There’s nothing better than grilling outside with friends on a warm summer evening. But here are a few things you might not have known about grilling meat. HYLETE Health Advisor Thomas DeLauer discusses the do’s and don’ts of grilling or pan-frying meats. Cooking meats at a lower temperature are best but if you absolutely cannot resist high temperatures find out what you should do next!

Key Terms:

Heterocyclic amines (HCAs)- chemicals formed when cooking meats using high-temperatures.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)- the reaction of the amino acids in the meat meeting a high temperature which can be highly toxic. 

Thomas DeLauer has you covered when focusing on your present and future health, if you want more on his summer tips check out How Much Sunshine Do You Need

About the Author

From 280lbs to the Covers of Magazines... All by living a lifestyle that is honest and real. Thomas DeLauer brings the nutrition expertise along with a unique perspective on health and wellness that is everything HYLETE.


The following is a transcription of the above video:

The first thing that a lot of us do when we get out of the office on a Friday afternoon is we go and we hit the grill. We want to grill some meats, whether it's for the weekend or whether it's bringing some friends over, but I want to break down how you may want to alter your cooking style just a little bit to make sure that you're taking care of your progress, not only in health but really just in your lifestyle, in general. What I want to break down is something known as a heterocyclic amine, also known as HCAs. What HCAs are are a byproduct of cooking meats at high temperatures, and believe it or not, these HCAs are linked to a multitude of cancers and also a multitude of DNA damaging effects.

I'm going to break it down a little bit more, but I also want to link meats with one other thing. When you cook meats at a very high temperature, the fats leak out of the meat and drip down to the hot surface of the grill. That process, in and of itself, creates a smoke that contains something known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, also known as PAH. PAH is a reaction of the amino acids in the meat, as well as the creatine in the meat, meeting the high temperature. This becomes extremely toxic, and you may be thinking, "Okay, this might give me cancer later on in the future, but how is it affecting me now?" When you're affecting your DNA, you are effectively changing how your body wants to utilize energy. Does it want to use energy to build muscle or does it want to use energy to grow cancer or grow rogue tissue that shouldn't be there? See, it does affect you today more than you think.

What do you do? How do you get around this HCA and PAH issue? The simplest thing is to cook at a low temperature. It's not going to hurt you to grill your meats at a little bit of a lower temp, but realistically, the best thing that you should do is sear your meats first. Cook your meats at high temperature on one side, flip it over, cook it for another few seconds so that it sears the fats inside. Then turn the heat off. Once that happens, the fats are sealed inside and you still have the temperature cooking the meat. The fats aren't going to drip down and create that reaction that causes the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon issue. 

Now let's look at exactly some other ways that you can cook, too. When you pan fry foods, you're going to have a significantly reduced amount of HCAs and PAHs, but there's still something that you need to be cognizant of. You see, if you cook at high temperature, you're still going to have that charred effect, and that charred effect is what's giving you those HCAs that aren't good, to reduce the heat down to medium. A lot of research has shown that simply by reducing from high to medium when pan frying reduces the hydrocarbons significantly. It also only adds about two minutes to cooking time, so really not too big of a deal.

Now let's look at another study that was really pretty darn interesting. Kansas State University found that if you rub a little bit of rosemary on your meat before grilling it, it reduces the heterocyclic amines by 90%. What does this tell us? It tells us that the antioxidant components in veggies and some even thinks red wine as a marinade can be really, really powerful at reducing the cancer-causing effects of these byproducts.

Additionally, we have to look at some other stuff that's been coming out in the world of cruciferous vegetables. You see, another study found that by adding cruciferous vegetables into the diet, this particular study looked at 2-1/2 cups of Brussels sprouts per day, which is a little bit extreme, but still, it proves a point. Just by doing that, by adding those cruciferous veggies in, there was a significant reduction in DNA damaging effects in the body, meaning we could essentially nullify those DNA disruptive aspects of HCA. What does this tell us, guys? It tells us that we simply need to be making sure we cook our meats at a lower temperature, and if we do cook them at a higher temperature, we want to add some veggies into the mix to help counteract the HCA and the PAH.

I hate to rain on your parade this summer, but it's really, really important when you're getting outside and you're grilling, you need to pay attention to this so you don't pay the price in a couple of years. As always, keep it locked in here with HYLETE, and I will see you in the next video.