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Can Grilling Really Cause Cancer?

For years health gurus have been warning against the ill effects of eating food grilled and charred by high temperature sources like your BBQ. And the truth is, carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) really can result from summer’s favorite way to cook depending on what you’re preparing and how. But what’s the bottom line and do we need to dispense with grilling altogether to remain healthy? The answer is complex to say the least, but there are some definite facts worth noting.

Two main types of carcinogens can result from barbecuing. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are present in smoke and charred foods of any type while heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are primarily the result of a chemical reaction that occurs between proteins in meats and high heat. This means that PAHs will most likely be present on grilled foods that taste smoky and look blackened or charred. And it’s not limited to your grill. Foods that are roasted and even toasted to a blackened state can contain PAHs. Scraping them off before eating – whether it is a charred chicken wing or a burnt piece of toast – can actually reduce the carcinogenic risk somewhat, but for most BBQ aficionados this defeats the purpose of grilling in the first place. HCAs on the other hand, are mainly restricted to animal proteins. In their case, however, high and extended heat from any source can result in their formation. This includes roasting meats at high temperatures and even frying.

Fortunately vegetables are not subject to this reaction but be aware that if you’re grilling meats and vegetables together, PAHs can cross contaminate even if HCAs cannot. Must we forego our BBQ chicken after all? The reality is that a number of carcinogens are present in our environment and we risk exposure to them every day. Having a healthy immune system will help naturally detoxify your body to a certain extent while avoiding excessive exposure to toxins, especially when preparing food, is a good idea as well. Some ways to accomplish this without too much sacrifice are:

-Limit your grilling to once or twice a week and refrain from over blackening your food.
-Keep high roasted and fried food at a minimum in your diet.
-Marinating your food can actually help. The acidic ingredients normally present in marinades such as citrus, vinegars, and wine can help to prevent the formation of both HCAs and PAHs, while providing great flavor and added tenderness at the same time. Interestingly, when you look justbuyessay.com at some of those states with the most ambitious goals, these are the same states that are some of the best actors

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Sharon Richter, RD
200 W 57th St
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212.977.7779

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