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Nutrition. 2004 Oct;20(10):873-7.

Meat cooking habits and risk of colorectal cancer in Córdoba, Argentina.

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  • 1Escuela de Nutrición, Instituto de Biología Celular, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba/CONICET, Argentina. anavarro@cmefcm.uncor.edu



Colorectal cancer is the third cause of death among women and the fifth among men in Córdoba, Argentina. We previously reported colorectal cancer to be associated with a high intake of fatty meats and bovine viscera and inversely associated with dietary fiber intake. In this study, we investigated the role of method of cooking meat and preferences in browned surfaces in the risk of colorectal cancer.


A case-control retrospective study was carried out by interviewing 296 patients and 597 control subjects with a food-frequency questionnaire. Meat consumption and preferred cooking procedures (boiled, roasted, barbecued, cooked in a flat iron-pan without fat, and fried) were investigated. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were obtained by unconditional logistic regression analysis.


Barbecuing was the cooking method preferred by men, whereas iron-pan cooking was favored by women; frying was the least favored method. Fatty beef, sausages, and bovine viscera were preferentially barbecued or boiled, whereas lean beef was mainly roasted, iron-pan cooked, or fried. Chicken was barbecued or roasted. The multivariate relative risks (adjusted by age, sex, social stratum, and total energy intake) for preferring darkly browned surfaces were significantly associated with an increased risk for all cooking procedures (odds ratio, 4.57; 95% confidence interval, 3.10 to 6.73). No associations were found for red roasted or for boiled meats.


Increased risk seems to be related to cooking temperature and close contact of the food to the heating source, because higher risks were observed for heavily browned surfaces when meats were barbecued or iron-pan cooked.

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