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Health Risks Associated with Grilling Food

During my childhood, my grandma would always be ready with her expert advice for me. She spoke of things beyond the understanding of an seven-year old kid but I always remembered them. One day, my mother grilled the chicken wings a little too much. My grandma threw the entire contents of my plate into a garbage bag. I was heartbroken, but she said, I would put my health at a risk if I ate overly grilled food. I pretty much remember her telling me that the black crust could cause cancer. Grilling is a method of cooking that roasts your food without the need of any additional frying agents like animal fats or oil. Direct heat is used to cook the food from both sides on a grill at a temperature ranging between 500 degrees F and 1,000 degrees F. It is mainly used to barbecue meats, fish and poultry or the MPF foods. It is one of the most recommended types of cooking for people who are aiming at weight loss. No added oils to cook makes it a favorite among people who relish low-fat food.

Popular Forms of Grilling
Legend has it, prehistoric man first learned to eat roasted food by eating the flesh of animals killed in a forest fire.

– Broiling is a form of grilling wherein the source of heat is located above the food.
– Char-grilling is essentially grilling that uses coal or charcoal as a medium of heat to cook food.
– Barbecuing is a socializing trend soon catching up among people as a great idea for a friendly get together. Most of us have been to at least one barbecue evening.
– Other forms include grid-ironing, charcoal kettle-grilling, flat top grilling, stove-top pan grilling and grill-braising. However, scientists have now discovered that grilling your food may be putting you at a major health risk.

Health Risks of Grilling Food
According to research, excessive grilling for long durations at a high heating point changes the chemical makeup of food and develops carcinogens, cancer-causing agents. The formation of two compounds, Hetero-cyclic Amines (HAs) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) , leads to development of stomach and colon cancer on consumption of foods that they bind to. It interferes with the DNA structure of your body and stimulate the production of cancer-causing cells.

Dangers of Grilling Meat
When you grill food, the only barrier between the source of heat and food are the grills. Over-heating causes animal fat to melt, drip off your food and melt on to the medium of heat, which is often coal. At a temperature of 400°F, too much heat leads to the transformation of amino acids present in muscle tissues in the meat into HAs and PAHs that vaporize due to the heat. These are one of the most catastrophic carcinogens. As the smoke rises and settles on to the food, these chemicals attach to your food. The brown-black spots are over-grilled parts of your food that contain the most amount of HAs and PAHs. But, the formation of HAs is observed in protein based food like meat. These mutagens provoke cardiomyopathy, a degenerative heart condition of tissue inflammation and destruction, which is an aging disorder in reality. However, scientists are still investigating to factually confirm this observation in humans.

As a matter of fact, people who have the highest consumption of grilled meats, also have a higher rate of pancreatic disorder, liver, breast and rectal cancer. Even if you are not eating it, but doing the cooking, the chemicals are present in the fumes and easily enter your respiratory system. But I must also add, that it is only harmful when done for days and not just a few hours. Even though beef is a lot richer in fat content as compared to chicken, deep-fried beef contains much lesser HAs and PAHs as compared to grilled chicken.

Grilling it Safe
You do not have to fear grilling because it is still safe to eat grilled food. After all, it is only a variation of roasting, the first cooking method discovered by man. However, there are some safe grilling techniques that you could practice to avoid the health risks associated with grilling.

– Choose lean and healthy meat cuts for your barbecue sessions. Low fat helps ensure reduced dripping of animal fat – on the coal, thereby, minimizing the development of carcinogens.
– Do not grill meat for long periods.
– Reduce portion size of meat.
– Always clean cooking equipment post-grilling immediately to prevent bacteria from breeding on them.
– Do not consume the over-grilled parts of your food even if it is not meat. HAs form on meat products but PAHs can form on all kinds of food during excessive roasting. Even your vegetarian kebabs and skewers contain the risk.
– If you are using a microwave or oven for grilling, make sure you preheat them well, at least 10-15 minutes to reduce cooking time.
– To grill fish, you can wrap it in an aluminum foil and keep it chemical free.
– Supplement your food with antioxidants by marinating meat with lemon or orange juice, vinegar and red wine. Have a fruits and vegetables salad as a side-dish.

Think about all the greenhouse gases and soot particles that grilling produces. It not just affect your health but it mixes up and stays within the atmospheric layer of the environment. The more your barbecue meat stays in contact with flame and smoke, the more will be the carcinogen content on it. You could use a grilling machine that has a filter to block out smoke and prevent it from coming in contact with your food. If it suits you, you could substitute grilling with frying using avocado and safflower oil as they have a high smoke point. Also, it would be great health etiquette to reduce the portion size of those hamburgers. As the saying goes, “What you eat is what you become!”

