Dangers of Barbecued Meat and Tips
to Prevent Cancer
Recent studies have found that smoked or barbecued food may be more hazardous they are thought of.
However, there are some tips you can follow to enjoy your barbecue and lower its health risks as much as
The root cause of health risks associated with barbecued food is the meat. Recent research has found that
poultry, red meat, lamb, pork, and fish can emit two carcinogenic substances when they are barbecued.
The first cancerous substance is heterocyclic amine, which are deemed reasonable carcinogenic by the
National Institute of Health. Heterocyclic amines or HCAs are produced when the meat is overcooked or
char-grilled over high temperatures. Studies with rodents have shown that those rodents with HCA
contracted diseases cancer in multiple organs later, including the colon, prostate, and breast. The effect on
humans is still being researched.
The second cancerous substance is polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, abbreviated as PAH. PAHs are
carried onto the food through the smoke that forms when fat from the meat drips onto the hot charcoal. PAH
is directly formed on the food when it is char-grilled.
Both of these cancerous substances can be avoided if you follow a healthy barbecuing recipe. The following
tips will help you prepare a healthy barbecue meal:
Cook at the right temperature
Overcooked or precooked food should be avoided, and you should keep the temperature of the grille just
right. You should also avoid any step in the preparation process that might increase the cooking time of the
food. A good practice to follow is to flip the meat frequently and to keep the grille at a low temperature. You
can also buy thinner slices of meat so that they cook at lower temperatures and in a shorter time. Before you
begin the barbecue, you should try to measure the temperature and see that it matches the USDA-
recommended minimum temperatures mentioned below (all temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit):
· Chicken breast and whole poultry: 165
· Pork and ground beef: 160
· Steaks, roasts, and fish: 145
Choose lean meat
In order to prevent PAH, you should trim as much fat from the meat as you can before cooking it. This will be
much easier if you choose lean meat cuts. While cooking the meat, flip it frequently to avoid the fat from
dripping down and avoid stabbing the meat.
Recent studies have found that some meat marinating ingredients, like vinegar, may be helpful in preventing
the two cancerous substances from forming. One study found that beef marinated with teriyaki sauce had 67
percent less HCA than the steak without the marinade.