Not so fast! I just read an article my good friend and
Nutritionist Mike Geary shared with me about some cancer
causing carcinogens that you may be putting into your body.
Don’t worry though, the solution is simple and you won’t have to give
up your favorite grilled foods. In fact, they might even taste better.
NEVER Grill Meat, Unless You Do This
by Mike Geary, Certified Nutrition Specialist
Author of Best Seller: The Truth About Six Pack Abs
Most people aren’t aware that when you cook meat (whether it’s grilled,
broiled, or seared) there are carcinogenic compounds that can form
called HCA’s (heterocyclic amines). Now don’t panic…you ingest various
carcinogens all the time, even with some vegetables. You can always
protect yourself with more antioxidants.
Please Note: When you cook meat in a water base as opposed to
grilling, broiling, or searing, you eliminate the harmful HCAs. So for
example, meats cooked in a soup, or meats cooked in a crock pot
will not have the problem of the carcinogenic HCAs and is a healthier
way to cook meat.
But let’s face it… grilled meat tastes awesome and there’s no way I’m
giving up my grass-fed steak from the grill, or my grass-fed burgers!
That’s why it’s important to know that there’s a way you can use spices
to both counteract, and also drastically reduce the carcinogens formed
when you grill meat…
Here’s the trick:
If you’re going to grill meats, marinating meats for at least several
hours beforehand in liquid mixtures that contain rosemary and other
herbs/spices can dramatically help to reduce HCA’s (heterocyclic
amines), which are those carcinogenic compounds that can form
when meats are grilled. It appears that the highly potent antioxidants
in these herbs prevent HCA formation. So using rosemary, thyme,
garlic, oregano and other spices in a meat marinade before grilling
meats can drastically reduce any carcinogens that normally would
form on grilled meat and give you a healthier meal, that’s also very
The antioxidants in rosemary and thyme from a marinade were
specifically cited in studies at being powerful inhibitors of HCA
formation when grilling meats. But it was also noted that other
spices such as garlic, oregano, and others can help to prevent
HCA formation as well, so I suggest using a variety, which tastes
One more important point about grilling meat:
Remember that the more well-done a meat is cooked, the higher
concentration of carcinogenic HCA’s can form, so rare, medium-rare,
or medium are healthier choices than well-done. I’ve never
understood why anybody would want to ruin a good steak by burning
it to oblivion anyway. But hey, if you’re one of those folks that likes
your steaks well-done, just remember that you’re eating a lot more
carcinogens than a steak that’s cooked less, so make sure to load
up on your antioxidants (spices, teas, berries, etc) to help combat
those extra carcinogens.
Washing down your barbequed meal with a glass of unsweetened
iced tea (rich in antioxidants) and also a good salad with lots of raw
veggies can provide the antioxidants needed to counteract the effect
of HCAs in your body from grilled meat.
By the way, even charring vegetables on the grill creates different
carcinogens such as acrylamides, so don’t think that the negative
effect of charring only applies to meats.
Hey, we all love a great barbeque, so no need to give that up just
because of HCAs or acrylamides, but at least now you know how to
counteract the effects of these in your body to protect yourself, and
also how to use spices to drastically reduce the formation of HCAs
on grilled meat!
Enjoy that next barbeque in a healthier way!
If you liked Mike’s article, he has more for you here: