Carcinogen Dangers Of Grilled Food and 3 Tips To Safer Grilling


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Despite often being one of the lowest-fat means of cooking your favorite meats and vegetables, grilling foods can potentially introduce carcinogens into your diet. Carcinogens are considered any chemical that can potentially cause cancer in humans, and includes asbestos and formaldehyde, as well as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines, both of which are produced when food is grilled.

As a general rule, the longer food is grilled, the more carcinogens produced, which is why charring food should be avoided. The top producers of heterocyclic amines are chicken breasts, well-done steak, pork, salmon, and well-done hamburgers. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are produced by the smoke of the grill itself, and infiltrate the food you cook, while heterocyclic amines are actually formed on the outer layer of the meat.

For those that love grilling season and can’t live without your barbeque, this bit of information is often unwelcome; however, it’s important to note that carcinogens are produced when you fry or bake food as well, just not in the same amount.

The good news is there are ways in which to reduce the amount of these harmful chemicals and still enjoy your grill.

Here are 3 Tips to Help Reduce the Grilling Risks:

  1. Precooking your meats before placing them on the grill can give you the flavor without creating a ton of carcinogens. This shortens the time on the grill dramatically but can still give you that bbq finish you crave.
  2. Oiling the grates down before putting the food on limits the amount of char that sticks to the food, thus reducing the carcinogens that end up on your plate.
  3. Cleaning the grates after each use, covering it with aluminum foil before cooking, and marinating your meats, which cuts down on carcinogens by up to 90 percent, are all good ways for you to enjoy your grilled steak or barbecued pork healthfully.

To create an even healthier barbecue experience try grilling grass fed beef or free range chicken which are lower in fat and higher in healthy fats such as Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

Sources:
http://www.cancerproject.org/media/news/fiveworstfoodsreport.php
http://www.rd.com/health/healthy-eating/10-guidelines-for-healthier-grilling/
http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/07/02/how.make.grilling.safe/index.html