From the satisfying sound of that sizzle when a steak hits the grates, to the unique taste that only grilled food can claim, firing up the backyard BBQ and enjoying something grilled can make anyone’s mouth water. There aren’t too many things that are more pleasing as having a freshly grilled hot dog on a warm summer day or enjoying cooked fish with perfectly lined-up char marks. But is there a downside to enjoying this summertime staple too frequently?
Cooking outdoors has become more popular now that many of us have been social distancing due to COVID-19. According to the NPD market research group, 81% of people who normally cook outdoors prefer this method even more frequently during coronavirus, and many have increased their grilling frequency. That’s both good—and bad. Let’s start with good:
Grilling food comes with a surprising number of positives that appeal to the masses. For example, grilling gives foods such a unique (and delicious) taste, that it can make even boring produce taste good and encourage you to eat more veggies. And we don’t even have to mention how much easier it is to throw some meat on the grill rather than take out all our pots and pans and clean them after all the oil splatters everywhere. (Just make sure to follow our 24 Essential Grilling Tips from Top Chefs to make sure your grilling session goes as planned.)
On the other hand, there is a dark side of grilling that we need to discuss. It’s not just that the typical foods with grill—processed hot dogs and red meat—are unhealthy, but it’s also the technique of grilling that’s not too great for you. So, what exactly are the potential side effects of eating grilled foods? Read on to find out more, and then make sure you’re staying as safe as possible by reading up on these 13 Grilling Mistakes That Could Be Making You Sick.
Increased risk for certain cancers
When certain foods are cooked at very high temperatures, they form natural chemicals called polycystic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). These chemicals are linked to developing certain cancers, including esophageal and colorectal. They are formed when the food is charred or burnt, so avoiding direct exposure of meat to an open flame is advised.