We do not have control over the way food is grilled at restaurants or at friend’s backyard BBQ. But, we can make changes at home to reduce the potential for ingesting high levels of HCAs, PAHs or AGEs, all of which are known carcinogenic chemicals resulting from grilling.
Note: Three important chemicals potentially produced during grilling are heterocyclic amines (HCAs), advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
Grilling gives food a distinctive flavor combination in the meat and vegetables, and changes to the foods that may produce cancer causing chemicals.
Various herbs and spices help flavor our food. And have been found to help reduce the amount of HCAs and AGEs produced when grilling. By adding them into burger patties and/or using them as a rub, we can decrease the risks associated with grilling, a very popular Summer cooking method.
|Rosemary||Thyme||Virgin olive oil|
Other ways to decrease the health risks associated with grilling include the following preparation and grilling techniques:
|1.Trim the Fat: When fat drips to the open flame or on the grates, flare-ups can spread PAHs onto your clothing and your food. Remove the skin from chicken, trim the fat from steaks and skip the fatty sausage and ribs over the grill. Choose leaner cuts of meat for the grill.|
|2. Skip the Char Marks: Those crisscross grill marks you work to achieve are just another indication of a build-up of AGEs and HCAs. Instead, flip the meat frequently at a lower temperature, cook the meat using indirect heat (not directly over the flame) and remove any burned or charred meat before eating.|
|3. Choose Your Color Carefully: To reduce the amount of HCAs and AGEs in the food, choose a medium-cooked meat over that is well-done. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the meat for safety. Steak should be cooked to 145 F, Hamburgers to 160F and Chicken to 165F. Place the thermometer in the center of the meat, away from bone, fat or gristle.|
|4. Use Marinade & Rubs: A tasty marinade helps improve your cooking in a number of different ways. The marinade reduces the amount of fat drippings into the grill, reducing the amount of smoke and PAHs. Acidic marinades reduce the amount of HCAs produced when cooking.
They begin to break down the meat, tenderizing it, and the flavors are fun to experiment with. A mixture of 1 part lemon juice to 2 parts onion and garlic was found to reduce the production of HCAs with grilling up to 70%
|5. Avoid Barbecue Sauces: Sauces made with Tomato and/or sugars will 2X and sometimes 3X your ingestion of toxic chemicals after just 15 mins of cooking.|
|6. Soak Meat in Beer: Marinating your meat in beer first can help lower amounts of PAHs in the food. Darker beers produced the least amount of PAHs in the meat, up to 68% less with a dark beer marinade.|
|7. Pre-Cook Meat:Precooking inside removes some of the fat that may drip into the flame and reduces your cooking time on the grill, also reducing the amount of time the food is exposed to toxins. Less time at high heat reduces the number of AGEs developed in the meat during cooking.|
|8. Add Fresh Vegetables: High in antioxidants and phytochemicals, vegetables help combat the damaging effects of grilling and help reduce the portion of meat you may eat.|
|9. Use Caution When Cleaning Your Grilling Surface: Clean the grill to avoid cooking on leftover grease and build-up of chemicals, use caution when cleaning your grates with a wire brush. Safer options include nylon-bristle brushes or balls of tin foil. Also inspect the grates prior to use and your food before eating to ensure bristles are not stuck to the food.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively and have a Safe and Sane 4th of July Holiday Weekend
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