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Food for Thought

Grill healthy to reduce cancer risk

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

Depending on what you throw on the barbecue – and for how long – you may be jeopardizing your health ...Read the full article

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  1. Tossed Salada from Canada writes:

    WHAT A CROCK (pun not intended). One study that shows grilled meat will cause colo-rectal cancer. I call BULL SHIAT.
  2. Kevin Isicovit from Canada writes: Tossed Salada - Did you read the article? It cites numerous other studies finding carcinogens in grilled meats, studies that found why they were high in carcinogens and how to reduce those carcinogens. What do I care? Keep eating the stuff, please!
  3. Basser Basser from Canada writes: May I suggest that the dietary industry as well as health Canada devise a better scale than the current "serving". It is something that no matter how much we try to educate folks is not inherently understandable to anyone except for the small group.
    First serving size is something most of us eat more than in any one sitting. Dietitians may argue that point, but they are dietcians. Look around at any restaurant or family table
    I suggest we look at a 12 oz steak ( Yes I don't know any grown man that eats less than that except maybe when eating at a dieticians house)) or a typical chicken breast, a can of beans, or corn, a typical frozen bag of corn, pick the size, and devise a better way of measuring what is too much, or too little. That one change may assist the whole country in diet control rather than a few
  4. Political Junkie from Canada writes: Everything you eat contains carcinogens.

    The human diet is capable of producing a scare story per day, no problem.
  5. Richard Melville from Calgary, Canada writes: It seems that the more developed a country gets, the greater the decline in diet. At the same time, an attitude of exceptionalism grows. How could this stuff we are doing be killing us? We're so advanced! A Darwinian natural balance is at work here.
  6. J Mingay from Canada writes: I guess the thinking is, if you follow any of the advice in this article--especially microwaving before grilling--, you will stop eating bbq meat for good because you've essentially destroyed any flavour it may have had.

    By all means, cut down on the portion size, but quit flipping your burgers constantly.
  7. Hart Oldenburg from Canada writes: Well, Ms. Beck, you should get the Nobel Prize for taking all the fun and pleasure out of feeding ourselves well. By quoting, time and time again, inane, contradictory "studies" as a culinary gospel.
    %00 gram of meat a week? I am a sensible consumer but I'll have that much EVERY DAY! A lot of it as processed meat-- ham, bacon sausages, the stuff with a track record , smoked, dried, brined, life saving in pre-refrigeration times. So good for you! It pre-dates tofu, winter veggies and fruit.
  8. Brad B from Canada writes: The next study will find that the prolonged swallowing of saliva will also cause cancer.
  9. Justin Payne from Richmond BC, Canada writes: Research from Michigan State University determined that adding one cup of mashed cherries to a pound of ground meat suppressed carcinogen formation by 90 per cent...........

    Oh could also supress a good appetite.
  10. Justin Payne from Richmond BC, Canada writes: So if it tastes good, it's bad for your health...
  11. William Blake from Canada writes: For meats that require longer cooking times (such as larger cuts), partly cook in the microwave, drain the juices and then finish on the barbecue


    Suuuuuuuure! I just paid $100 for a whole fillet mignon. Let me microwave it and drain the juices first, so I will have a 0.001% lower risk of getting colorectal cancer. Some people need a bit of perspective - you need to die of something, might as well enjoy life in the meantime.
  12. D K from Canada writes: This is old news. Waaaay old.
  13. a salajan from To, Canada writes: Justin Payne from Richmond BC, Canada writes: So if it tastes good, it's bad for your health...

    Didn't you know? Everything good in life is immoral, illegal or makes you fat.

    Basically the article says those grill marks on your meat might give you cancer. Not so much if you wash it down with wine. Which I do... So I am good.
  14. My eyes are open, Are yours? from Canada writes: I'm surprised there was no suggestion to substitute the perennial 'boneless, skinless (tasteless) chicken breast'.

    BTW, have found PC veggie burgers with portobello mushrooms and swiss cheese - if you feel any obligation to go veggie once in a while, these are the first meatless burgers I've found that taste actually good, compared to others which taste the same as the box.
  15. D N M from Canada writes: My eyes are open, Are yours? from Canada writes: "I'm surprised there was no suggestion to substitute the perennial 'boneless, skinless (tasteless) chicken breast'.

    BTW, have found PC veggie burgers with portobello mushrooms and swiss cheese - if you feel any obligation to go veggie once in a while, these are the first meatless burgers I've found that taste actually good, compared to others which taste the same as the box. "

    I have tried these out of curiosity and I never new a "veggie" burger could taste so good. The swiss cheese adds a lot of fat but who cares, delicious!

