Carcinogens in the Smell of Frying Bacon

Carcinogens in the Smell of Frying Bacon
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Frying bacon outdoors decreases the concentration of airborne nitrosamine carcinogens.

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The level of nitrosamines in bacon is so high that these carcinogens have been discovered even in the vapors from fried bacon—you know the smell of frying bacon that everyone loves so much? Well, one of the more potent carcinogenic nitrosamines is in those fumes. You’re breathing it in.

In fact, if you’ve got to cook something like bacon and eggs, the barbecue people have the right idea—do it outdoors, in the fresh air. The amount of deposited particles deep into the lung of an individual indoors exceeded by up to ten times the amount received by an individual at the same time period outdoors.

Just don’t run around or play Frisbee or anything near the grill, as the number of deposited particles significantly increases with exercise, just because you’re inhaling greater lung volumes.

It’s kind of the secondhand smoke of the meat world.

What about tempeh bacon? Tempeh is probably the closest plant-based thing to cured meat; it’s a fermented soybean product. “Airborne Mutagens Produced by Frying Beef, Pork, and a Soy-based Food.” What do you think they found?

Airborne cooking by-products from frying burgers, bacon and tempeh, were collected, extracted, and tested for mutagenicity, the ability to damage and mutate DNA. The fumes generated by frying pork and beef were mutagenic, especially the bacon—found 15 times worse than the beef, but no mutagenicity was detected in fumes from frying tempeh burgers.

The researchers suggest that this may explain both the increased risk of respiratory tract cancer among cooks, as well as the lower proportion of deaths from respiratory diseases and lung cancer among vegetarians.

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 Dianne Moore.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Renee Comet for the National Cancer Institute via Wikimedia commons and anemptygun / Flickr

The level of nitrosamines in bacon is so high that these carcinogens have been discovered even in the vapors from fried bacon—you know the smell of frying bacon that everyone loves so much? Well, one of the more potent carcinogenic nitrosamines is in those fumes. You’re breathing it in.

In fact, if you’ve got to cook something like bacon and eggs, the barbecue people have the right idea—do it outdoors, in the fresh air. The amount of deposited particles deep into the lung of an individual indoors exceeded by up to ten times the amount received by an individual at the same time period outdoors.

Just don’t run around or play Frisbee or anything near the grill, as the number of deposited particles significantly increases with exercise, just because you’re inhaling greater lung volumes.

It’s kind of the secondhand smoke of the meat world.

What about tempeh bacon? Tempeh is probably the closest plant-based thing to cured meat; it’s a fermented soybean product. “Airborne Mutagens Produced by Frying Beef, Pork, and a Soy-based Food.” What do you think they found?

Airborne cooking by-products from frying burgers, bacon and tempeh, were collected, extracted, and tested for mutagenicity, the ability to damage and mutate DNA. The fumes generated by frying pork and beef were mutagenic, especially the bacon—found 15 times worse than the beef, but no mutagenicity was detected in fumes from frying tempeh burgers.

The researchers suggest that this may explain both the increased risk of respiratory tract cancer among cooks, as well as the lower proportion of deaths from respiratory diseases and lung cancer among vegetarians.

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 Dianne Moore.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Renee Comet for the National Cancer Institute via Wikimedia commons and anemptygun / Flickr

Doctor's Note

For more on the dangers of processed meats, see Prevention Is Better Than Cured MeatWhen Nitrites Go Bad; and Bacon and Botulism. For more comparisons between meat and veggie meats, see Chicken vs. Veggie ChickenWhat Is Really in Hot Dogs? and Carcinogens in Roasted Coffee.

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Using Greens to Improve Athletic PerformanceKiwi Fruit for Irritable Bowel SyndromeHead Shrinking from Grilling Meat; and Is Caffeinated Tea Really Dehydrating?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

 

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