The smell of BBQ’s is in the air but is it a healthy form of cooking? I hate to be a killjoy, but too much BBQ food really isn’t healthy, and it’s all due to HAA’s - Carcinogenic Heterocyclic Aromatic Amines. So enjoy your BBQ occasionally but don’t cook on it all the time.
What are HAAs?
They form when amino acids and creatine present in poultry react at high temperatures (above 100° C). Temperature is the most important factor in formation of HAAs. Frying, grilling, and barbecuing produce the largest amounts because the meat is cooked at higher temperatures than roasting and baking, so much lower levels of HAAs are likely. Microwaving, stewing, boiling, steaming or poaching is done at or below 100° and this low temperature creates negligible amounts of HAAs which the immune system usually deactivates
HAAS are particularly abundant with battery produced hens that are fed pellets. Dietary fats present in poultry does NOT influence the production of HAAs. Regarding the bioavailability of HAAs, we can say that most are readily absorbed into the body from the foods which contain them, and after absorption, HAAs are metabolised into further carcinogenic substances. A small quantity (approximately 3%) of ingested HAAs are excreted unchanged via the urine.
Marinating meats in the following marinades reduces the production of HAAs during cooking at high heat:
- Teriyaki Sauce (reduces the HAAs content of cooked foods by up to 50%).
- A mixture of Turmeric and Garlic.
- A mixture of Olive Oil, Cider Vinegar, Garlic, Mustard, Lemon Juice and Salt.
- Red Wine
- The difference between “charcoal” or gas is very minor indeed, the key factor is the creation of HAAs due to high temperatures