There are few things better in the summer months than chilling with a barbecued sausage or two. But if your BBQ skills are anything like ours, your meaty delights will be less 'lightly chargrilled' and more like incinerated.
But when red meats, poultry, seafood, or processed meats are grilled at high temperatures, the muscle tissues in the meat react to form chemicals called HCAs and PHAs. These chemicals can damage the DNA in our genes and may lead to cancer.
According to research published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, pouring your pint over your chops could cut out the carcinogens.
Researchers in Portugal found that marinating meat in a beer decreased the levels of cancer-causing compounds by up to 53 percent.
To stop your BBQ being a health risk, here are 10 top tips to stop your BBQ turning into a cancer trap:
1. Lower the temperature on your gas grill to prevent meat from burning and reduce the formation of carcinogenic compounds. A barbecue that has a temperature control dial will assist with this.
2. Marinate your meat to create a barrier between meat and the formation of HCAs.
3. Use a smokeless BBQ that has a built-in battery powered fan to stop the BBQ from smoking and prevent carcinogens from being inhaled.
4. Switch to Seafood. Seafood typically forms less HCAs than meat and requires a shorter cooking time - reducing exposure to flames on the grill.
5. Opt for leaner meats and trim any fat before grilling to reduce dripping and flame flare-ups.
6. Cut down on grill time by oven roasting or pan-searing, or choose smaller portions like kebabs that require less grilling.
7. Avoid preservative-packed processed foods.
8. Clean your grill after each use to avoid transferring leftover chemicals to your next meal.
9. Flip meat frequently to reduce carcinogens that may arise.
10. If you do nothing else, pick off the burnt bits before eating.