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You Can Reduce the Cancer Threat from Grilled Meat

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Aired 7/2/09

Grilling meat can give you cancer. But if the July 4th ritual is something you can't resist, a San Diego physician says there are ways to make it safer.

— Grilling meat can give you cancer. But if the July 4th ritual is something you can't resist, a San Diego researcher says there are ways to make it safer.

Grilling meat produces not one, but two kinds of carcinogens. One results from searing protein over a high heat. The other comes from the smoke produced when meat fat burns on the flame below. But Dr. Cheryl Rock, of the UCSD Medical School, doesn't want to be a killjoy when she points this out. She says moderating your consumption of grilled meat makes a difference. And there are other ways to reduce the health risk of grilling. One is to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, which counteracts the cancerous effect. The other involves precooking.

"If you did a lot of precooking in the microwave and then very briefly put the meat on the grill," says Rock, "you still have the flavor but it wouldn't be sitting there at the high heat for a long period of time."

She says too much grilled meat can lead to colon and other cancers. So... leave some room for vegetables on the barbie.

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