Overcooked meat doubles cancer risk

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Scientists have warned that overcooked meat is twice as likely to cause cancer than previously thought.

The warning comes after they found that the dark crust formed on the outside of a well-done steak or joint of red meat more than doubles the risk of intestinal tumours.

Frying and grilling are particularly risky because the intense heat turns the sugars and amino acids of muscle tissue into high levels of cancer-causing compounds.

Cancer-causing substances, so-called food mutagens, occur at high temperatures when frying or grilling.

It has long been known that cooking meat until it is very well done or even charred creates chemicals that are not present in uncooked meat. These compounds, called HCAs, are carcinogenic. Other cancer-causing substances, so-called food mutagens, occur at high temperatures when frying or grilling.

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Previous research has used mice to assess the effects of the burnt meat on humans.

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