You may have heard some debate over whether or not charcoal grilling is dangerous. Some say that it could be bad for your health, while others say that charcoal grilling is just fine. It can be hard to decide whether reports of health hazards from charcoal grilling are just scare tactics, or if there is really something behind them. Let us take a look at the question of whether charcoal grilling is bad for you.
There used to be only one way to grill outside, and charcoal was it. However, there are some indications that the hydrocarbons produced by burning charcoal could aggravate the conditions of people who already suffer from lung and heart issues.
As well, the delicious smoky flavor that charcoal gives to meat can also contain two potential carcinogens – polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines. Polyunsaturated fatty acids released into the air in Houston by charcoal grills were also shown to be a contributor to the area’s air pollution problems.
The possibly carcinogenic compounds are formed when fat from meat drips into charcoal. They rise in the smoke and can be deposited on foods, as well as forming directly on meats that have been charred. Higher temperatures and longer cooking result in the formation of more of these substances.
Of course, this also happens when muscle meats are pan-fried or broiled, two common cooking techniques. Eating very large amounts of these meats can increase the incidence of certain cancers. This is why charcoal in some countries is required to carry a warning label.
All types of charcoal release some type of air pollution when they burn, just like any other kind of burning material. However, briquettes release less than lump charcoal. However, they may contain additives, including petroleum products, which have been pointed at as another possible health problem.
Because of these concerns, many people have chosen to change over to gas grills. However, there is something to be said for the taste of charcoal. If you are worried about your health, do you have to give up on charcoal grilling entirely?
If you choose natural charcoal brands that contain few to no additional additives and are sourced from sustainable wood sources, your chances of encountering problematic contaminants go down. In addition, you can cook your meat carefully, avoiding letting fat fall into the coals. Stay out of the smoke, turn food quickly, and do not overcook meat, and your health risks are significantly decreased.
Consider cooking more vegetables and less meat on your grill to prevent carcinogenic concerns. Charcoal grilling once in a while is not a huge danger – it is doing it all the time that becomes a problem. Grill safely and infrequently, and you will get to enjoy that great taste without worries.
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