Notochemo's Blog

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To Bbq Or To Be Cancer-Free?

See 1st link and extract – high heat cooking of meat such as bbq creates carcinogens.

See 2nd link and extract – anti-acrylamide barbeque marinade.


Bbq is bbq to me.

What do you think?


“Rashid I, van Reyk DM, Davies MJ. Carnosine and its constituents inhibit glycation of low-density lipoproteins that promotes foam cell formation in vitro. FEBS Letters. 2007; 581: 1067-1070.

High-Heat Cooking Converts Carnosine Into Acrylamide — It’s Not Just in Potatoes Anymore
If you think blackened and barbequed steak is going to protect you from atherosclerosis, think again. Unfortunately high temperatures convert carnosine into acrylamide, a potent carcinogen and neurotoxin.

Acrylamide is most famous for its presence in baked and especially fried potatoes, in which the amino acid asparagine reacts with sugars in the potato to form this nasty toxin under conditions of high heat. Unfortunately, acrylamide in meat products has largely escaped our attention because it is mostly present as acrylamide derivitives like N-methylacrylamide, which is just as toxic but doesn’t show up on tests for plain old acrylamide.

This is actually old news by now in the scientific literature, but it was news to me when I happened upon this study several weeks ago. In 2004, researchers from McGill University in Quebec, Canada published a report in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showing that acrylamide forms in meat under conditions of high heat even more rapidly than it does in potatoes — even in the absence of sugar. Whereas the formation of acrylamide from asparagine in potatoes requires sugar, the formation of acrylamide from carnosine in meat does not. The reason, however, that acrylamide levels in cooked meat are 200 times lower than those in cooked potatoes is because the acrylamide reacts with another meat constituent, carnitine, to form N-methylacrylamide, another toxin just as potent.

High heat thus not only forms toxic acryalmide derivatives in meat, but also destroys the carnosine and creatine.

It should therefore not be difficult to see how something as simple as the method of cooking can turn meat from a health-promoting and heart disease-fighting super-food into a charred slab of toxic trash. Hopefully future research can clarify just what types, temperatures and lengths of cooking best retain the health-promoting creatine and carnosine while avoiding the formation of toxic acrylamides.

This finding also makes it clear why epidemiological evidence associating “meat” with disease that does not distinguish between cooking methods (among many other quality factors) is woefully inadequate to address the question of what types of food constitute an optimal diet.

Yaylayan VA, Locas CP, Wnorowski A, O’Brien J. The Role of Creatine in the Generation of N-Methylacrylamide: A New Toxicant in Cooked Meat. J Agric Food Chem. 2004; 52: 5559-5565″


The Good News

For safer grilling, keep the chemicals at bay by adhering to the following guidelines. Marinating meat before you cook it will not only add flavor and tenderness, but the right kind of marinade or additions will reduce the production of acrylamides by as much as 90% if the marinade has an olive oil base. Researchers at Michigan State University demonstrated that when meats are covered in marinades consisting of 30 percent honey for four hours, the formation of HAA is significantly reduced by the antioxidants in honey.

Other tips and techniques:

  1. 1. Don’t eat the blackened or charred parts of the meat. (Vegetables and fruits are safe to eat even when charred, they do not produce carcinogens).
  2. 2. Use a drip pan or foil to prevent smoking juices
  3. 3. Use low-fat cuts of meat
  4. 4. Add rosemary to your marinades, it reduces acrylamide and kills free radicals
  5. 5. Add a teaspoon of wheat bran to your burgers for each pound of meat
  6. 6. Add 1/3 cup of chopped tart cherries to every pound of ground beef
  7. 7. Soak your potatoes in water before making fries
  8. 8. Cook the meat as far away from the heat as possible, away from the flames

Anti-Acrylamide Barbeque Marinade

  • 8 T. olive oil
  • 5 T. cider vinegar
  • 4 T. lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. buckwheat honey
  • 3 T. grainy mustard
  • 3-4 medium cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary

Mix all ingredients together. Put meat in re-sealable plastic bag or flat dish with sides. Cover completely with marinade and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to overnight. Barbecue as usual.”


August 24, 2009 - Posted by | Healthy Alert, Recipes

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