I feel compelled to weigh in on the healthier grilling subject since we get bombarded with the grilling = cancer message every year about this time. Here is the latest summary from Washington that was published yesterday (June 8 2009 reprinted below)
“Summer is just around the corner, and Americans are already firing up their grills. As a dietitian, I'm concerned by how many consumers are unaware that grilled meat can increase their risk of cancer.”
"Meat cooked at high temperatures has already been linked to colorectal cancer, and it also seems to increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, according to a new study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting. In this nine-year study, researchers analyzed the meat consumption levels and preferred cooking methods of more than 62,000 people. Study participants who cooked meat at high temperatures and consumed more well-done meat had about a 60 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer, compared with other people”.
There are easy ways to reduce our cancer risk without giving up grilling. For a healthy backyard barbecue, try throwing veggie burgers, veggie hot dogs or portabella mushroom "steaks" on the grill -- and make sure to fill up on plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Krista Haynes, staff dietitian
The Cancer Project
This study better illustrates the dangers of over-consuming meat in general, particularly lots of well done, charred meat, and should not be a condemnation on grilling meat. Grilling is best way to cook anything healthier and that especially includes meat. Fats are extracted and flarvorized but are not in the final product. Seasonings, marinades and sugars caramelize meats and vegetables to be their best with a grilled taste that cannot be duplicated indoors. So keep grilling meat, just don’t burn it and lets work on proportion control. Grill less meat and more vegetables is the formula for healthier living and healthier grilling. The cancer project has that part right, but they really should be putting out the message of Grill More, Eat Less!Gathering around the grill leads to healthy meals and healthy conversation. For 30 years I was a main meal guy at the grill-- lots of meat and little else, now appetizers and vegetables extend our grilling time and we are grilling less meat, and I am eating my vegetables for the first time in my life- even beets!
Too much meat in general is the problem and grilling should be a big part of the solution! Grill More, Eat Less!