1 University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil; 2 Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, United States.
Background: Heterocyclic amines, which are formed during cooking process of meat, can generate reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS cause oxidation of lipids, proteins, and DNA, which results in oxidative stress and cell damage. The aim of the study was to estimate preference of cooking methods, doneness level of meat, and amount of heterocyclic amines and meat intake according to socio demographic characteristics in a general population in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Methods: Cross-sectional population-based survey of 561 adults in Sao Paulo - Brazil. Socio demographic, lifestyle, and anthropometric data were collected at households. Food intake was estimated by one 24-hour dietary recall (24HR) complemented by a detailed food frequency questionnaire with preference of cooking methods and level of doneness of meats. Heterocyclic amine intake was estimated by linking meats reported in the 24HR to a database of heterocyclic amines. Results: More than 90% of population consumed some kinds of meat. The mean intake of meat was 129g/day (SD:116g) and the most consumed meat was beef (56g/ day; SD:81g). The most cited preference of cooking method was pan-fried and the favorite doneness level was well-done for all kinds of meat. The mean HCA intake was 370ng/day (SD:707ng). We found significant difference in HCA intake independently of energy intake between sex (men:513ng vs women:284ng; P=0.04), and recent change of diet (yes:495ng vs no:339ng, p=0.04). There was no difference in HCA intake between age (adults vs elderly), BMI (eutrophic vs overweight), and education level of the household head (low vs high). Conclusions. Meat and HCA intakes were high for all the population, especially among men and people who were on a diet. Polices about reduction of meat and HCA intakes are needed, intending to decrease the risk for chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases in Brazilian population.