Veggie Burgers Better Choice for Labor Day Grilling
chicken contains high levels of cancer-causing heterocyclic amines
(HCAs), putting this commonly barbecued item at the top of the five
worst foods to grill, according to a new analysis by nutrition scientists
with The Cancer Project. HCAs are potent carcinogens produced during
cooking from the creatine, amino acids, and sugars found naturally
in chicken and other meats. In January 2005, the federal government
added HCAs to its list of known carcinogens.
contains the highest HCA concentration, with alarmingly high levels
also found in flame-cooked steak, salmon, and hamburger. The Cancer
Project report focuses on HCAs, but many grilled meats, including
hotdogs, contain other carcinogens such as nitrates. Safer alternatives
include veggie burgers and veggie brochettes, which contain no HCAs
or negligible amounts, even when cooked over the hottest flames.
aspect of chicken is not grease or salmonella,” says Cancer
Project managing director Jennifer Reilly, R.D. “Few people
are aware that chicken is the single biggest contributor of carcinogenic
HCAs in the American diet.” In addition to high HCA levels,
chicken contains about the same amount of cholesterol as beef and
is also typically high in fat. Even when the skin is removed, dark
meat is thrown away, and a non-fat cooking method is used, chicken
still derives 23 percent of its calories from fat.
Five Worst Foods to Grill (by HCA levels)
|Chicken breast, skinless, boneless, grilled,
|Steak, grilled, well done
|Salmon, grilled with skin
|Hamburger, grilled, well done
portion equals about 3.5 ounces grilled
For a copy of
The Cancer Project’s “The Five Worst Foods to Grill”
report or an interview with Ms. Reilly, please contact Susanne Forte,
202-686-2210, ext. 339, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cancer Project is a nonprofit organization of physicians, researchers,
and nutritionists working together to educate the public about the
benefits of a healthy diet for cancer prevention and survival. An
affiliate of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,
The Cancer Project offers free cooking and nutrition classes in
more than 30 cities around the country. Visit www.CancerProject.org
for more information.