A new study has found that food cooked at high temperature may have carcinogenic properties.

Findings of research carried out by the National Cancer Institute found that cooking at elevated temperatures interferes with the food's DNA and is associated with a heightened risk of various forms of cancer.

When a person consumes any food, its DNA is also ingested. During high-heat cooking, small molecules are formed, which interact with a person's healthy DNA when ingested. Scientists confirmed the heat-induced small molecules were carcinogenic; however, whether heat damages the food's DNA was still a point of hypothesis.

Researchers from Stanford University in collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the University of Maryland, and Colorado State University, delved into how high-heat cooking causes damage to the food's DNA, which extends to the consumer's DNA upon consumption.

As part of the research, the scientists cooked ground pork, ground beef, and potatoes in two different ways. They either boiled them in hot water for 15 minutes at 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit) or roasted them in a very hot oven for 20 minutes at 220 degrees Celsius (about 430 Fahrenheit). Then, they examined the DNA of the food, and discovered all the items had some damage to their DNA when they were cooked, especially at really high temperatures.

The findings were alarming. The DNA damage that was found can be harmful to our genes and has the potential to cause changes in them. These changes could make cells in our body start multiplying too much and without control, just like what happens in cancer, as per Health News.

The researchers conducted experiments where they exposed lab-grown cells and fed mice with food containing heat-damaged DNA. They found the cells absorbed the damaged DNA, resulting in DNA damage within the cells. Similarly, the mice showed DNA damage in the cells lining their small intestine after consuming the food.

Although it is uncertain if high-temperature cooking affects human DNA in the same way, these findings indicate a potential pathway through which cooking at high temperatures may contribute to genetic risks.

The team is relying on more future research to get a better grasp on how the heat-damage occurs and how different cooking methods can possibly alter the chances.

"Our study raises a lot of questions about an entirely unexplored, yet possibly substantial chronic health risk from eating foods that are grilled, fried, or otherwise prepared with high heat," said the study author, Eric Kool, in a Stanford News Release. "We have shown that cooking can damage DNA in food, and have discovered that consumption of this DNA may be a source of genetic risk," Kool explains. "Building upon these findings could really change our perceptions of food preparation and food choices."

High heat cooking messes with food's DNA
High heat cooking messes with food's DNA