Healthy Grilling Tips
Healthy Grilling Tips
Summer is coming! Time to bust out the grilling tools, coolers and condiments! Here are a few things to keep in mind this grilling season.
What’s the deal on processed meat and red meat?
By now, you’ve probably seen the headlines touting that processed meat and red meat cause cancer, but burgers and hotdogs are common BBQ staples, so how does that impact your summer grilling menu?! It’s important not to overgeneralize here, these foods don’t necessarily need to be shunned, but it’s key to understand these reports. The World Health Organization’s (WHO), International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) put out a report concluding high consumption of processed meat to be considered a carcinogen, and high red meat consumption to be a probable carcinogen.
Lets put this in perspective. According to a study by the Global Disease Burden Project 2012, there are about 34,000 deaths worldwide per year as a result of high processed meat consumption. Compare this to over 1 million deaths per year worldwide from tobacco use. There are also many factors to consider when assessing ones cancer risk including environment, a sedentary lifestyle, the presence of other chronic diseases, or regular consumption of other processed foods and added sugars. Because of this, one needs to consider the big picture on an individual basis; look at your overall intake of different foods and decide what works best for you.
Keep in mind, red meat can be a rich source of protein, vitamins like B12, and minerals like iron and zinc, but like many things in life, it’s possible to have too much of any one thing. The report put out by WHO looked specifically at cancer risk, but high red meat consumption may be linked with the development of other chronic diseases. Therefore, it is still recommended to add variation to your protein sources with a mix of foods like poultry, seafood, and legumes. Again, you can enjoy the occasional BBQ treats, but be sure you’re incorporating a variety of other whole foods into your diet on a regular basis.
What is considered processed meat? Any meat product that has been altered through salting, curing, smoking or other processing to enhance flavor or preservation. Examples include bacon, hotdogs, jerky, sausage and cold cuts.
What is considered red meat? Unprocessed mammalian meat such as from beef, pork, lamb, veal and goat.
Is it true carcinogens are produced in cooking? Cooking meat at high temperatures could produce carcinogenic compounds in higher amounts than compared to cooking methods using lower temperatures. Unfortunately, their role is still not fully understood, nor is there enough information to conclude the “safest” cooking method at this point in time.
Here are some tips: