December 09, 2004
Mix Potato Starch In Burgers To Lower Carcinogen Levels

When hamburgers are cooked heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are formed at high temperatures. HCAs are carcinogens and are probably one of the reasons why red meat consumption raises the incidence of cancer. Well, some new research provides evidence that addition of just 1% potato starch to hamburgers reduces carcinogen formation by an order of magnitude.

Overall, the burgers treated with potato starch developed the lowest total quantity of HCAs in their crust, just 5.5 nanograms per gram of cooked meat, Skog's team reports in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The next best performer was a fructose-glucose mix, which yielded roughly 8 ng/g. By contrast, the untreated burgers ended up with an HCA content of 60 ng/g, and the one laced with only salt and TPP yielded HCAs at 16 ng/g.

Lower temperature cooking by boiling meats would probably reduce HCA formation by a comparable amount and perhaps even by more.

Previous research has demonstrated that mixing cherries into hamburgers also reduces formation of heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs also referred to as heterocyclic amines or HCAs above) during cooking.

In the study, MSU researchers found that ground beef patties containing 15 percent fat and 11.5 percent tart cherry tissue had "significantly" fewer HAAs when pan fried, compared to patties without cherry tissue added. The overall HAA reduction ranged from nearly 69 percent to 78.5 percent. The reduction is "clearly due to cherry components functioning as inhibitors of the reaction(s) leading to HAA formation," according to the journal article. Measurements done during the study showed that the fat content of cherry patties was lower than that of regular patties, but the moisture content was greater, thereby verifying early findings.

Blueberry hamburgers are another possibility. Tempeh burgers are an even safer bet.

Among food samples cooked to a well-done, non-charred state, bacon strips had almost 15-fold more mass (109.5 ng/g) than that of the beef, whereas no heterocyclic amine (HCA) was detected in the fried tempeh burgers.

The total amounts of HCAs in the smoke condensates were 3 ng/g from fried bacon, 0.37 ng/g from fried beef and 0.177 ng/g from fried soy-based food.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2004 December 09 02:53 PM  Aging Diet Studies

degustibus said at December 12, 2004 2:29 AM:

I vote for veggie burgers.

Doug said at December 17, 2005 8:41 AM:

Heh, mix starch in burgers to increase blood glucose, insulin, insulin resistance, leptin resistance, and glycation and oxidation of serum lipids. Actually, don't. You can read about this complex of problems in The Rosedale Diet, by Ron Rosedale.

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