Hot weather and outdoor living mean firing up the outdoor grill in many homes. Yet, before you throw that burger or steak on the barbecue, be aware that research has shown that turning up the heat on meat can cause potentially cancer-causing substances to form. Of course, there are healthy ways to cook on the grill – just read on for some tips on how.
Formed in meats cooked at high temperatures
Meats contain several harmful elements including animal protein, arachidonic acid and heme iron.1-4 When grilled or even cooked at high temperatures, carcinogenic compounds are also formed.
- Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) – formed in hamburger, steak, chicken, and fish as a reaction between creatinine amino acids and glucose. Higher temperatures and longer cooking times increase HCA production.
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) – formed from flames and smoke; when meat juices drip and flame hits meat.