Spending hours in the sun without slathering on sunscreen isn’t the only cancer concern to have this summer. Some popular barbecue foods—such as grilled chicken and hot dogs—can increase your risk for several types of cancer.
When meat is grilled, it releases carcinogens known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs), including a compound called PhIP. Studies have linked PhIP with multiple cancers—breast cancer in particular. The Physicians Committee has fought to add warning labels to grilled chicken products and we won a lawsuit against Burger King locations in California. However, there are no governmental regulations in the United States surrounding the consumption or sale of products containing HCAs.
It’s not just grilled meat that can increase cancer risk. Research has connected red and processed meat consumption with cancer. Most notably, eating just one serving per day of processed meat products, like hot dogs and bacon, increases colorectal cancer risk by 21 percent. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, no amount of processed meat is considered safe for consumption.
Fortunately, these risk factors are only found in animal products. Grilling some portobello mushroom caps or veggie skewers can help increase your dietary fiber and potentially increase your lifespan!
So put down the hot dog and pick up the sunscreen! Protect your body from cancer inside and out.