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Well-Done Meat May Increase the Risk of Cancer

Well-Done Meat May Increase the Risk of Cancer

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Do you enjoy well-done meat more? Have you developed a habit of consuming well-done meat? If yes, you will have to change your habit. It is certainly not a healthy choice. We are not saying this…The National Cancer Institute’s latest research reveals that cooking meat at too high temperature and too long might increase the risk of some cancers.

You can still enjoy your meat whenever you want. However, you just need to know how to do it right. You can eat roasted meat that will be cooked at a much lower temperature. Therefore, the risk will be lower than well-done meat.

Are you still confused? We understand your confusion and concerns. Let’s make it easier for you. In the following, we will cover the latest findings and some other essential information to enable you to cook your meat safely without developing cancer risk.

You might be thinking about how you will know that your meat is overcooked. Let’s cover the temperature chart. It will enable you to know when your meat is well cooked or medium cooked.



Meat Temperature Chart

The temperature chart above helps you determine what temperatures certain types of meat need to be cooked to in order to be safe to consume. In addition to the temperature control, you will have to focus on a few other factors to make your food safe and healthy. Washing your hands, cleaning the kitchen surface before handling meat, and storing it immediately after cooking are a few factors you cannot ignore.

Meat Temperature Chart

These are primary things you should consider while cooking your meat. If you follow the right temperature, you can minimize the risk significantly. Let’s know what National Cancer Institute says about well-done meat and how well-done meat relates to cancer.


There are two chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs) formed at high temperatures. These are formed when meats such as poultry, pork, and beef are cooked at a very high temperature. Any high-temperature cooking method that includes open flame, pan-frying, or grilling can increase the risk of cancer. During laboratory experiments, it is found that high-temperature cooking methods will change the DNA and that might increase the risk of cancer.

HCAs can be generated when sugars, amino acids, creatinine, and creatine react at a high temperature. However, PAHs will be generated when juices and fat from any meat grilled over an open fire or heated surface will be dripped to the surface causing smoke or flames. In addition to this, PAHs can be generated during smoking. The amount of the HCAs will not be high when the meat is cooked at a low temperature. However, PAHs can be found in car exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke.


Studies have proved that PAHs and HCAs exposure can lead to cancer in animals. In many studies, rodents developed liver, skin, prostate, colon, breast, and many other tumors, when survived on HCAs included diet. They also developed cancers such as tumors and leukemia after following a diet rich in PAHs. However, they were using high doses of PAHs and HCAs.

Numerous studies have been conducted to find the link between cancer and PAHs and HCAs exposure. The researchers discovered that when one consumes a high amount of fried, barbecued, and well-done meat, it might increase the risk of different types of cancers such as prostate, pancreatic, and colorectal cancer. But some studies did not find any link with prostate or colorectal cancer.


  • Avoid direct exposure to a hot metal surface or an open flame
  • Turn the meat on high heat method continuously to minimize the risk
  • Use a microwave before using high temperature to reduce the cooking time
  • Remove the charred portion and avoid using meat made dripping gravy to minimize the risk


You can use food thermometers for temperature control. Food thermometers can enable users to get the desired doneness of poultry, meat, and eggs. If you want safe cooking, you will have to make sure that you are following a safe minimal internal temperature. You can consider the chart mentioned above to know about safe minimal internal temperature. By doing so, you can destroy all the microorganisms present in the food.

The food thermometer temperature will measure the temperature. Also, it will ensure that the cooked food will be stored at a safe temperature. When it comes to cold food, it should be stored at 40°F or below. Any hot food should be stored at 140 °F or above.



Well-done meat can increase the risk of cancer. You will have to make sure that you are avoiding this cooking method. Maintain food hygiene and always prepare meat at a low temperature. If you use high-temperature cooking methods, it might prepare your food fast but it will not make your food healthy. A shorter cooking time might reduce the carcinogen’s appearance, but it will minimize food oxidation. Your food will be healthy. You can eat healthy and tasty food without bothering about increased risk of cancer.

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