Meat Free Monday One day a week can make a world of difference

Dangers of barbecued meat worse than thought

Carbonised meat may be more than twice as bad for the health as previously thought, according to new research from Norway.

Posted : 7 November 2011

A report from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health says overcooking or barbecuing meat – long known to be linked to cancer – produces significantly more carcinogens than had been believed, because mice used in research until now have not been “human” enough.

Enzymes in the body known as sulfotransferases (sult) are able both to make certain substances less harmful and turn others into carcinogens. Mice only have sult in their livers, while humans have them in several parts of their bodies.

As a result, mice that were experimented upon to assess the carcinogenicity of food have not been providing sufficiently accurate results. The Norwegian scientists inserted more sult into mice – and found that the incidence of intestinal cancer in those fed meat crust increased from 31 to 80 per cent, compared to normal mice fed the same food.

Food mutagens are cancer-causing substances that develop in meat grilled or fried at high temperatures. A 12-year study produced by the University of Texas last year showed last year that eating well-done meat more than doubles the risk of developing bladder cancer.

For a meat-free barbecue, simply thread oil-brushed vegetables or fruit onto skewers and season with your choice of herbs or spices. Alternatively, try this delicious recipe for an aubergine mixed grill.

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