The problem may not be the meat itself, but the chemicals formed when red meat is cooked. According to the national Cancer Institute, heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are chemicals formed when meat, including beef, pork, fish, or poultry, is cooked using high-temperature methods. This includes pan frying or grilling directly over an open flame. In laboratory experiments, HCAs and PAHs have been found to be mutagenic—that is, can increase the risk of cancer.
How can we reduce our exposure to these chemicals?
1. Try to avoid direct exposure of meat to an open flame or a hot metal surface and avoid prolonged cooking times (especially at high temperatures).
2. Use a microwave oven to cook meat prior to exposure to high temperatures. This reduces the time that meat is in contact with high heat to finish cooking.
3. Continuously turn meat over on its high heat source.
4. Remove charred portions of meat and refrain from using gravy made from meat drippings.