Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I do a lot of grilling (various vegetables and meats), but was recently told this will have similar effects to smoking. Is there much merit to the concerns over grilled foods containing carcinogens?

share|improve this question
    
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carcinogen#Carcinogens_in_prepared_food is interesting reading –  johnny May 9 '11 at 20:04
add comment

4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Short answer: yes.

(Source: http://www.cancerproject.org/media/news/fiveworstfoodsreport.php)

Long answer: depends on what you're cooking.

share|improve this answer
    
Your source is fairly detailed, but doesn't actually say how large the carcinogenic effect is. –  Jefromi May 9 '11 at 19:10
    
That's because none has really been measured. While HCAs are considered carcinogens, the link is far less established than that of, say, smoking and lung cancer. –  Sean Hart May 9 '11 at 20:08
    
@Sean: So arguably, the short answer is "maybe"? –  Jefromi May 9 '11 at 22:02
add comment

The risks are low and mainly come from burning animal fat. There's little risk associated with grilling vegetables. Leaner meats are better. It applies to fatty fish also. I've also read that natural lump charcoal is better than treated briquettes. You can google this stuff and find tons of references and articles talking about polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), but there's not a lot of science saying specifically how much of it will hurt you. And people have been doing it for thousands of years, though evolutionarily it was probably less meat, most of which was lean meat from game and more vegetables in the diet.

share|improve this answer
add comment

The source of @Todd is fairly accurate on what can be grilled or not: basically, nothing, if you want to eat healthy stuffs.

However, the Cancer project website gives a link to a list of things that you can put on the grill and I attest that they give tasty nice meals.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Here in South Africa we are grill, or barbecue (we call it "braai") nuts. We grill anything from vegetables to red and white meat to fish and shellfish, using charcoal, wood and gas. I've been eating grilled-food by the bucket loads since I can remember. The average South African braai's at least once a week.

Unfortunately I don't have a scientific source or cite-able reference for you, but to my knowledge South Africa doesn't have a specifically higher percentage of cancer cases than the rest of the world as caused by eating grilled food. So my answer would be a definite no. At least no more than cooking your food in any other method or anything else you do in your day-to-day life, in any case.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.