July 3, 2006

Marinating meat may cut cholesterol compounds

By Amy Norton

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Just in time for holiday
grilling, scientists have found that marinating meats may help
reduce unhealthy cholesterol compounds that form during

Researchers in Taiwan found that marinades made with soy
sauce or sugar inhibited the formation of cholesterol oxidation
products (COPs) in pork and eggs as they cooked.

COPs are generated when cholesterol-rich foods are
processed or heated, and research suggests that, in excess, the
compounds may damage body cells and contribute to ills such as
heart disease or cancer.

To study the effects of marinades on COP formation, Dr.
Bing-Huei Chen and colleagues at Fu Jen University in Taipei
soaked ground pork and hard-boiled eggs in marinades containing
soy sauce, sugar or both. The only other ingredient in each
marinade was water.

In general, the researchers found, all of the marinades cut
COP formation during cooking, with sugar being particularly

Marinating may create the benefit, Chen told Reuters
Health, by generating so-called "browning reaction products."
These substances are thought to act as antioxidants, which mean
they help neutralize COPs and similar molecules that can damage
body cells.

It's also possible, Chen added, that healthful nutrients in
soy sauce, such as isoflavones, help quash COP formation.

Whether other types of marinades have such anti-COP
abilities is unknown, according to the researcher. The simple
sugar-soy sauce marinade, Chen noted, was only 1 percent soy
sauce and 10 percent sugar, so it would add few calories and
little salt to a health-conscious cookout.

SOURCE: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, June
28, 2006.