How Eating Grilled Meat Can Kill You.
Red meat is a great source of protein, iron and several other important nutrients. However, it can release toxic byproducts called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) during certain cooking methods.
When meat is grilled or smoked at high temperatures, fat drips onto hot cooking surfaces, which produces volatile PAHs that can seep into the meat. Incomplete burning of charcoal can also cause PAHs to form. Researchers have found that PAHs are toxic and capable of causing cancer.
PAHs have been linked to an increased risk of breast and prostate cancer in many observational studies, although genes also play a role.
Additionally, researchers have reported that high intakes of PAHs from grilled meats may increase the risk of kidney cancer. Again, this appears to be partly dependent on genetics, as well as additional risk factors, such as smoking. The strongest association appears to be between grilled meats and cancers of the digestive tract, especially colon cancer.
It’s important to note that this connection with colon cancer has only been seen in red meats, such as beef, pork, lamb and veal. Poultry, such as chicken, appear to have either a neutral or protective effect on colon cancer risk. One study found that when calcium was added to diets high in cured meat, markers of cancer-causing compounds decreased in both animal and human feces.
Although it’s best to use other methods of cooking, you can reduce PAHs by as much as 41–89% when grilling by minimizing smoke and quickly removing drippings.
Finally, grilling or smoking red meat produces PAHs, which have been linked to an increased risk of several cancers, especially colon cancer.