The blows just keep on coming for carnivores. On the heels of the news that bacon is apparently a carcinogen and hot dogs contain human DNA comes this: A new study finds that people who eat more grilled meat are at a higher risk of kidney cancer. And not just grilled red meat; even grilled chicken raises the risk, NBC News reports. The Washington Post notes that pan-frying was also implicated. University of Texas researchers compared 659 patients recently diagnosed with kidney cancer to 699 similar but cancer-free people. "Kidney cancer is among the 10 most common cancers in both men and women," the American Cancer Society says in a statement. "For reasons that are not totally clear, the rate of new kidney cancers has been rising since the 1990s, although this seems to have leveled off in the past few years."
Though the ACS says that's probably partially due to the use of newer imaging tests that pick up on more cases of cancer, the study's researchers also wondered if an increase in eating meat could be partially to blame. "The American/Western dietary pattern consists largely of red and processed meats, and the results of the current study suggest that the association between this dietary pattern and cancer may be in part explained by exposure to meat cooking mutagens," they write. They found that people with two genetic mutations were at even higher risk from grilled meat, and a cancer expert notes that more study is needed: "Once we have identified more genes we will likely be able to identify a subset of the population that is at particularly high risk to develop kidney cancer if they eat meat and processed meat." Reuters has a suggestion for everyone: When cooking meat over an open flame or at a high temperature, avoid charring it. (The meat industry isn't happy with a federal report extolling a vegan diet.)