Are You Grilling Up More Than You Bargained For?

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: Diet, General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

healthy grillingIf barbecues are a summertime ritual for your family, consider this: Your meals may increase your risk of cancer. Grilling meat at high temperatures produces carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). And when fats drip onto hot coals or heating elements, additional cancer-causing compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are formed.


Here are some simple steps you can take to avoid HCAs and PAHs:

Use the leanest cuts of meats and poultry
, which is not only heart-healthy, but limits the amount of fat that drips onto the grill.

Reduce grilling time by cutting your meat into small chunks or precooking it in a microwave for two to five minutes. This can decrease HCAs by 90 percent.

Marinate your meat or poultry. Even a few minutes of marinating sets up a barrier against heat that dramatically reduces the formation of HCAs. Make sure your marinade recipe includes an acidic component (lemon juice, orange juice, vinegar), combined with your favorite herbs and flavorings (onions, garlic, soy sauce). Although traditional marinades include oil, it’s not necessary; omitting it will reduce smoking on the grill and minimize the formation of PAHs.

On Wednesday, I’ll be sharing an easy, delicious recipe you can try on the grill
—so check back then!


Now it’s your turn: Do you have a favorite food you like to barbeque?

You may also be interested in:


Recipes for Diabetes: Grilled Vegetables


Recipes for Diabetes: Healthy Grilled Halibut

flag4th of July "Scavenger Hunt" Clue: P
(For more information on the scavenger hunt, see my July 1 post)

HINT: For the next letter, do you need help keeping unwanted pests from spoiling your July 4th celebration?

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