Barbecue Meats, Carcinogens and Health.
September 19, 2012 Admin 0
Outdoor Barbecue’s have become part of many cultures and popular during the summer months and even year long in very temperate or warm climates. For family, friends or as another social event, a barbecue usually involves the cooking of a variety of meats, such as steaks, burgers, sausages and chicken. The barbecue’s method of cooking itself has been under scrutiny for many years because of its association with carcinogens from smoke and charring of the cooking process.
The most prevalent carcinogen in the barbecue cooking method is Benzo(a)pyrene. Benzo(a)pyrene is a is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) that is associated with cancer developlement in humans. After barbecuing, humans are most likely to come into contact with PAH’s in industrial environments or from car exhaust fumes. Heterocyclic amines (HCA’s) are another carcinogen produced during the prolonged reaction between the heat from the barbecue and the meat itself, namely the amino acids and creatine content. They are also present in regular fried meats you might cook conventionally in your kitchen.
Studies have not established a definitive link between HCA and PAH exposure from cooked meats and cancer in humans. However numerous epidemiologic studies have been able to produce patterns in food consumption with increased risk of cancer. Most scientists agree that high consumption of fried, or barbecued meats is associated with increased risks of colorectal and prostate cancers.
Although still susceptible to reaction of carbohydrates with heat, grilled vegetables pose a significantly lowered risk of carcinogen ingestion from consumption when replacing meat products in barbecues. Other alternatives to grilling traditional meats include the cooking of fish such as wild salmon in foil packages. The foil protects the meat from being charred and also preserves the flavour and nutrients. For those who wish to consume grilled meats in the traditional sense, cooked on a barbecue, they should avoid charring, overcooking and burning and limit the consumption to special occasions to reduce the health risks of ingesting HCA’s and PAH’s.
A diet rich in antioxidants and rich in essential fatty acids is also beneficial, such as the Mediterranean diet is one such way of being able to enjoy things like barbecues in moderation whilst still promoting health from your regular diet. The effects of consumption of cooked meats can also be limited by a diet rich in herbs. This article examines this in more detail.
Tags: barbecue, bbq, Benzo(a)pyrene, burger, cancer, carcinogen, chargrilled, charred, colorectal, diet, fried, grille, grilled, HCA, health, illness, juicy, meat, PAH, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, prostate, protein, sausage, steak