Negative Health Effects of Fast Food

The ill effects of fast food and the potential danger it possesses from its regular consumption is shocking. Obesity, increase in cholesterol levels, nutritional deficiencies, cardiac disorders, loss of muscle mass, depression, and even sexual dysfunction, can all be caused by eating fast food on a regular basis. Soaked in trans fat and loaded with calories, fast foods are labeled as ‘health hazards’ by many leading medical professionals.

10 Negative Health Effects of Fast Food

#1 – Headaches
The processed meat used in fast food contain nitrates, nitrites, artificial sweeteners and monosodium glutamate which increase blood flow and can trigger a migraine attack. Additives are used to keep the meat fresh and to prevent the growth of Clostridium botulinum the bacteria which causes food poisoning. The increased blood flow can cause excessive pressure to build up in the head and can lead to headaches.

#2 – Collection of Trans Fat
The processed food used in the fast food industry is loaded with trans fat, which not only increase the ‘bad cholesterol’ (Low Density Lipoprotein) levels but also reduce the ‘good cholesterol’ (High Density Lipoprotein) levels. Processed meat used by fast food industries can sometimes have 45% more trans fat than their natural counterparts.

#3 – Increased Cholesterol Levels
Consuming fast foods leads to an increased intake of cholesterol which is highly dangerous for humans. The cholesterol molecules attach themselves to the arteries which leads to their thickening or clogging. This can obstruct the blood flow and lead to high blood pressure. The accumulation of cholesterol in any one of the main arteries can cause blockage and lead to heart conditions.

#4 – Depression
Depression is one of the many negative effects of fast food. This emotional condition has been linked to regular consumption of fast foods by a study done by the University College of London. According to the study, people who indulge in fast foods often are 58% more likely to suffer from depression. Fast foods do not contain antioxidants, foliate, and omega -3s which is necessary for good mental health. Fast foods contain preservatives, emulsifiers, thickeners, stabilizers, and flavor enhancers which can affect the mental well-being of the person.

#5 – Excessive Sodium Intake
Fast foods contain high amounts of sodium which can lead to hypertension and high blood pressure. Although small amounts of sodium is needed for bodily functions, consuming too much can lead to not just high blood pressure, but build up of fluids in people who are suffering from liver cirrhosis, congestive heart failures or kidney ailments.

#6 – Sexual Dysfunction
What we eat affects our physical, mental, and sexual health. Fatty acids found in fast foods are a major contributor to sexual dysfunction, not only does it cause weight gain but can trigger biochemical changes which effect libido, sperm count and female ovulation.

#7 – Food Poisoning
Even if we overlook the dangers posed by low fiber, trans fat and high calories, fast food pose another problem, food poisoning. The processed meat is many times contaminated with manure which contains Escherichia Coli and Salmonella. E.Coli is considered very difficult to treat and sometimes referred to as the worst sort of food poisoning. Even after antibiotics kill the bacteria, the toxins released by it can produce harmful effects. This disease is usually spread through undercooked hamburgers and is a leading cause of renal failure among American kids.

#8 – Addictive Nature of Fast Foods
According to the Science Daily, high levels of sugar and fat can cause blood sugar to spike and then crash suddenly. The patrons of fast food feel a sudden rush of euphoria when this happens making them dependent on the euphoric effects of insulin surges. Therefore one of the harmful effects of fast food consumption is the addiction or the incessant craving it causes among people.

#9 – PFCA Contamination
The wrappers used in the fast food industry are coated with perfluoroalkyls (PAC) which prevents the grease from leaving through. These have been proven to get inside the human body and change into more harmful forms which can lead to many health complications. The wrappings used in fast food industry are a significant and indirect source of PFCA contamination.

#10 – Weight Gain
Studies have found a direct link between fast food consumption and weight gain and increased Body Mass Index (BMI). The high levels of trans fat and calories present in fast foods leads to accumulation of abdominal fat and even insulin resistance which is an early indicator of diabetes. Obesity has been ranked the number one health threat for Americans; it is also the second leading cause of preventable death in United States which claims up to 400,000 lives a year. Obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart problems, hypertension, blocked arteries, increase in cholesterol levels, malnutrition, loss of muscle mass and depression.

Fast food addiction can lead to an unhealthy and depressive sedentary lifestyle; to prevent this, it’s recommended to switch to a healthy and balanced diet along with regular exercise. Remember the key to happiness is a healthy lifestyle.