"Everybody likes the taste of grilled and baked foods," she says. "The idea here is not to deny the facts and continue eating ourselves to death but to think a little bit more critically about what we put in our mouths."
Anna Gosline writes for the Los Angeles Times.
If you must eat barbecue several times a week, here are a few tips from food science experts on ways to reduce the hazard ratio:
Use a gas grill
-- Gas grills tend to cook food at a lower temperature than their charcoal counterparts, generally meaning fewer heterocyclic amines (HCAs). And because the gas combusts more completely (there's less smoke), fewer polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are likely to accumulate on your food. Yes, you lose that authentic char taste, but it's better than precooking in the microwave, as the National Cancer Institute suggests.
-- Almost all of the studies on meat cooking methods and cancer risk find that rare or medium-rare red meats are relatively safe. If you don't like rare meat, try baking your steak or burger in a low-temperature oven and transferring it to the grill for a few moments to get a good crust.
Trim the fat
-- Fat dripping down on hot coals and heated surfaces burns and floats back up in a lovely cloud of PAHs. Moving up the rack a few notches also will cut down on PAH accumulation.
Processed meats: bad
-- Hot dogs have some of the highest levels of AGEs per serving. Many also contain nitrates, which have been shown in large studies of eating habits to increase cancer risk.
Side dishes count
-- Have an enormous salad, a giant bowl of blueberries and a glass of red wine with your barbecued steak. The antioxidants found in fresh fruits and vegetables and in wine might not totally counter damage from consuming AGEs and other carcinogens, but they could help - plus they might help you cut down on meat portion size.
Marinate, even for a minute
-- Studies have found that marinating can reduce the levels of HCAs by up to 90 percent. Researchers suspect this has to do with keeping the meat moist. If your marinade is acidic - made with vinegar or lemon juice, say - it will also help ward off excessive AGE formation. Acid tenderizes meat too. Bonus.
Flip, flip, flip
-- Like marinating, constantly flipping grilled foods cuts down on HCAs. One study found that flipping a burger once a minute can cut down HCAs by 90 percent. Perfect your skills and soon you can do for burgers what Tom Cruise did for cocktails.
Los Angeles Times