(NaturalNews) You may want to think twice about cooking that meat well-done, according to a new study out of the University of Texas. Researchers there have found that charring meat by frying, barbecuing or otherwise heavily cooking it can lead to the formation of cancer-causing chemicals in the meat.
The study explains that people who eat well-done meat double their risk of developing bladder cancer when compared to people who eat meat on the rarer end of the spectrum. This is due primarily to the heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that form when meat is cooked at very high heat.
Researchers found that three different HCA chemicals form during high-heat cooking that, collectively, raise a person's cancer risk by more than 250 percent. And in people who are genetically predisposed to developing the disease from the meat, the risk jumps nearly 500 percent.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has identified a total of 17 different HCAs that contribute to causing cancer, and prior research has already established that these char-induced chemicals increase pancreatic cancer risk. But now it appears that they contribute to bladder cancer as well.
The study sheds further light on the direct correlation between the foods we eat and our overall level of health.
"This research reinforces the relationship between diet and cancer," explained Professor Xifeng Wu, lead author of the study, to the American Association for Cancer Research.
The study team made very clear in its report that meat itself is not necessarily the culprit in increasing cancer risk, but rather the intense cooking methods by which it is prepared. And it is not just charred red meat - chicken, pork and even fish cooked heavily may also form cancer-causing HCAs.
Researchers did point out, however, that eating red and processed meat can increase one's risk of developing bowel cancer. But no distinction was made between grass-fed and grain-fed meat and whether or not animal husbandry methods play a role in the health factors of meat, so it is best to investigate this matter for yourself.
According to the U.K. Food Standards Agency, keeping meat away from direct flames when barbecuing or grilling it will help to reduce the development of HCAs and lower one's risk of developing cancer. Slow-cooking meat is another way to inhibit HCS formation.