Recently, experts at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (a branch of the World Health Organization) stirred up controversy when they announced that processed meats are human carcinogens. They went so far as to suggest that red meat generally is a possible or probable human carcinogen.
High Heat and Meat Create Carcinogens:
Now there may be independent corroboration. Epidemiologists have found a link between a meat-rich diet and kidney cancer. They surmise that the carcinogens formed when meat is exposed to high heat or open flame are responsible for the significantly higher chance of developing renal cell carcinoma.
The kidneys work to remove toxic substances from the bloodstream and so may be exposed to higher levels.
Genetic Vulnerability Plays a Role:
The researchers, based at MD Anderson Cancer Center, found that people with a specific variant in the ITPR2 gene were especially susceptible to the danger of charred meat. People with this genetic variant might do well to cut back on meat cooked at high temperatures.
Scientists have known for years that dangerous chemicals form when meat is cooked on the barbecue grill or under the broiler. There are a few tricks that can be used to decrease them, in addition to eating less meat or cooking it at lower heat.