Doctors Downplay Health Risks from Braised Pork Broth

TAIWAN - There is no evidence that small amounts of aged soy-stewed pork broth increase the risk of cancer, two toxicologists said after a Chinese-language newspaper reported that reheating braised pork broth causes the formation of carcinogenic cholesterol oxidation products (COPs).
calendar icon 16 August 2017
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The United Daily News reported that a study by Fu Jen Catholic University professor Chen Bing-huei, who works in the school’s food science department, found that heating up braised pork broth containing meat, soy sauce, sugar and water produces COPs.

The longer the broth has been heated, the more COPs could be produced, the newspaper said, citing Dr Chen’s study.

According to Taipei Times, asked about the paper’s report, the two toxicologist advised taking it with a grain of salt.

Yen Tzung-hai, head of the clinical toxicology division at Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, said that reheating methods significantly affect the safety of meat products because they all contribute to the production of COPs.

COPs can also be produced by barbecuing, grilling or deep frying meat products, Dr Yen said, adding that while COPs can cause cancer in animals, there is no evidence they do the same to humans.

Chiang Chih-kang, a nephrologist at National Taiwan University Hospital, said that while reheating soy-stewed pork broth could produce carcinogenic substances, there is no need to panic because of the low level of such substances in such broths.

"Would anybody eat an entire pot of braised pork broth?" Dr Chiang said.

The level of exposure to carcinogens is the key factor in determining one’s risk of developing cancer, so people should not panic over braised pork broth, Dr Chiang said.

Braised dishes are high in calcium, fat and calories, all of which increase the risk of vascular diseases, Dr Yen said.

He urged people to maintain a balanced diet and eat foods that are low in fat, sugar and salt, and eat more vegetables and fruit.

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