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Natural Awakenings Space & Treasure Coast Florida

To Grill or Not to Grill…

Apr 14, 2011 11:35AM ● By Deepti Sadhwani, MD

Did you ever think that eating grilled foods can actually age you? The American Institute of Cancer Research is urging everyone to rethink the art of barbecuing.

After analyzing the results of 7,000 studies, the institute concluded that grilling any meat produces potent carcinogens. The high heat of grilling reacts with proteins in red meat, poultry and fish, creating heterocyclic amines, which are linked to cancer. Aromatic hydrocarbons, are created when juices from meats drip and hit the heat source. They then rise in smoke, can stick to the meat and are cancer causing.

The Institute looked at processed meats like hot dogs, sausages, bacon, ham, pastrami, salami and any meat that has been salted, smoked or cured. The chemicals used to preserve the meat increase the production of cancer-causing compounds, regardless of how the meat is cooked. The Institute’s report said it “could find no amount of processed meat that is safe to eat.”

In addition, many of our foods contain Advanced Glycosylated End (AGE) compounds and how we cook the food determines how much AGE we will be consuming.

Many cells in the body, such as those that make up our lungs, liver, kidney are receptors for the AGEs. When they bind with the AGEs, they contribute to age and diabetes related chronic inflammatory diseases like:

· Atherosclerosis

· Asthma

· Arthritis

· Myocardial infarction

· Nephropathy

· Retinopathy

· Neuropathy.

The AGE by-products get into the bloodstream in many ways, grilling being one of them. Cooking food in moisture and a low temperature will help to keep the AGE level low. You may only see a 60% increase in AGE’s. If you broil or fry the meat, you will see an almost 10 fold increase in the amount of AGE by-products that your body will have to deal with.

AGEs may be formed outside the body by cooking sugars with fats and proteins or inside the body with foods that have high sugar content.

People with diabetes should be particularly wary of consuming foods with high levels of AGE by-products. AGE compounds are harmful to diabetic patients because researchers suspect they initiate the major complications of diabetes — blindness and kidney failure (diabetes is a leading cause of both). If you are a diabetic, your physician is probably using the A1C level as well as the AGE level to determine how well you are controlling your blood sugar.

AGEs appear to bind to the membranes of the cells lining blood vessels, interfering with their normal functions. AGEs also make LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) more prone to oxidize and then deposit in a vessel wall, ultimately leading to hardening of the arteries.

Deepti Sadhwani, M.D. is located at Quality Health Care in Sebastian. She specializes in fighting obesity, aging and helping people reduce and eliminate the need for medication. For more information call Dr. Sadhwani at 772-581-2373.