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Healthy BBQ: Marinate Your Meat

I love to BBQ...in fact one of my goals this grilling season is to become a grill master. The roles at my house are pretty gender specific in this activity...I make the sides and my hubbie plays with the fire. I also make some great marinades and let me tell you marinating meat significantly reduces the amount of carcinogens found in grilled meats.


Two types of cancer causing agents are often present in grilled red meat, poultry and fish. One is caused by the smoke that billows up when fat drips from meat or fish onto a heat source. These are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAH for short. The second is heterocyclic amines, aka HCAs, which are a by-product of cooking at high heat. HCAs are formed when high cooking temperatures cause a chemical reaction between naturally occurring amino acids and sugars in the meat and creatine, which is found in muscle tissue. This is also a problem with broiled meat as well.

To greatly reduce the production of these carcinogens - marinate your meats before putting them on the barbie. Studies have shown that marinating can reduce the HCAs in some cases, as much as 92 to 99 percent.

So marinate before you grill and you'll be good to go. Plus marinated meat tastes better and doesn't seem to get as dried out.

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