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Healthy Grilling

GrillGrate Disputes Claim that Grilling Causes Cancer

Citing Research, Evidence and Practical Advice

Spring, Every Year GrillGrate LLC today released a compilation of medical studies and evidence to de-bunk the claim that grilling causes cancer. GrillGrate details healthy grilling tips to complement the research.

Grilling season is right around the corner and so too will be the alarming stories about grilling causing cancer. GrillGrate LLC and Dr. Sara Jean Barrett ND are releasing a statement today to dispute the claim that grilling causes cancer, along with research and healthy grilling tips.

“It’s a rite of spring to be warned about the dangers of grilling,” states Brad Barrett, President of GrillGrate LLC. “It’s frustrating to hear the litany of concerns as pundits encourage less grilling, covering food in foil, pre- cooking in microwaves; and most of it is just plain nonsense.”

Scientific and practical evidence indicate grilling is an exceptionally healthy way to cook, Barrett said. The keys to healthy grilling are choosing simple and whole foods, creating a balanced diet, and not burning grilled meat.

The grill is not to blame!

The heating, browning and charring of meat that causes the formation of carcinogens is not limited to grilling. All cooking methods and heat sources cause the formation of HCA’s (heterocyclic amines). PAH’s (polycyclic aromatic hydsarajean2rocarbons) are smoke related. The key is offsetting and counteracting the carcinogen formation through food preparation i.e. spices and marinades as well as diet and smart food choices.

 

“In collaboration with our daughter, Dr. Sara Jean Barrett ND, we’re offering simple tips to grill for your best health and to keep enjoying grilled food,” Barrett said. Dr. Barrett has reviewed and compiled studies and research that suggest how to prevent or neutralize the formation of HCA’s and PAH’s. “The healthy answer is a grill full of vegetables along with a variety of proteins such as fish and chicken. My father is a perfect example — he never ate a beet until he was 50. He’s gone from a pre-diabetic with high cholesterol to normal levels of blood sugar and cholesterol all through better diet and healthy grilling (and a healthy dose of Yoga),” Dr. Barrett said. To inspire others to take control of their health, Dr. Barrett has compiled a list of tips for healthier grilling.

Tips for Healthier Grilling:

  1. Meat is not the enemy- just don’t burn it: The research is not in dispute here. Charred, burned meat does contain known carcinogens (HCA’s and PAH’s) but there are plenty of ways to off-set them. Grill food to goal temps, avoid too much open flame or grilling too well done. Grilling faster can also reduce the amount of char.
  2. Eat more vegetables: A balanced diet consists of vegetables, fruits, and meat. Grilled vegetables contain counter-balancing antioxidants that research shows neutralize carcinogen formation and works to counter-act it. Research points to this neutralizing effect with the use of herbs and spices too.
  3. Grill more kinds of vegetables: No butter or calorie-rich sauces required. Sweet potatoes, beets, carrots and squash caramelize at grill temps letting the natural sugars deliver the best and tastiest flavor. Grill peppers, onions, zucchini, with just a touch of olive oil and pepper. Enjoy all that antioxidant power working to improve your health while offsetting the effects of cooking red meat.
  4. Grill more fish and chicken: Grilled chicken does not have to be slathered in barbecue sauce. A simple rub of herbs and spices is healthier and contains more antioxidants. Salmon is ideal to spice up and grill hot and fast like a steak. Is there a tastier way to eat fish than grilled?
  5. Spice up grilled meats: The antioxidant power of herbs, particularly rosemary, paprika, garlic, sage and black pepper, retard the formation of HCA’s. (See attached referenced studies) For example, adding dried cherries to hamburger shows significant reductions in HCA formation.
  6. Marinade meat before grilling: Research again points to significant reductions of HCA’s. Be careful not to use flammable marinades as they may do more harm than good.
  7. Grill on a clean hot grill and ban flare-ups. Eliminating flare-ups is the best way to control char and gain control of the grill.

“New grill surfaces such as GrillGrates play a role in all of this by preventing flare-ups and draining fats off without burning the food. Improved grill surfaces also open the door to healthier grilling possibilities with vegetables, fish and leaner meats.” Barrett said.

Click here to download the .pdf file GrillGrate launches healthy grilling initiative

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I am excited to collaborate with my father, Brad Barrett founder and president of GrillGrate LLC.  We both are passionate about healthy eating and the grilling lifestyle.  I have read and reviewed the studies linked below and condensed their findings into healthy grilling tips.  Food preparation (i.e. spices and marinades) along with diet and smart food choices are the keys to your best health.  Grilling is a healthy way to cook food when you utilize healthy grilling and eating practices.

 

Guo, D., Schut, HA, Davis, CD, Snyderwine EG, Bailey GS, Dashwood, RH. (1995). Protection by chlorophyllin and indole-3-carbinol against 2-amino-1-methyl-6-[henylimidazo[4,5-b] pyridine (PhIP)-induced DNA adducts and colonic abberant crypts in the F344 rat. Carcinogenesis, 16(12): 2931-7

Li, Z., Henning, S., Zhang, Y., Zerlin, A., Li, L., Gao, K., Lee, RP., Karp, H., Thames, G., Bowerman, S., Herber, D. (2010) Antioxidant-rich spice added to hamburger meat during cooking results in reduced meat, plasma, and urine malondialdehyde concentrations. Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 91(5): 1180-4

Smith, JS., Ameri, F., Gadgil, P. Effect of marinades on the formation of heterocyclic amines in grilled beef steaks. Journal of Food Science, August 73(6): T100-5.

Gibis, M., Weiss, J. (2012) Antioxidant capacity and inhibitory effect of grape seed and rosemary extract in marinades on the formation of heterocyclic amines in fried beef patties. Food Chemistry, September 15:134(2):766-74 doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.02.179. Epub 2012 Mar 10.

Viegas, O., Amaro, LF., Ferreira, IM., Pinho, O. (2012) Inhibitory effect of antioxidant-rich marinades on the formation of heterocyclic aromatic amines in pan-fried beef. J Agric Food Chem, June 20:60(24):6235-40 doi: 10.1021/jf302227b. Epub 2012 Jun 6.

Puangsombat, K., Jirapakkul, W., Smith, JS. (2011) Inhibitory activity of Asian spices on heterocyclic amines formation in cooked beef patties. Journal of Food Science, Oct;76(8):T174-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2011.02338.x. Epub 2011 Sep 13.

Persson, E., Graziani, G., Ferracane, R., Fogliano, V., Skog, K. (2003) Influence of antioxidants in virgin olive oil on the formation of heterocyclic amines in fried beefburgers, Food Chem Toxicol, Nov;41(11):1587-97.

Daley, C., Abbott, A., Doyle, P., Nader, G., Larson, S., (2010) A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutrition Journal, 9:10 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-9-10

Rounds, L., Havens CM., Feinstein Y., Friedman M., Ravishankar S., (2013) Concentration-dependent inhibition of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and heterocyclic amines in heated ground beef patties by apple and olive extracts, onion powder and clove bud oil. Meat Sci, Aug;94(4):461-7

Lee YJ., Hong YJ., Lee JY., Lee KW., Kwon O. (2013) Dietary Chlorella protects against heterocyclic amine-induced aberrant gene expression in the rat colon by increasing fecal excretion of unmetabolized PhIP. Food Chem Toxicol, June;56:272-7

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