5 Tips: Is Grilling Meat Bad for You?

Summer is here - and the smell of backyard barbeques is in the air!

But, as a result of some recent studies, people are starting to question the health implications of grilled meat. Does it mean you should skip Uncle Joe’s annual summer cookout?

Here’s what the USDA has to say:

Some studies suggest there may be a cancer risk related to eating food cooked by high-heat cooking techniques as grilling, frying, and broiling. Based on present research findings, eating moderate amounts of grilled meats like fish, meat, and poultry cooked - without charring - to a safe temperature does not pose a problem.

There a basically two issues.

The first is charring. When meat becomes charred, it develops carcinogenic compounds called HCAs. These compounds have been shown to increase possible risk of breast, colon, prostate and stomach cancer. In fact, in one study, researchers found that individuals who ate beef medium-well or well-done beef had 3x the stomach cancer risk than individuals who at their beef rare or medium-rare.

The second issue is caused by meat fat dripping onto an open flame. This results in a flare-up of fire and smoke - and carcinogens called PAHs are deposited onto the meat.

Both charring and flare-ups can be prevented with these five tips:

  1. Cook at lower temperatures and don’t burn meat. This will prevent charring.
  2. Trim fat off of meat to reduce flare-ups.
  3. Marinate meats. One study showed that marinades may act as a barrier - and can reduce carcinogens by as much as 90%!
  4. Remove any charred or burnt pieces before consuming meat.
  5. Cook on a grill with a flavor bar between the food and flame.

The good news is there’s no need to cancel Uncle Joe’s annual barbeque. Just be sure to use the above tips to make your grilling season as healthy as possible - and remember, everything in moderation. Including moderation.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. Charring is the whole point of grilling. My grill is at least 600 degrees before the steaks going on. You can’t get any better steak. And the evidence is so weak on this - its laughable.

    • I know right I normally really like reading what Davey has to post but this is just a bunch of junk science it seems. I already said this on G+ but… If this was really and major issue we would have died of many years ago when we first started cooking meat on the fire. I mean really now. Think about how long we have been cooking meat on an open flame. I am also sure yes they didn’t regulate the temperature but I am sure they burned it quite a bit.

  2. I cant stand the taste of Charcoal anyway..! Dx I mean, seriously, when cave men discovered fire, i dont think They set their grills for 600 Degrees to cook their catch. ;P

  3. Marcus O'Byrne says:

    I find this hilarious, not because of what Davey says (which he has a valid point).

    But because the meat itself is the worst thing for you, how it’s manufactured, the corn meal fed to cows which increases e.coli 157H7 in the meat, how most meat is ground with every piece of the animal including bone matter and organs, bleached all one colour and treated with ammonia. This is how 80% of burgers are made in America.

  4. christopher says:

    marinate-like chicken for instance.and moderation.dont bbq all the time-give the grill a rest.

  5. …well… this is news to me. I thought the risk was using charcoal briquettes. I have a portable Coleman gas grill (before purchasing I read many reviews of it from owners stating it was better than their $2k Weber… but I digress) and use it every day. seriously. lunch and sometimes bkfst if I’m home but almost always dinner.

    i try to keep it clean. hate the taste of char and animal fat makes me queasy so I guess I can say I don’t consume much of that stuff - but I now wish I hadn’t read this article… lol

    funny posts. agree with Jarred and Marcus, though… do not eat ground meat unless you did the grinding. the meat, I mean…

  6. Hello there! Would you mind iif I share your blog with my myspacxe group?

    There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content.
    Please let mee know. Thank you

  7. El aval personal lo que significa es que nosotros responceremos frente a las deudas con nuestros bienes presentes y futuros de manera personal.


  1. […] As pointed out, charring is not a healthy option and you can find out why and how to avoid it here. I use it sometimes when on a cheat day but usually just cook the meat without […]