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Could Grilling Cause Cancer?

grilling meat and cancer | Johns Creek Family MedicineFor many, summertime is all about having fun in the sun and picnic barbeques. In fact, grilling is a very popular cooking method especially when the days grow warmer. Grilling is a quick way to cook meats and it guarantees tasty, mouth-watering results. Unfortunately, current research suggests that grilling may cause cancer.

Mercola states that even the American Institute of Cancer Research is advising everyone to reconsider barbequing their meat. Mercola further says that the Institute analyzed 7,000 studies and found that most all meat (white, red or fish) can produce powerful carcinogens.

Even Harvard Health Publications advises to use caution when grilling meat. In the Harvard Health Letter June 2007 issue, their article states that cooking meat at high temperatures such as grilling can create chemicals that have cancer-causing properties. The report claims that when meat is cooked at high temperatures heterocyclic amines is formed when amino acids react with creatine. Many researchers believe that heterocyclic amines (HCAs) can cause cancer. This is why grilled meat is considered a health risk. For one, the fat that drips onto the coals causes the flames to enlarge forming polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The meat is also exposed to cancer-causing chemicals in the smoke from the coals.

There has not been sufficient evidence or studies to prove that grilling meat can cause cancer. However, you can take precautions to reduce your exposure to HCAs and PAHs.

  • To reduce HCAs and PAHs, grill your meat on lower temperatures
  • Before you place the meat on the grill, make sure the flames have died down
  • Check food preparation methods for reducing carcinogens in well done meats
  • Turn the meat often so that the amount of carcinogens that may form on the meat is lowered
  • Use charcoal that has less intense heat and flames. Coconut shell charcoal is believed to produce fewer HCAs and PAHs compared to wood charcoal
  • Raise your grill rack to reduce the amount of flames. Instead, grill your meat longer at a lower heat
  • Studies show that marinating meat for 20+ minutes before grilling can reduce HCA formation up to 96%
  • Trim away all visible fat to prevent the fat from dripping unto the grill and creating intense heat and flames
  • Use a gas grill instead of using a charcoal grill. Charcoal increases the use of lighter fluid that can causes flair-ups
  • Reduce Intense Flames – Lower the risk of intense flames by placing aluminum foil on the grill. As well, poke small holes in the foil to allow fat and grease to escape

The Risk of Cancer

By and large, you can reduce the risk of getting cancer from grilled meats by taking certain precautions. On the other hand, if you have concerns or you suspect that you have cancer, Johns Creek Family Medicine has an incredible qualified team that can address your concerns.

In addition, Dr. Zack Charkawi is renowned for treating a patient as a whole, thus improving and balancing both physical and mental health. As well, Dr. Zack Charkawi is a singled out teacher and mentor in medicine. From his graduating honors to ranking nationally among the top 10 quality health care facilities at Wheeling Hospital, Dr. Zack Charkawi’s in-depth experience provides excellent care.

Johns Creek Family Medicine is conveniently located near McGinnis Ferry Road and the Peachtree Parkway (Highway 141) intersections. The office is directly across from Emory Johns Creek Hospital on Hospital Parkway. Dr. Zack Charkawi is accepting new patients in Gwinnett, North Fulton and South Forsyth counties and the surrounding North Atlanta area.

Note: This article is not intended to replace professional medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about cancer or other conditions, make an appointment at Johns Creek Family Medicine with Dr. Zack Charkawi.

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