Interestingly, eating red or white
meat did not increase the risk of rectal cancer in women, whether
the meat was cooked rare, medium or well done. And women who consumed
red meat drippings had a lower risk.
The scientists concluded that cancer
risk comes from substances that are formed when meat is cooked to
higher temperatures. Two heat-related compounds, HCAs (carcinogenic
heterocylic amines) and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons)
are the main culprits. Eat your meat rare or medium rare, and you
may avoid the health risk altogether.
(Journal of Nutrition
134:776-784, April, 2004)
Note: For safety, the USDA recommends
cooking hamburgers and ground beef mixtures such as meat loaf to
160 °F. However, whole muscle meats such as steaks and roasts
may be cooked to 145 °F (medium rare).