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Middlesex Moments

It’s Grilling Season…

So does grilling create toxic chemicals that cause cancer? Well, rest assured that the occasional burger at the outdoor cookout probably won’t raise your cancer risk. But a little caution can’t hurt. If you use lighter fluid to light the coals, remember that lighter fluid is a toxic flammable substance. Wait until the coals are ash color to be sure all the chemicals have been burnt out and diffused.

When beef, pork, chicken or fish is cooked at very high temperatures-as in grilling, broiling or pan frying- heat reacts with the creatine and amino acids in the muscle of the meat or fish to form compounds that are known to cause cancer in rats. These substances abbreviated HCAs, were shown to cause various types of cancers when fed to rats in high dosages. Also, when the fat from meat drips onto the grill’s heat source, the resulting smoke contains toxic chemicals called PAHs, which have been linked to cancer in animals. It’s not clear whether these translate to humans-or what doses might be dangerous. The bottom line is to limit your exposure.

Some suggestions… Slice large cuts of meat to smaller pieces and flip frequently while cooking to reduce cooking time and charring. Use lower heat or an area on the grill surface that is cooler than directly under the flame. Use lean cuts of meat and remove all fat prior to cooking. Studies have shown that marinating meat can thwart HCA formation, pat dry before grilling, and use garlic and onions for the best protection.


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The information contained in this email is not intended to cure,diagnose or treat any illness, disease or health condition. Please contact a qualified health care professional with any question or concerns you may have regarding your health.



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