Nothing screams summer and fall like grilling with your family and/or friends. But did you know that cooking meat at high heat introduces chemicals into your diet that may cause cancer? When the protein found in meat is cooked with intense heat, a chemical called HCA is created. HCA is found in the char marks on your meat, poultry, and seafood. When you grill meat, the fat drips off of the meat, and splashes onto the frill, causing a flare up of flames. These flames lick the meat, and char the meat. These flare ups introduce carcinogens into your meat, which increases your risk for developing cancer. Of course, eating grilled meat is not mean you will get cancer. However, grilling your meat is a lifestyle choice that you choose that increases cancer risk.
Asking people to stop grilling meat is not realistic for multiple reasons. First of all, grilling has typically been considered a healthier alternative to deep frying, breading, and pan frying with added fats. Second of all, grilling typically brings people together, whether it is a neighborhood BBQ or a family dinner. Rather than asking you to avoid these fun times with family and friends, try following these tips:
- Cut meat into smaller pieces to shorten the amount of time the meat has to cook on the grill. Less grill time means less carcinogen exposure.
- Marinate your meat. Marinades prevent HCA from forming on your meat by up to 68%.
- Grill vegetables and fruit instead of meat. HCA forms because the animal protein breaks down at high cooking temperatures. Fruits and vegetables lack this type of protein, so HCA does not develop when the fruits and vegetables are charred.
- Use lean cuts of meat instead of processed meat or fatty cuts. Lean meat has less fat that may drip onto the charcoal and cause flare ups.
Happy grilling! To find out more nutrition tips and information, like our Alkaline Wellness Facebook Page or check out another blog post. We would love to hear from you, so feel free to leave your comments and questions below!