SEP 07, 2016 10:16 AM PDT

Why Those

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Some people really like a little charring on their foods. Consider that some foods, such as corn or any type of barbequed meat, are even intentionally burnt a little to boost taste. In fact, the food chain Famous Dave's has made a popular signature dish out of slightly burnt meats, aptly called "Burnt Ends." While the smoky flavors and photogenic grill marks are well and tasty, do they actually pose a cancer hazard?

When foods are cooked at high temperatures, chemical reactions alter the molecules in the foods. In particular, the National Cancer Institute lists two classes of chemicals formed when meat is cooked at high temperatures: Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These two chemicals are linked to DNA alterations and cancer in animal models.

Additionally, one other potentially hazardous chemical produced when food is charred is acrylamide. This multipurpose polymer, also present in tobacco smoke, is now being studied as a possible carcinogen.

So, while it may be tasty, perhaps we should limit the amount of "burnt ends" that we consume.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
DEC 28, 2019
Health & Medicine
DEC 28, 2019
Consider Skipping The Post-Workout Ice Bath
In an effort to get heart-healthy, many people have experienced the painful after-effects of an intense workout. Weather cardiovascular or strength trainin...
DEC 30, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 30, 2019
How SpaceX's Crew Dragon Will Operate, From Start to Finish
It’s no mystery by now that SpaceX is working hard to earn the right to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station via NASA’s Commerci...
JAN 23, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 23, 2020
Scientists Assess the Value of the Ocean's Twilight Zone
Fifteen years ago, an international cohort of scientists and policy experts introduced the idea of assessing ecosystems by the "services" they pr...
FEB 02, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 02, 2020
Everything You Need to Know About Solar Orbiter
The Sun is something you see every day when you look up at the daytime sky, but despite residing right in plain sight, there’s still so much about th...
FEB 02, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 02, 2020
These Fish Beach Themselves When it Comes Time to Mate
Most fish probably cringe at the idea of beaching themselves on purpose, especially since they can’t breathe out of water. But this is something that...
FEB 22, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
FEB 22, 2020
Harmful Algal Blooms
Algae is an essential plant-like organism. They contribute to the diet of some marine animals and supply necessary oxygen to bodies of water. Algae populat...
Loading Comments...