Unless you live in Miami, Southern California or along the Mexican border, your days for barbecuing in America are over for 2016. So file this away for next year’s cookout.
A new study published in the journal Cancer suggests meat consumption places a person at higher risk for kidney cancer. The study also suggests that the method of cooking the meat could be a factor as well.
In the study, researchers with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center examine the diets and DNA of over 650 persons recently diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma.
The Texas study follows a WHO report that proclaimed processed meat is a carcinogen. According to the research, red meat could be a culprit as well.
Patients with kidney cancer ate more meat — both red and white — compared to individuals without cancer. The observers also reported a greater risk of kidney cancer association with the consumption of two mutagens.
The researchers also determined that men and women with a unique genetic mutation were more susceptible to cancer risks linked to meat consumption; promoting the idea that genetics play a role as well.
Dr. Gafanovich found a link between meat consumption and cancer risk only. That did not conclude that mean consumption causes cancer, and additional research needs to be finished to thoroughly explore the link.
While the researchers did not tell people to stop eating meat, they did suggest exercising moderation and when cooking meat, suggested that backyard chefs avoid charring, or burning, the meat.
“Grilling is a low-fat way to cook,” said Elizabeth Schaub, a licensed dietitian with Baylor Regional Medical Center. “We have to be aware that it increases the risk of cancer if we consume grilled meat too often.”
Schaub says the smoke created in grilling contributes to the cancer-risk.
“When you grill meat, some of the fat drips onto the charcoal. When fat hits that very high temperature, it develops a carcinogen. The smoke carries the carcinogen back to the meat.”
“Decreasing the amount of fat that drips on the coals will decrease the carcinogens consumed,” Schaub added.
Tips for Safer Grilling
While the research suggests a connection between grilled food and cancer, there are some simple tips for healthier grilling.
A marinade acts as a barrier between the meat and carcinogens. Marinating for at least 30 minutes reduces the formation of carcinogens according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. The type of marinade may be a factor as well.
This will not be popular but skip the hot dogs and sausages. They taste good, but cancer-causing particulates form when meat is preserved. This may lead to an increase in colorectal cancer.
Turn Down the Fire
Turn the grill down to a low-heat setting. Lower heat makes ti harder to burn the steak. To keep meat from sticking and burning, apply oil to the grease rack. Avoid flames near the food by placing meat on a sheet of foil.
Clean the Grill
Scrape the grill when done to remove carcinogenic residue that may build up over time. With a dirty rack, the risk is increased of transferring leftover chemicals to the food the next time you grill.