition of my morning 2 cups of coffee which I drink in 16 oz mug,( which I used to self-deceptively call “a cup”). I add one quarter teaspoon of each:dried powdered Acai, marqui, and hybiscus, plus soy milk. This is amazingly so much better tasting to me,I look forward to it and feel good about consuming this consciously designed high ORAC drink.

  • Curious Researcher

    Acrylamide cause cancer in animals. It’s no wonder pets get cancer. Their kibble is cooked to death.
    Only two ways I cook my foods are steaming and medium-heat sautéing.