    Microwave your meat before grilling it? Why bother grilling then? The flavour and texture will be totally different. I think I'll take the author's "advice" and increase my fruit and veggie intake with my meal instead.
  16. Josh Turner from Toronto, Canada writes: Mashed cherries in a burger????? What?????? Why bother eating a burger like that? Has Leslie ever eaten a cherry burger before?
  17. a salajan from To, Canada writes: My eyes are open, Are yours? from Canada

    Why do veg meals need to simulate meat? Who's fooling whom? Die hard vegans hate meat and I assume they hate shapes and textures reminding them of meat (hot dogs, burgers).

    Dead animal eaters like you and me can always eat a real burger.

    When I eat vegetarian meals I would rather see the whole mushroom in my plate, or chopped; grilled tofu is great too (sprinkle some sesame seeds on it before grilling). Grilled portabella is nice and juicy (hopefully Leslie Beck won't make drain the juice). Next level up is portabella (top only) filled with cream cheese dill. Then grilled. But this is not vegetarian in my book.
  18. LISA MCMILLAN from OTTAWA, Canada writes: Kind of makes sense to me. Animals in the wild eat ALWAYS eat their meat raw. Probably the way humans used to eat it, to, before somebody accidentally dropped their portion on the fire. Maybe a good idea would be to start replacing regular condiments (e.g., relish) with FRESH stuff - like the story says, chopped onions (who doesn't love onions on a burger?) Add a few spinach leaves, some fresh tomatoes, pile it on! Maybe that's why relish was invented, any way - some kind of intuitive sense that we needed to be consuming some onions and veggies to counterbalance that charred meat.
  19. A C from Albertario, Canada writes: My eyes are open, Are yours? writes: found PC veggie burgers with portobello mushrooms and swiss cheese - if you feel any obligation to go veggie once in a while, these are the first meatless burgers I've found that taste actually good, compared to others which taste the same as the box.

    There's nothing wrong with eating vegetarian, if one knows how to cook. And forgive me if I hesitate to take advice from someone who tastes the box in which their food is sold. Moreover, one could make veggie burgers in the time it takes to go to blobblaws and come home with their box of burgers.

    Why would you taste the box? Low fibre diet?

  20. Michael Tripper from Canada writes: well I won;t stop eating my favourite burnt foods - I prefer em that way but cancer is not exactly known in my family so there you go - and I drink tea and eat fruits anf veggies!

    Charbroiled is best!!! Damn the consequences!
  21. Agile Geezer from Canada writes: I would stand a better chance of getting a serious health problem or two by breathing Toronto air during a summer inversion than eating my cherish scorched meats.

    The author does not know the first thing about food preparation of cooking. Pre-cooking meat in a microwave oven before grilling? Gag me with a spatula!
  22. Mark H from United States writes: Cancer rates have been dropping for 20 years now in pretty much every demographic. Enjoy all the grilled cow you want.
  23. Sue City from Canada writes: Meats are wonderful when they are cooked in stews and sauces. Then you don't have to brown them at all! I'll stick with that method (because I like it) and savour the occassional summer bbq...
  24. Nickstar One de Bantario Banada from Canada writes: Actually the SHS from the bar-bee is more likely to give you cancer than the stuff on the bar-bee being cooked. Don't believe it? Check out the idiotic claims and comparisons justifying no smoking in vehicles. Surely unfiltered bar-bee smoke is also immune to all the known and conceivable laws of physics.
  25. Frank The Tank from Argentina writes: This is very old news, there are 10-15 year old studies in argentina (world's no 1 consumer of bbq red meat) that show a high correlation between grilled meat consumption and colon cancer.

    microwave steak .....lmao!
  26. Dave Wells from Peterborough, Canada writes: Heavens above Sue City! Stewing meat without browing it first! You're banished from the kitchen effective immediately! :) Leslie Beck, god bless her, often confuses being alive with living.
  27. Dave Wells from Peterborough, Canada writes: Sorry world, me again. Here it is 40 minutes later and I still can't believe she's actually suggesting a) microwaving (MICROWAVING!) expensive cuts of meat and b) mixing crushed cherries into hamburger.

    I mean come ON. Our life expectancy has NEVER been longer, day to day living is, relative to 100 years ago, completely care free and she wants me to microwave my friggin' meat.
  28. stand up mimi from Vancouver, Canada writes: "For meats that require longer cooking times (such as larger cuts), partly cook in the microwave, drain the juices and then finish on the barbecue."

