A study, published in the journal BMJ Open, links this condition to the way this type of food is cooked at high temperatures.
The polluting compounds released from the combustion of coal, wood, gas and other materials have adverse health effects. However, certain foods such as meat can also be a source of pollution if cooked at high temperatures, producing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are associated with metabolic, heart and lung diseases. They are also one of the main factors of cancers linked to this food.
A recent study published May 9, 2023 in the journal BMJ Open examined the link between these toxins and inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. To investigate the possible role of environmental toxins in causing rheumatoid arthritis, scientists looked at participants' responses to the US National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES) between 2007 and 2016. This study evaluated a wide range of toxins, including chemicals used in the production of plastics and various consumer products (PHTHTA), as well as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) derived from paints, cleaning products and pesticides, among others.
In addition, data on health, nutrition, lifestyle and environment were analyzed. A total of 21,987 adults participated in the study, of whom 1,418 already had rheumatoid arthritis and 20,569 did not. Blood and urine samples were collected to measure the total amount of PAHs (7,090 participants), PHTHTA (7,024) and VOCs (7,129) in the body.
According to the results of the study, the chances of suffering from rheumatoid arthritis were higher among participants with higher levels of PAHs in the body. After taking into account other factors such as fiber intake in the diet, physical activity, smoking, family income, level of education, age, sex and weight (BMI ), only one PAH, 1-hydroxynaphthalene, showed a strong association with an 80% increased risk of developing the disease.
Despite these findings, the researchers emphasize that this is an observational study and as such cannot establish causation. However, they add that "this is the first study showing that PAHs not only underlie the link between rheumatoid arthritis and smoking, but also independently contribute to it." This is important because PAHs are present in the environment and come from a variety of sources.
So, the next time you're about to grill meat at very high temperatures, consider slow and gentle cooking to avoid the production of these harmful PAHs. Because, who knows, your love for fiery barbecues might be setting you up for a date with arthritis.