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Overcooked Meat Linked to Cancer and Dementia

overcooked meatFor years, TV advertising campaigns have aired each summer to warn us of the dangers of undercooking food on our BBQs. Now, though, it has emerged that overcooked meat also carries health risks. While it has been previously revealed that meat overcooked on BBQs and grills carries carcinogens, recent findings have also found a link with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Glycotoxins Form in Blackened Meat

Scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine have identified compounds called glycotoxins that begin to form when meat is heavily browned or blackened when grilled.

Initially, the researchers fed mice on a diet high in glycotoxins, with findings revealing that their brains generated amyloid proteins at an accelerated pace. And the issue here is that amyloid proteins are what generate harmful plaque within the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Below are the results of the object recognition test.

overcooked meat Source: University of Oxford, 2014

From the above chart, MG- denotes the mice that were not fed with glycotoxins, where as MG+ denotes those that were. The test entailed showing each of the mice a familiar object and then a new one. Results show that the MG- were more likely to explore the objects and performed better when recognising that each object was different. A gap of at least 0.2 in the discrimination ratio was enough to demonstrate significance.

After concluding testing on the mice, the researchers next monitored 93 New York residents to analyse their glycotoxin levels over a period of nine months. To summarise, the researchers found that the participants with the highest levels of glycotoxins exhibited a greater degree of cognitive decline than those with lower levels.

Researcher Michael Woodward was eager to highlight that the ‘studies are only preliminary and more evidence is required.’ Nevertheless, Woodward was willing to advice that overcooked foods high in fat ‘can be linked to diseases such as dementia, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.’

Heavily Grilled Meat Increases Cancer Risk

More research studies will be required to further analyse the impact of glycotoxins on cognitive function, but what we know already is that heavily grilled meat presents an increased cancer risk across multiple variations. Multiple studies have found the link between well-done meat and carcinogens.

Grilling is a high-temperature form of cooking that triggers the formation of Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) along with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). And the issue with their formation is that HCAs and PAHs are mutagenic. Consequently, they have the power to alter DNA and heighten cancer risk.

For added perspective, it is worth explaining that HCAs are formed when meat is exposed to high temperatures. Meanwhile, PAHs are formed when the juices from meat drop onto the flame below, causing the flame to touch the meat. PAHs are also commonly found in fumes from car exhausts and cigarettes.

America is a country renowned for its love of grilling, and that affection has prompted the National Cancer Institute (NIH) to provide to advise how you can minimise the formation of HCAs and PAHs. Just follow the three simple steps below…

overcooked meat Source: NCI, 2015

Eat Healthy for Lower Insurance Premiums

The Association of British Insurers revealed that £700 was the average premium for private medical insurance in 2013. When obtaining private medical insurance, you have to undergo a thorough application process in which you share intimate details about your health and lifestyle. Hiding things from these seasoned professionals is almost impossible, so they will quickly discover if you are eating poorly.

Medical insurance works on the simple basis that healthier people will pay lower premiums because they are deemed less likely to submit a claim. Therefore, you should make changes to adopt a healthier lifestyle if you want to pay lower premiums.

Of course, living a healthier lifestyle is much simpler in theory than it is to practice. For instance, exercising too intensely or cycling to work can expose you to risks. Furthermore, it becomes more difficult to remain aware of the foods that are currently good for us.

And with BBQ season now upon us in the UK, heavily grilled meat is an issue for many. Based on the presence of credible findings that suggest links to cancer and dementia, it would be wise to heed the advice of the NIH to grill more safely this summer.