    I'm with the rest of you who consider this an abomination. If I wanted to eat shoe leather, I wouldn't be slapping a nice rib steak on the grill, now would I?

    I also wonder how much the study actually reflects grilled meat consumption and how much is actually a lack of vegetables or other unhealthy eating habits.
  29. guy tozer from saskatoon, Canada writes: Tossed Salada: You really have to get out more. This knowledge has been know for over 20 years, and many more than one study. Geez, some people.
  30. stand up mimi from Vancouver, Canada writes: Incidentally, not mentioned in this article was a third study on colorectal cancer in the same May issue. It found no link between animal fat and protein, and incidence of colorectal cancer.
  31. Neil Harvey from Victoria, Canada writes: Many of the problems regarding cooking method mentioned in the article involve high heat. There is a way to bbq delicious meat without spending much time on high heat and almost no time in flame or smoke.

    I have found the best way to grill any kind of meat is to sear it on each side for 60-90 seconds then move it to the off burner (one side on @ medium heat, the other turned off) and let convection heat do the rest of the cooking. The length of time under convection depends on the meat thickness: e.g. a medium thick steak is 10-12 minutes. This way the meat cooks all the way through (@ rare), it retains moisture and tastes great. No need to microwave. I've done a small turkey on the bbq this way. Try it, you'll love it.
  32. Seymore Applebaum from Toronto, Canada writes: You may notice that not too many women are commenting on this issue. I think women get it because they are concerned about breast cancer and other cancers. Unfortunately, the men don't get it! When the connection between grilled red meat and prostate cancer is made then maybe some men will wake up to the dangers of eating too much red meat grilled or other wise.
    Have you seen the television commercials for eating red meat and processed meat products. The vast majority of those commercials target young and middle-aged men. Rarely, do you see the fast food industry aiming their commercials at women. The back lash these companies would get would be challenging for them to handle. They would be blamed for encouraging women to eat foods that could lead to cancer.
    It's time men woke up and smelled the bacon (and not eat it). Well that may be impossible in this society!
  33. Jimmy K from Toronto, Canada writes: If polyps are the price I've got to pay for a decent steak, so be it. I could microwave my striploins and mix cherries and kale into my burgers and eat portion sizes that reek of a pretty major penance, and I'm still going to die, probably much less happy.

  34. Jay Wortman MD from West Vancouver, Canada writes: For the nth time, association does not determine causality. There are so many variables in a person's diet and lifestyle that it is very difficult to tease out a single factor as causation for cancer using a study with this design. These studies should not be used to change diet until the necessary randomized clinical trials are done.
    Another point: she reports, "Compared with those with the lowest intake of PhIP, individuals who consumed the most had a 46 per cent greater risk of developing adenomas". A similar study was done by the BC Cancer Agency a few years ago that showed the rate of colorectal cancer was 100% higher among those who ate the greatest amount of carbohydrates compared to those who ate the least. That's more than twice the risk ratio of the meat study. Why isn't Leslie admonishing us to cut the carbs?
  35. M. Pantouflard from Montreal, Canada writes: Sadly it is only too true that cooking a steak on the BBQ so that it has all those tasty brown bits on it IS bad for you (I'm in the science business - I understand the numbers) however much we all would like to have the world arranged otherwise but if you want a steak, then have one. Life is full of risks and this is not all that high up the list - just don't eat BBQ red meat too often, moderation and crossed fingrs get you through a lot of tricky situaitons.

    What amused me was that on the page preceding this article we had a chef telling how to get that nice carcinogenic coating on our steaks ... don't G&M editors coordinate their message?
  36. Nickstar One de Bantario Banada from Canada writes: "....For the nth time, association does not determine causality...."
    Really, Jay MD!
    Tell that to all the SHS fraudsters who are primarily interested in social engineering power and control. They get their marching orders from the WHO's FCTC circa 2003. The SHS fraud is rife with unjustified and exaggerated "association", repeated ad nauseum, to lend unearned credence and the veneer of authority to their agenda.
  37. Political Junkie from Canada writes: Interesting feedback!

    Will the editors start to recognize that pointless scare articles are turning people off?

