Your Community Newspaper

Lumby, Lavington, Whitevale, Coldstream, Vernon & Cherryville

Your Community Newspaper

Lumby, Lavington, Whitevale, Coldstream, Vernon & Cherryville

Your Community Newspaper

Lumby, Lavington, Whitevale, Coldstream, Vernon & Cherryville

BBQ Season – Prep Precautions

This is a repeat each year, but a good refresher now that the weather is starting to get nice out.  As the BBQ’s and campfires light up, there are many fun social aspects, associated around these events.  Chips, burnt marshmallows, charred meat and the fact that it takes places outdoors gives much pleasure.  Not to be the bearer of bad news but there can be some disturbing downsides to our health if precautions are not taken.  But let’s break it down. 


  • – Reduces fat in foods by grilling or BBQ 
  • – Tastes yummy!


The concern around burnt food increasing the risk of cancer relates to the chemicals that form when food is overcooked or burnt.  

  • –  Acrylamide is a chemical that can form in some foods, especially French fries, potato chips, vegetable chips, and crackers even burnt toast.  Occur during high-temperature cooking processes, such as frying, baking, grilling and roasting.  
  • PAH’s  (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons): PAH’s form when fat from the meat drips onto the hot coals or grill element
  • HCA’s  (heterocyclic amines: HCA’s are produced when red meat, poultry and fish are cooked using high-heat

So, what’s the problem?

Other than some favourites on the BBQ that are fired up such as hot dogs, smokies and sausages that are loaded with calories from highly saturated fats, even worse are the carcinogens formed when barbequing these and almost any type of meat.   HCAs and PAHs have been found to be mutagenic— meaning, they cause changes in DNA that may increase the risk of cancer. HCAs are not found in significant amounts in foods other than meat cooked at high temperatures. PAHs however, can be found in other charred foods, as well as in cigarette smoke and car exhaust fumes.  Unfortunately, that yummy charring that forms on meat can contain PAHs.  Acrylamide levels in food vary widely depending on cooking time, and the method and temperature of the cooking process.  Some studies have associated dietary acrylamide intake with certain cancers, such as kidney, endometrial, and ovarian cancers.

But don’t despair, grill lovers — a new, healthy way to grill is possible.

Top 10 TIPS for Safer BBQ Foods while still reducing fat, keeping the food yummy, heart healthy and fun!

10. Boil or microwave to pre-cook meat prior to exposure to high temperatures this can reduce HCA formation by reducing the time that meat is in contact with high heat to finish cooking. Also opting for leaner cuts of meat like chicken breast, turkey, or lean beef and or bison. Think of this with smokies too, a turkey or chicken smokie will cut the fat content substantially. 

9. Clean your BBQ before cooking.

8. Avoid direct exposure of meat to an open flame or a hot metal surface and avoiding prolonged cooking times.

7. Flip! Continuously turning meat over can substantially reduce HCA formation.

6. Remove charred portions of meat and refraining from using gravy made from meat drippings can also reduce HCA and PAH exposure.

5. Limit the amount of fat that drips, use lean cuts, trim visible fat and skin.

4. Marinate with olive oil, vinegar, and herbs rather than sugary or high-fat sauces can not only reduce the calories but also limit the fat that drips on the coals, but don’t baste. In some studies, this has shown to reduce the formation of HCAs by as much as 92% to 99%.

3. Skewer It – This will cut down on grilling time as you will have smaller pieces to cook.

2. Substitute or Add!  Grilled fruits and vegetables don’t produce carcinogens and have high antioxidants like Vitamin C which help neutralize carcinogens from the meat.  Also, Wasabi or horseradish are great additions as they also can help to prevent cancer as it aids detoxification of persistent carcinogenic molecules.  A study found that ITCs (Isothiocyanates), extracted from wasabi root inhibited the formation of acrylamide by 90 %

1. Have fun! BBQ with a glass of wine, red wine in particular which offers some health benefits too!

Not sure where to start or how to manage, please contact me below to get you started, first consultation is always free.
Mikkie Nettles-Pollon, Certified Personal Trainer/Holistic & Sports Nutritionist
Not sure where to begin, contact me at
250-541 -0411.
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