Science Panel Seeks to Calm Concerns About
New York, NY, November 18, 1998. Consumers should use caution when interpreting
a new study on the possible hazards of eating
well–cooked meats, say scientists from the
American Council on Science and Health (ACSH).
This study, published in the Journal
National Cancer Institute, compared
and consumption of meats by women who
and did not have breast cancer. Women
regularly ate well–done red meats were
to have a higher risk of breast cancer
those who consistently preferred their
cooked rare or medium. The authors
study point to heterocyclic amines–compounds
formed in meats cooked at high temperatures
(by broiling or grilling, for example)
well done—as the likely culprits.
But scientists from ACSH warn consumers
put the results of this new study into
“First of all,” states ACSH President
Elizabeth Whelan, “a single study does
prove anything. Scientists do not consider
a hypothesis supported until the results
have been replicated by independent
An editorial accompanying the report
that very point: the journal’s editors
that this study alone is not sufficient
establish a causal link between eating
meat and developing breast cancer.
Whelan notes that while some heterocyclic
amines are known animal carcinogens,
does not necessarily mean that they
carcinogens as well.
“Consumers would be best advised to
well–substantiated lifestyle guidelines
optimizing their health and preventing
cancer,” says ACSH Director of Nutrition
Dr. Ruth Kava. In other words,: Don’t
avoid obesity; stay physically active;
a varied, balanced diet that includes
and vegetables, and consume all foods
moderation; follow protocols for breast
As far as dangers from consuming meats—or,
indeed, any other foods—are concerned,
should keep in mind that the risk of
illness is considerably higher than
posed by heterocyclic amines or traces
animal carcinogens formed in cooking.
should therefore be sure to handle,
and cook all foods properly.
The American Council on Science and
is a consortium of over 250 leading
and physicians. For more information,
Dr. Ruth Kava or Dr. Elizabeth Whelan.
|For more information contact:
The American Council on Science
1995 Broadway, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10023-5860