Barbeque and Cancer

Barbeque and Cancer

Grilling … causes ‘muscle meats’ (red meat, poultry and fish) to produce cancer compounds.
These compounds called HCAs (heterocyclic amines), have been shown increase in the possible risk of breast, colon, stomach and prostate cancer in humans.

Another cancer-causing substance forms when fat from meat, poultry or fish drips onto hot coals or wood and then, via smoke and flare-ups, is deposited onto the food above. These carcinogens are called PAHs or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
This carcinogen is suspected of having abnormal estrogenic activity, which affects hormones in the body.

Long story short: the longer meat is cooked, the more of these dangerous carcinogens creep into your cheeseburger.

What can you do to reduce the risk?

  • By marination with marinades which contain citric acids. Eg lemon juice
  • Trim excess fat. Fat dripping into the heat causes PAHs, so trim the fat, use a drip pan to collect falling juices and avoid stabbing the meat with a fork or knife. Also consider wrapping meats in parchment paper surrounded by foil.
  • Marinate meat in tumeric-garlic sauce. On the flip side though, marinating with barbeque sauce actually causes an increase in HCAs.
  • Cook at lower temperatures. Most carcinogens are created at temperatures higher than 300 degrees, so turn the heat down or let charcoal become low burning embers and then keep the grill raised a little higher away from the heat source.
  • Use smaller cuts of meat. These cook faster which cuts down on the production of carcinogens.
    Maintain a clean grill. The build up below and on the grilling surface continues to cook and cause carcinogens if not removed

Sanjana M Shenoy is a A dietitian from Mangalore, Karnataka, India. Having worked as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India. She is also a consultant for corporate's like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows. She consults at her Diet and Nutrition clinic "Nutrihealth" in Mangalore. Also is a visiting consultant to various hospitals in and around Mangalore and also runs an active online consultation.

4 Replies to “Barbeque and Cancer”

  1. I also heard that too much cooked and grilled food, meaning it turned black due to too strong fire, is also a ris of cancer.


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