Do the things we eat literally kill us?
Every time we take a bite of smoked meat, are we coming just a bit closer to your demise?
Brace yourself for this one, guys. Scientists say the answer may be ‘yes.’
But, don’t fear. Things may not be a grim as they appear – more on that in a bit.
In America, we really like our meat.
Actually, I would say we LOVE our meat. We love it grilled, fried, baked, smoked, etc. We love beef, pork, chicken, venison, and so on.
Considering our love for meat, this news probably won’t be welcome. Especially in a blog about BBQ.
Americans consume a staggering amount of meat each year. This has sparked an interest in the consequences (if any) of consuming so much meat. Our consumption sparked interest in any potential health risks arising from different meat cooking techniques.
Researchers set out to answer the question, “does smoking meat cause cancer?” Scientists also looked into the potentially harmful impacts of grilling and frying meat.
So, what have they found?
The results of the most recent research on certain smoked foods is that, yes, it can be bad for you.
Specifically, scientists found that women who eat a lot of smoked, barbecued, or grilled or meats are more likely to develop breast cancer. This rate is compared to women who eat these types of meat less frequently or not at all. In addition to increased breast cancer, studies indicated that people have a 23% higher odds of death from all causes when they consumed a large amount of smoked, barbecued, or grilled meats prior to being given a diagnosis.
Out of all the meat cooking techniques studied, scientists found that smoked meat most likely poses the greatest risk to health and well-being.
So, where does this leave us? Should we just throw out our smokers because of these findings?
The results of the studies indicated that eating smoked pork, beef, or lamb on a regular basis was linked to a 17% greater risk of death from all causes and a 23% greater risk of death from breast cancer.
The cause? Carcinogens that are formed when meats are cooked in certain ways (e.g. smoking or grilling).
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (or PAHs) are created when organic material combusts.
When you smoke or grill any type of meat, your meat produces more PAHs. Other meat cooking methods create far fewer PAHs. Also, meats that contain a higher fat content may produce more PAHs as they cook.
So what do the results of these research studies mean for us?
Should we be cutting back on smoked, grilled, and barbecued meat intake?
Let’s start with the studies mentioned in this article.
Well, whenever scientists conduct research, we must always remain aware of any shortcomings, holes, or limitations in the research. An important bit of information noted by the researchers is that they did not assess the number of times study participants consumed meat within a week or what specific portions of meat participants consumed.
That’s a HUGE red flag. This information has the potential to skew the results of the study.
However, other research studies have found an increased risk of cancer linked to higher intake of grilled foods.
All this may leave you asking yourself questions such as “is smoked salmon healthy?” or “is pan grilled chicken safer?”
Ultimately, it’s up to YOU to make your own decision using this data to the best of your knowledge. Interpret the results of these studies for yourself.
My best advice here is to embrace moderation. There are many things in life that can harm you or your general health. For instance, too much candy could potentially cause diabetes and obesity. Would you never eat candy again because not exercising restraint could hurt you?
Some of you may have answered yes. That’s perfectly fine. Ultimately, it’s up to you.
Maybe you do not need to eliminate smoked, grilled, or barbecued meats entirely.
However, it also may not hurt to remain cognisant of just how much you’re eating. If you haven’t decided to give up on meat smoking and want to learn more about some great smokers, be sure to check out our page on some great Masterbuilt electric smokers.
What do you think about what you just read? Are you going to stop eating BBQ or practice moderation? Maybe you aren’t going to cut back at all. Tell us what you think in the comments below.