Grilled Chicken Contains Cancer-Causing Agent
by David Liu
Applebee's, Outback Steakhouse, and TGI Friday's to warn unsuspecting consumers
of the carcinogen. PhIP was found in every sample of grilled chicken from these
"Grilled chicken can cause cancer, and consumers deserve to know that this
supposedly healthy product is actually just as bad for them as high-fat fried chicken,"
says PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D. "Even a grilled chicken salad increases the
risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and other forms of this lethal disease."
2-amino-1methyk-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP), along with three other
heterocyclic amines (HCAs), known as 2-amino-3-methylimidazo[4,5-f] quinoline
(IQ), 2-amino-3,4-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f] quinoline (MeIQ), and
2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f] quinoxaline (MeIQx) are listed by the National
Toxicology Program in the Report on Carcinogen as reasonably anticipated to be a
Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) including PhIP are formed by condensation of creatinine
and amino acids in animal muscle during the cooking of meat. A high level of the
cancer-causing agents can be formed in a cooking process at high temperature for a
HCAs are readily absorbed and distributed in the body. They are metabolized by both
phase I and phase II enzymes and become toxic forms, arylnitrenium ions, which
ultimately bind to DNA, leading to HCA-induced DNA adducts.
PhIP and other HCAs are more toxic than commonly known carcinogens such as
benzo-(a)-pyrene. Studies have already found that among others, intake of PhIP and
other HCAs may increase risk of colon, breast and prostate cancer in humans, three
most common cancers in the United States which are commonly associated with
To reduce HCAs in cooked meat, meat should be prepared under 392 F or 200 C.
Direct heat should not be used to cook meat. Consumers may also use some spices
to inhibit the formation of toxic forms of PhIP in the body. Garlic is one of known
spices that counteract the cancer-causing effect of PhIP.
In a study presented at the annual meeting of American Association of Cancer
Research held on Oct 31, 2005, Ronald D. Thomas, Ph.D. at Florida A&M University in
Tallahassee and colleagues reported that garlic compound diallyl sulfide (DAS)
antagonizes PhIP-induced alterations in the expression of phase I and phase II
metabolizing enzymes in human breast epithelial cells.
"We treated human breast epithelial cells with equal amounts of PhIP and DAS
separately, and the two together, for periods ranging from three to 24 hours," said
Thomas. "PhIP induced expression of the cancer-causing enzyme at every stage, up
to 40-fold, while DAS completely inhibited the PhIP enzyme from becoming
Another way consumers may try to prevent PhIP-induced cancers is to avoid
consumption of meat. Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a retired nutrition professor from Cornell
University said in his book "China Study" that consumption of animal protein is linked
with elevated activities of enzymes that convert many non-toxic chemicals such as
aflatoxin into cancer-causing agents. Dr. Campbell and others have found meat
consumption is linked with increased risk of many cancers.
© 2004-2006 by About The Author
David Liu, Ph.D. a freelance writer for .
offers individuals and not-for-profit organizations free license for the republishing of its
Grilled chicken from seven
national restaurant chains
contains a dangerous carcinogen
called PhIP, prompting the
Physicians Committee for
Responsible Medicine (PCRM) to
file a lawsuit against the
restaurants, the PCRM
announced September 28.
The lawsuit was filed under
California's Proposition 65 in The
Superior Court of the State of
California for the County of Los
Angeles to compel McDonald's,
Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Chili's,
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