July 3, 2009

Dietitian: Don’t serve cancer from grill

A U.S. dietitian says marinating meat before grilling helps draw out the chemical precursors of carcinogens.

Dietitian Vicki Piper of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston explains where there is smoke there is a risk of cancer. Burning meat, she says, can create carcinogens -- agents that may cause cancer.

Grilling any type of meat -- even chicken or fish -- until it's charred or burned can increase the chances of getting cancer, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, Piper says in a statement.

However, lowering fat is good for many reasons, including that less fat means fewer flare-ups. Pre-cooking meat indoors for a few minutes before bringing it out to the grill helps too because the higher the cooking temperatures, the more carcinogens develop.

Using barbecue briquettes and hardwood products, such as hickory and maple -- that burn at lower temperatures -- is preferable to using softwood like pine chips, Piper advises.

Keeping the grill lightly oiled, Piper suggests, helps keep charred material sticking on the grill from getting on the food. The oil also helps keep fish and chicken in one piece.

Scrubbing the grill thoroughly after every use avoids a buildup of carcinogens that can be transferred to food, Piper says.