Smoked Food - Just Delicious or a Carcinogen !

You must have seen people going crazy for different types of smoked food such as smoked cheese, smoked meat, barbecued food or grilled food. But do you ever try to know if its healthy or just tasty. Making a grilled or barbecued food may be matter of few hours but really smoked food takes days to make, so that the smoke enters to most interior part of food (not just the outer layer). But is this hard work really worth doing ? If you are dying for the taste then YES. But what if we ask in terms of health. Here we are trying to get an answer to that.

Most of the delicious things are not healthy
It is a natural fact that most of the delicious things contain too much of something to make it taste so. Either its too much of sugar, too much of spices, too much of fat or too much of grilling. No matter what you are eating, too much of cooking degrades its nutritional value. Similarly too much of smoke in food may provide taste to your tongue, but it is not healthy especially if you are going for it daily. Occasionally having smoked food might not harm anybody.

Both Smoked and Grilled food contain Carcinogens
Carcinogens are that content in our food and environment that are found responsible for causing cancer. Smoked and Grilled food are prepared using different methods of cooking, so both of them contain different types and level of carcinogens. Grilled food is put directly above the flames which created heterocyclic amines (HCA). HCA is a carcinogen and created when animal fat is directly by flames. HCA is not formed in smoked food as the temperature is quite low there. But smoked food is surrounded by wood smoke for most of the time, which contain other class of carcinogen called polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). PAH is formed when wood is burned. The level of these carcinogens in these food also depend on their making process. The level also depends on either its made commercially or at home.

Does liquid smoke also contain these Carcinogens ?
However liquid smoke is made by adding filtered smoke in water, but still some amount of PAH gets into it. The level of PAH differs from manufacturers to manufacturers. The liquid smoke flavor is used widely to make smoked food is lesser time. The food made by using liquid smoke is not put into smoke for days but the PAH level may still be the same as it is directly poured onto it in the form of liquid which can be easily absorbed by the food.

How bad are HCA and PAH?
However it is know that HCA and PAH are bad for human health, American Cancer Society is still unsure about the role of HCA and PAH in causing cancer in humans. National Cancer Institute (NCI) has revealed in some of its studies that PAH can cause pancreatic, colorectal and prostate cancers in animals. Our suggestion to the user is that occasionally having smoked food may not have any serious health concerns and your body may handle it, but don't go for it too much. Too much of anything is harmful, especially when you are ingesting some carcinogens with your food.

Smoked food can cause Breast Cancer
A study published in May 2007 in the journal "Epidemiology" found that smoked food increases the chances of breast cancer by 47% in postmenopausal women if they eat smoked or grilled meat at least once in a week.

Apart from the presence of carcinogens in smoked and grilled food, such food also contain higher amount of sodium and fat which is itself responsible lifestyle disease like hypertension and diabetes. 
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