Grilling Your Food May Not Be As Healthy As You Think

read about the health risks associated with grilled foodThe warm weather is here. Memorial Day has come and gone. All around the country, folks are firing up their grills and cooking some delicious meals. Whether it’s burgers and dogs, a juicy steak or tender chicken that’s been marinating all day, everyone loves a good cookout. However, that charbroiled goodness might come at a cost to your health.

A new study conducted by the University of Illinois, found that cooking methods that produce crust on food, such as grilling, pan-frying or baking on high heat, may increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, which is associated with diabetes.

According to Karen Chapman-Novakofski, PhD., the high temperature cooking methods that make crust form on food – such as the bits of charred meat on a burger – also create advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are linked to plaque formation in the arteries and result in long-term physical damage. This has greater implications for people with diabetes because they are already struggling with cardiovascular issues.

Grilling (particularly charring) of meat also forms heterocyclic amines (HCAs). HCAs are formed when amino acids and creatine (a chemical found in muscles) react at high cooking temperatures. Some HCAs are known carcinogens. Research at the United States National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer and Epidemiology and Genetics found a link between individuals with stomach cancer and the consumption of cooked meat. People who ate medium-well or well-done beef were more than three times as likely to suffer stomach cancer as those who ate rare or medium-rare beef.

So, what’s a person to do during the glorious grilling season? Consider using a lower temperature setting on your grill to eliminate charring. Season your grill prior to each use with Canola oil. Canola oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids that are heart healthy. The oil will help eliminate charring and meat won’t stick to the grill. Plus, omega 3’s can help lower cholesterol and maintain your heart health, so you can still enjoy the summer BBQ.