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Suya Consumption Linked to Cancer?



Suya - Nigerian Food Channel

Interesting news for all the suya lovers out there.

According to Ignatius Onimawo, Professor of Nutrition and Director of Academic Planning at the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, there is a strong link between consumption of suya and increased risk of cancer, Vanguard reports. He reportedly advised that consumption of suya garnished with lots of onions and other vegetables, has “a strong cancer-lowering effect.”

Explaining how suya preparation causes cancer, Onimawo said:

“During preparation of suya, the  meat is cooked over an open fire, and oils from the meat undergo complex chemical reactions that produce toxins that are carcinogenic (cancer-causing) in nature.

Meat cooked over open flame often causes the formation of toxic compounds known as Heterocyclic Amines, HCAs, which are carcinogenic compounds. The more well-done a meat is cooked, the higher concentration of carcinogenic HCAs can form. “

Noting that cancer is due to oxidative processes in the body, he said onions are powerful antioxidants  that  effectively stop the oxidative process caused by consumption of suya from happening. For this reason, he said it is important to eat plenty of onions and other vegetables with the suya.

Photo Credit: Nigerian Food Channel/Vanguard


  1. jojo

    June 24, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Really? How come half of Ametica/world has not dropped off from cancer? Is it because it is called barbecue, kabob, satay, grilled meat etc in other places?

    • Iris

      June 24, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      I was going to say the same thing but if you think about it, cancer has become fairly common in America and people are getting it at a younger age. I already know of three 20-something year old Nigerians abroad who have died of cancer. However, I thought it was only olive oil that became carcinogenic at those temperatures. I’m tired sef. Everything from sunshine to bread causes cancer.

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      June 25, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      I received news already this week of two young women (one late twenties and Nigerian, the other early 30s and Scot) who’ve died within days of each other, due to cancer – lung and breast. More young people are being diagnosed and I’ve long concluded that modern dietary habits must be a significant factor. Lord help us, even the fruit and veg, you don’t want to consider the farming methods and pesticides that’ve been applied. Lord help us.

  2. divadivine

    June 24, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    he is right. the same thing goes for smoked chicken and turkey. it’s better to be cautious than sorry. May God help us

  3. naijababe4real

    June 24, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    ok noted

  4. @edDREAMZ

    June 24, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    All this one na story bcos i never ready to give up suya and if naso cancer go follow come then i welcome am with open arms.. Me leave suya, for wetin nw……..

  5. Desert Rainbow

    June 24, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    Chukwu okike! You fry meat,problem,you grill it, mba…tell me brethren,what then shall we do to be saved?

    • ChickenKiev

      June 24, 2014 at 3:38 pm

      @Desert Rainbow……Lol …I tire O!

    • Igbeyinadun

      June 24, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      Very soon its going to water dem go say fit give you something. I dont taya.

  6. chinwe

    June 24, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    yeah there are certain dangers in eating suya. there was a time i read that its better to put it straight into a polythene bag instead of the usual news paper because of the ink and all that and sometimes where these papers are picked from aren’t good, that it poses a health challenge which i cant remember now. At least we have options- putting it in a bag and eating it with veggies, thank god!

  7. 9jaFoodie

    June 24, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    This is extremely interesting and I am sure well intended…… I only wish the professor went into more details before making his conclusions.

    HCAs will be present with ALL high temperature cooking methods; Frying, grilling and even broiling. It should be clarified that this isn’t unique to the suya making process. The main problem with open flame cooking and HCA exposure will be mostly determined by the “meat charring process” so blackening the meat on the outside… this isn’t the practise of many suya spots, the meat is usually cooked low and slow to infuse as much flavor as possible.

    I do agree that the longer the meat is cooked the higher the cancer risks but we also have to factor in amount consumed and frequency of consumption.

  8. Joan85

    June 24, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Akuko! Oga Ignatius, abeg chill… 🙂

  9. LagosOcrazy

    June 24, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    they had better not try it

  10. stella

    June 24, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    All Cause and no cure makes no sense to me.

  11. stella

    June 24, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Please spread the word reduce suya price.Thank you.Because i want to be buying suya N5 now.

  12. veekie

    June 24, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    I think what he is saying makes sense. Now i kw y i dnt like suya @all. By the way i know d man and dats my Alma mater.

    • Dee one

      June 26, 2014 at 2:25 am

      Were you born and raised in Naija? If your answer is yes and you don’t like suya….please go and ask your village people what they did to you…it is not a normal trait. Lol

  13. Wale

    June 24, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    BN – if this is a joke stop it o! Ikoyi/Polo club suya is a snack I look forward to anytime I am home.

  14. Akua

    June 24, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    Some of you readers are cracking me up with your comments….lol
    What then is one supposed to do except to continue trusting God for protection…like seriously

    • Ona

      June 25, 2014 at 12:26 am

      The ones that died from cancer, were they not “trusting god for protection”.

  15. naijagal

    June 24, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    very interesting…but suya is a must

  16. NaijaPikin

    June 24, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    You cannot just make a bogus statement and expect pple to just nod along.

    Where is his research data to back up this claim? naija pple are so gullible. sigh!

  17. nene

    June 24, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    “The more well-done a meat is cooked, the higher concentration of carcinogenic HCAs can form”. i don’t believe this. africans eat well-cooked meat and we have the lowest cancer rates.

  18. eveinsky2000

    June 25, 2014 at 10:24 am

    my ribs are all cracked…can’t help nt laughing at ur comments…Suya…its gonna be hard to leave ya…all these cancer news they are sharing…there is God o!

  19. brownchocolate

    July 9, 2014 at 11:47 am

    As much as red meat isn’t very good for humans any type of food eaten in excess is dangerous to the body. Moderation is the word.

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