Sad News For Some Barbecue Lovers

Hey there, Happy New Year ( a few days late).

Here in North Carolina, the New Year started off with a snow storm we’re still thawing out from.

I love it when it snows. There’s nothing quite like a white wonderland to make everything feel new again.

That being said, I know a number of people who don’t enjoy the snow. Part of the reason is because snow interferes with their backyard barbecuing and grilling.

As many of you know, North Carolina’s weather is great for barbecues all year long. I guess that’s why we’re world-famous for our grilled meats and tangy bbq.

So it’s with a heavy heart I must relay sad news about these kinds of foods…

A new link between barbecued foods and cancer survivor deaths just surfaced.

It’s not looking good.

Barbecued and Grilled Meats Might Kill Breast Cancer Survivors

I haven’t talked much about the risks of barbecuing meat, mainly because there’s not as much evidence on its effects on humans as you’d think.  Yes, animal studies link grilled meat to cancer, but there’s not a ton of research about this on humans.

But, seeing as how a study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has observed an elevated death rate for breast cancer survivors who ate grilled meats, I thought I’d share this study.

As you might know, breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in America. 

It’s also one of the most easily detectable and has an incredibly high survival rate.

Which is why there are so many survivors. It’s also the reason these breast cancer survivors need to know about the risks of grilled meat.

In the study, researchers surveyed 1,508 women who’d “received a diagnosis of first primary invasive or in situ breast cancer in 1996 or 1997.”

The researchers asked the study subjects about their eating habits. In particular, they asked them about their consumption of grilled, barbecued, and smoked meats.

Then they had them break down their answers by decades of their life.

5 years after this initial survey they followed up to see how much, if at all, their eating habits had changed.

What they found was startling.

The women who ate the greatest amount of grilled and barbecued meat were the ones most likely to die.

“Over a median 17.6 years of follow-up, 597 of the women died. Of these deaths, 237 (39.5 percent) were associated with breast cancer.

“Overall, compared with women who reported a low intake of grilled, barbecued, or smoked meats prior to a breast cancer diagnosis, those who reported a high intake of these meats were found to be at a 23 percent greater risk of all-cause mortality.”

The study also noted these foods didn’t cause breast cancer, nor did they directly contribute to early mortality.

It was only women who had previously been diagnosed with breast cancer who seemed to be at risk.

While it’s hard to know why this might be true, it might have something to do with the chemicals released in these kinds of cooking.

The main reason some suspect grilling and barbecuing causes cancer is because polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines are released in the cooking process.

These chemicals are suspected to cause damage to DNA, and are a known cause of cancer.

In these instances, where a person’s cells have already proven to be cancerous, it’s possible these chemicals re-trigger cancer growth.

And while I’m not going to point my finger at grilling and call it a “cancer-causer,” I think anyone who’s a breast cancer survivor might want to go easy on the grilled/barbecued foods.

Talk soon,

Dr. Wiggy