Good Morning Everyone:
A client brought this controversial topic to me and while I believe I’ve touched on it slightly previously, I believe it bares its own installment.
Grilling…does it cause cancer?
Well, according to Dr. Ted Gansler, director of Medical Content for the American Cancer Society, eating excessive amounts of grilled meats and chicken can increase ones risk of developing cancer.
The problem with grilling, or any other type of heat intense cooking methods (i.e. deep frying), at very high temperatures, creatine (a naturally occurring amino acid found in the body responsible for building muscle) breaks down and carcinogens are then formed. And if they are ingested in high quantities, health problems may arise.
So, with the weather finally great and the summer in full swing, what’s a Grill Master to do?
First, avoid eating grilled meats that are well done. While many of you enjoy the “char”,especially on a steak, eating it is higher risk than opting for a medium-rare cut.
Second, slow cook meat (and chicken) at lower temperatures and for a longer duration. While you may have to wait a bit before you chow down, you’ll reduce your health risk and find that the meat is actually more tender, and therefore tastier, than if you “kicked (the flames) up a notch”!
And if lowering the flame isn’t an option on your grill…try raising the rack so the meat sits higher off the surface of the coals.
Last, use HEALTHY marinades and/or rubs. While, the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry showed that marinating red meat in beer or wine for two hours significantly reduced cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCAs), it has also been concluded that rubbing rosemary (Thanks again Ellen) onto meats before grilling cut HCA levels by up to 100 percent. Scientists believe the antioxidants in these marinades block HCAs from forming. Therefore, it is also possible that using basil, mint, sage and oregano may have the same effect.
So, the next time you rush off to your neighbor’s barbeque, take your time bellying up to the grill and ask for your meat done well, not well done.