(Health Secrets) This season most people will attend a barbecue where they will be served grilled meat. Some will opt for chicken over beef due to their health conscious nature. However, the most dangerous element they will consume will not be the red meat or the white meat. The real dietary danger will be the black meat! Grilled meat contains one of the most potent carcinogens known, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), and the telltale signs of its presence are the black stripes from the grill.
When fire directly touches meat, fat liquefies and drips into the fire, vaporizing and creating dangerous compounds that rise in the form of gas and reattach to the meat. While all substances have a temperature whereby they will vaporize, animal fats must be heated to extremely high temperatures in order to achieve this. When they do vaporize (as they do when they drip into the fire) they become not only toxic, but that toxicity is easily absorbed by the body.
Grilled meat and PAH
The most dangerous substance found inside vaporized animal fat is PAH. When scientists want to create cancer in a laboratory (something done to animals as a matter of course), they will often use PAH because cooked animal fats are known to be one of the primary causes of cancer. Throw in MSG and sodium nitrate (which also fuse into various bad things at high temperatures) and it’s obvious why about half of Americans develop cancer in their lifetimes.
Cast iron skillet cooking
Does this mean the fancy outdoor grill was a complete waste of money? In fact, there is a fast solution to the problem: a cast iron skillet can be used on the grill to protect meat from touching the flame (one just needs to watch out for the handles that get hot). Does this mean that meat can just as easily be cooked on the kitchen stove? Technically yes, but then nobody would get to smell butane while the head of the household dons a chef hat and thumps his chest.
Blackened bread and pan seared meat
When bread cooks under a flame on a hot stone, the blackening it obtains is actually a powerful antioxidant (similar to activated charcoal). Also, when meat or fish blackens in a pan or under a broiler it’s not as dangerous. In fact, this is a key used by most chefs to obtain certain textures and flavors and to sear in juice. The key is to avoid having the fire directly touch the meat.
Nowadays many restaurants ask patrons if they prefer an item “blackened.” A few years ago this meant flame broiled. Now “blackened” usually means blackened seasoning, an artificial flavor normally containing MSG along with cheap fillers. Should you inquire, the wait staff will most likely know nothing about it and will resent you even asking. The wait staff will have to ask the cook, who is likely to become equally annoyed. The cook must then read the ingredients on that giant container of powder for the first time. Most won’t be able to detect hidden forms of MSG such as Natural Flavoring, Casein, or Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, and some won’t know that MSG also goes by the name Monosodium Glutamate. They will say “no MSG.” To make matters worse, a number of restaurants (even high end chains) don’t make the ingredients of their spice blends available to the chef (or on their web site).
For a great MSG-like flavor that is actually good for you, try the following blend in equal parts:
* Celery salt
* Cayenne pepper
Ideally you can limit meat consumption, avoid grilled meat, choose naturally raised meat, and either pan-sear or slow-cook meat in a cast iron skillet.
Studies have shown that many foods can help detoxify PAH, namely apples, cherries, sage, rosemary, garlic and olive oil.
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