CANCER Enhancer: Smoked, grilled & preserved foods

Posted by admin | On: Oct 18 2017

Cancer involves the abnormal division and reproduction of cells that can spread throughout the body.

Nutrition may modify the carcinogenic process at any stage, including carcinogen metabolism, cellular & host defense, cell differentiation & tumor growth. Gene expression can be promoted or altered by nutrients during pregnancy, childhood and throughout lifetime. Thus nutrition and diet contribute approximately 35% to causal factors for cancer (Greenwald et al., 2006).

Food preparation & preservation may also provide dietary carcinogens. Diets contain both inhibitor & enhancers of carcinogenesis. Dietary carcinogen inhibitors include ANTIOXIDANTS (e.g. vitamin C Vitamin A and the carotenoids, Vitamin E, selenium, Zinc) & phytochemicals. Dietary carcinogenesis enhancers may be the fat in red meat or the polycyclic aromatic hydro carbons (PAHs) that form with the grilling of meat at high heat.iStock_000001061958_Small

Nitrates are added as preservative to processed meats. Nitrates can be converted to nitrites, which in turns can interact with dietary substrates such as amines and amides to produce N-nitroso compounds (NOCs) which are known mutagens & carcinogens. Nitrates or nitrites are used in smoked, salted & pickled foods. Sodium & potassium nitrates are present in a variety of foods, and give hot dogs and processed meats their pink color (Mahan L. K., 2012).

Diets high in amounts of fruits and vegetables that contains vitamin C & phytochemicals that can retard conversion of nitrites to NOCs should be encourage (kushi et al., 2006).

Charring or cooking meat at high temperatures over an open flame (400⁰ F or more) can cause the formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons PAHs) and heterocyclic amines. PAHs has shown clear mutagenicity and carcinogenicity. Normal frying or roasting food does not produce large amounts of PAHs compared with the amount produced when cooking over flames. The source of the flame can also influence PAHs production; CHARCOAL GRILLING promotes the most, followed by FLAMED GAS, and finally OVEN GRILLING (Farhadian et al., 2010).

meat-smoking-loinsSmoking is a well-known source of food contaminated caused by carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Epidemiological studies indicates a statistical correlation between the increased occurrence of cancer of the intestinal tract and the frequent intake of smoked foods. As observed during the last 10 years in a certain district of Hungary with a Slovenian population, the percentage of stomach cancer among all types of cancer is nearly twice as high (47-50%) as in Hungary altogether (29.9%) (Fritz W et al 1980).

Considering the increasing rate of cancer diagnosis every year, we can clearly see from the above observations and the changes in dietary pattern, one of the main cause of cancer is due to food habits in addition to sedentary life style. Processed meat, smoked meat has been eating since ancient time but the consumption of carcinogen inhibitors (organic fruits & vegetables) that protected them from cancer formation. In the modern days the availability or accessibility or affordability of organic foods are drastically reduced whereas processed foods are more conveniently accessible, also people are running after smoked or grilled foods, carcinogen enhancers, because of the peculiar taste.



Pamchui Vashi

Sr. Nutritionist

Msc. Food, Nutrition & Dietetics



Leave a comment