Does Grilling Meat Cause Cancer?
I went down a rabbit hole while looking for grilling recipes the other day when I stumbled upon some disturbing information. Apparently, grilling meat can increase your risk for cancer?
If this is already common knowledge, please feel free to snicker behind my back and post a comment on our Facebook page. After all, it is 2021. However, I will admit this is all news to me.
According to Cedars-Sinai.org, cooking meat at high temperatures produces cancer-causing chemicals called heterocyclic amines. In addition, when fats drip into the grill and flare up, those flames can cover foods with polyaromatic hydrocarbons, which are also linked to cancer.
One thing to try to avoid is the black char marks on the meat. That is a sign that the heterocyclic amines are present.
Cedars-Sinai gives six tips to make sure that your grilling experience is as healthy as possible:
- "Go lean." Avoid fatty burgers and brats and instead grill steak, chicken or fish.
- "Choose veggies." Fruits and veggies don't have muscle or fat, which are the two problem items when grilling meat.
- "Wrap it up." Consider wrapping both your veggies and meat in foil to prevent dripping and causing those carbons.
- "Watch the marinades." Acidic rubs and marinades help break down the muscle in the meat. Cedars-Sinai reccomends using olive oil on your food.
- "Flip frequently." Flipping the meat more often avoids those pesky black char marks, which are problematic.
- "Try gas." It is easier to control the temperature of gas grills, helping to avoid charring.
Other tips include spreading out the coals evenly to avoid high-temperature areas on the grill itself and oiling the grill to prevent charred materials from sticking to your food.