We’re at the height of grilling season, but did you know you could actually be adding harmful toxins to your food by grilling the “wrong” way? Grilling meat generates polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory rats. Yikes! But, don’t give up your favorite summer activity just yet. Check out the tips below from Dr. Oz on how to avoid serving up your grilled food with a side of cancer-causing chemicals.
Choose Healthy – Meats like skinless chicken, pork tenderloin and sirloin tip that are lean and not heavily processed are much healthier choices than hotdogs and sausages. Preserved meats have been linked to significantly higher risk of heart disease and cancer and could even damage your DNA, upping colon cancer risk.
Cut It Out – PAHs form when fat from meat, poultry or fish drips onto a high heat source and the resulting smoke coats your food. Choose cuts labeled “lean” or trim extra fat from your meat before you put it on the grill to limit your exposure to carcinogens.
(Don’t) Burn Baby, Burn– It may be aesthetic, but black grill marks are actually bad for your health. Charring or burning meat, poultry or fish leads to the production of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that can damage your genes, raising risk of stomach and colorectal cancers.
Turn it Down – The higher the heat, the more carcinogens you’re likely to get in your meat. Keep the temperature more reasonable by spreading coals thinly or propping the grill rack on bricks – this increases the distance between the heat and your food. Alternatively, barbecue briquettes and hardwood products like hickory and maple often burn at lower temperatures than softwood pine chips.
Everything is Better with Beer – A recent study showed that marinating pork in beer (especially darker beers), reduced the formation of eight major PAHs by up to half. Researchers think that antioxidant compounds in beer inhibit the activity of damaging free radicals.