Eating burnt food can cause cancer? The truth may not be what you think it is

A lot of people love barbecues, but have you ever heard that eating burnt food can cause cancer?

I believe many parents will educate their children in this way, and many articles on the Internet also say so. Is that so?

In the barbecue, food is scorched is a very common situation.

“theoretically carcinogenic” does not mean “carcinogenic in practice”

Japanese cancer research has Ming hospital, gastrointestinal and other digestive tract malignant tumors, in Japan, 1607 hospitals in the first place.

I would like to share with you what the deputy director of the hospital, Minister of Digestive surgery, said in an article:

There was a time when even the Japanese National Cancer Center issued the phrase “the diet should avoid scorch blackness” in its “Twelve bars of Cancer Prevention.”

The charred substances produced by the burning of fish, meat, and other foods, tryptophan P1 and tryptophan P2are indeed classified as “potentially carcinogenic.” When these substances were administered directly to rats, they did induce liver cancer in the rats.

But if the fish meal were burnt and stirred into feed and fed to the hamsters, even over the course of a lifetime (the hamster lived about two years), no cancer was found in the hamsters.

The amount of charred matter fed to hamsters in the experiment was really so large that if it were scaled up to humans, it would require eating more than a ton of charred black per day to be carcinogenic.

So basically, no matter how much you enjoy barbecuing, you don’t get that amount of burnt matter.

So what exactly should we think about carcinogens?


Barbecue carcinogenesis is not so easy

The charred food is theoretically carcinogenic, but it is actually very difficult. There are two reasons for this:

1:The charred food is not addictive

The charred food and tobacco and alcohol are all “carcinogenic”, but tobacco and alcohol can make some people addicted, so that they can sink into it and continue to contact for a long time, eventually leading to cancer.

The charred material is generally attached to the food, and the proportion is reasonable. Only then will it have a good color, aroma and taste, which will attract people to eat. If the whole piece of meat is scorched, it is estimated that you can’t swallow it…

2:The amount of charred material that is ingested does not reach the amount that causes cancer.

In the trials described above, hamsters were fed a large dose of burnt black and no cancer occurred. If you convert it to the human body according to the corresponding ratio, the amount of the charred material that needs to be eaten is even more amazing, and it takes more than one ton! No one can eat such a large amount of charred material.

So even if you occasionally eat some barbecue, there is no need to worry.


The human body has the ability to defend itself against cancer. 

“exposure to carcinogens” is not the same as “cancer development”. 

Human cells usually have a set of defense mechanisms, including repair of DNA damage, to prevent cancer from occurring. 

It’s just that as you get older, this protective mechanism weakens slowly. Cancer can occur once the accumulation of “damage” to a cell’s DNA exceeds a certain threshold. 

It’s just that everyone has a different line of defense against cancer, and not “all human beings are created equal.” 

Some people have a strong ability to repair cells and are not susceptible to carcinogens. This is why some people always say that friends smoke for 50 years, often drink, but also do not have cancer ah. 

Bad habits of people, the risk of cancer is higher, but there is always a case, you must be compared with him? 

Some people are not so lucky, weaker, vulnerable to carcinogens and habits and other factors.


Not all burnt food causes cancer. 

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies carcinogens differently according to the strength of the research evidence. Barbecues are “possibly carcinogenic” rather than “strongly carcinogenic”. 

  • Also, not all chars can be carcinogenic: animal foods are rich in protein, and when burnt, produce the carcinogens mentioned above. 
  • And rice, vegetables, fruits and so on, even if charred, will not produce similar carcinogens. It may taste bad, but it’s not carcinogenic.

The risk of burning food is not just “carcinogenic.”

We don’t have to worry about causing cancer because a small portion of the food is burnt, and then stop eating it altogether.

In fact, the real need for attention is that charred food generally has other characteristics, may affect human health. The impact on human health is not limited to whether it is carcinogenic or not.

Beware of frying, high fat, high sugar, high temperatures.

Charred things are often fried, high in fat and sugar, or very hot. If eaten in large quantities, it may cause cancer by other than charred reasons and cause other health problems.

Beware of high salt.

Many grilled foods are also high in salt, which is a health risk factor.

Eating high-salt foods for a long period of time not only causes high blood pressure, but also causes damage to the esophagus and stomach mucosa.


Avoid these “strongly carcinogenic” substances. 

If you pay a little attention to the specific carcinogens, you will find that we eat them almost every day and live in an environment that is always exposed to them. 

In modern life, many carcinogens can not be avoided absolutely. 

What we can do, therefore, is to avoid carcinogens that are “definitively carcinogenic” and that are completely conditional. 

They are: 

  • alcohol. 
  • Cigarettes and Tobacco. 
  • Chewing betel nut. 
  • Asbestos, an insulating material used in old-fashioned houses. 
  • Formaldehyde, which often exceeds the standard in the decoration of new houses. 
  • Dioxin generated from the indiscriminate incineration of domestic waste. 
  • Aflatoxin on moldy grain, such as rice, or peanuts. 
  • Helicobacter pylori infection from childhood. 
  • ……. 

And burnt food, does not belong to the “clear carcinogen” classification of carcinogens; and, after all, fried baked food, it is inevitable that there will be a little charred black, to completely avoid is not very realistic. 

Of course, on the palate, too much burnt food doesn’t taste good either.

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Hello, I am a website editor. I've edited more than 10 websites in the last five years. My hobbies are health, life and website technology. For me, writing an article is part of my life. All articles on the page are based on scientific confirmation, not individual speculation, and more source comments will be added in the future. Thank you for reading!

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