    Of course, sadly that means that Leslie and Martin will have to find a meaningful job.
  38. Dan Thomas from Canada writes: Seymore Applebaum, forget it. I don't honestly care about the possibility even if the "could possibly blah blah blah" was prostate cancer instead of colorectal. There is just too damned much to worry about in life, if I worried about all of it I would never do anything else.
  39. S Applebaum from Toronto, Canada writes: So Dan why did we as a society bother with warning the population about the multiple dangers of smoking? If we think there is no use in researching the relationship between substances that we put in our body and the diseases that happen then why bother with scientific research. I guess it's all just a big joke. It's only when people die quickly from things like listerious that we wake up and realize that there is a connection.

    My point is if it is not OK for women to eat this stuff in the same quantities as men then men should consider the consequences too!
  40. Dr Strangelove from Tokelau writes: A 46 percent increase in risk seems pretty moderate - I had expected it to be much higher. A number like that is almost negligible.

    I should really buy a nice grill for the porch.
  41. Nickstar One de Bantario Banada from Canada writes: "....about the multiple dangers of smoking? If we think there is no use in researching the relationship between substances that we put in our body and the diseases that happen then why bother with scientific research...."
    If only it were "scientific reasearch". Problem is, what passes as scientific research is no such thing especially the reams of nonsense surveys and pretentious "studies" that are based more on anecdotal evidence than science. In reality, these "studies" are no such thing but are produced to conform to a fixed and specific social engineering agenda as in the case of
    the "may, might, could, can" smoking danger studies produced by the truckload and undeniably lacking in specifics.
  42. R L from Canada writes: oh my god... not being able to barbeque, what am i going to do tonite and tomorrow nite and on the weekend...
    Guess I will have to pick up some tofu and throw a little bbq sauce on it.. washing it down with some oatmeal porridge in the morning.

    Sigh! Oh how I will miss that filet mignon....

    but wait there is hope if we sear it and let it cook on the side grill theres hope (and yes that works) ALSO Cancer rates are not increasing!... did you know that.. they were actually declining... except for women who smoked...

    So back to everything in moderation including moderation itself!
  43. ralph jacobs from Taber, Alberta, Canada writes: Throw the barbecue off the deck and eat lots of oatmeal porridge. There is an added bonus; once the oatmeal porridge is cold it can taste like salamanders.
  44. Timothy Thorson from Berlin, Germany writes: "As the warm weather arrives, so does barbecue season - the time of year we like to enjoy the taste of grilled foods, especially meat. But depending on what you throw on the grill - and for how long - you MAY be jeopardizing your health. A new study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition SUGGESTS that eating plenty of grilled - and well browned - meat CAN boost the risk of colorectal cancer, especially if your diet lacks fruit and vegetables." "MAY be jeopardizing; SUGGESTS grilled meat CAN boost the risk... " Speculations, suggestion, guesswork... very irritating. "A number of studies have demonstrated that high intakes of red meat and processed meat increase the risk of colorectal cancer." Is that right? "A number of studies"...? How about a little 'chapter and verse'... "Experts recommend... " And who might these 'experts' be? "The researchers asked participants about types of meat consumed, cooking methods and degree of browning - factors that influence the formation of HCAs. Daily intakes of HCAs, including PhIP, were also calculated" Were calculated? With what precision? These are oral reports of what persons are consuming? Sounds highly inaccurate and undependable. I think you're making it up. There may be some statistical connection between various and sundry diets and occurrence of various and sundry diseases, but the exact reasons (from individual to individual) is not at all demonstrable. I'd appreciate reading about something like this when there are some actual facts to report, and not mere suppositions. And by the way, I like my brontosaurus-sized steaks black on the outside, red on the inside...
  45. ROBERT DE KRIEGER from France writes: 's Wonderful!! Only once in all these posts have I seen the abominable "barbeque". This virus, possibly pandemic, as I have even seen this in Europe, should be destroyed as soon as possible. Just what is a "barbeck", anyway? It's BARBECUE, people, or BBQ for the lazy. As for the culinary attraction, I prefer my meat bloody, so it is into the hot pan with a little butter/oil misture, for a very short time. Yes, I like even my pork rather rosy, and lamb. Call me a bloody carnivore...
  46. Living Fossil from Edmonton, Canada writes: If one eliminated everything that is claimed to cause cancer from your diet, you'd probably starve to death (or wish you had). Personally, I'll continue to eat and drink the things that I enjoy for the benefit of everyone around me --- otherwise I get grumpy :-)

    And, ROBERT DE KRIEGER from France, the word can actually be spelled either way, although barbecue seems to be more common. See or

    Have a great day, everyone!

  47. Lou Bix from Canada writes: I hope i never have to dine with Mrs. Beck. She would have me boil my T Bone steak.

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