My BBQ meat is burnt, should I still eat it?

We all love barbecue food, be it Korean BBQ, Mookata or the old school BBQ corner in the void deck. BBQ is a great way to relax, catch-up, celebrate, and spend time with family and friends. I especially love the flamed charred taste! Put the meat on the grill and flip until the outsides are a little bit crispy or burnt… Ahh, ’nuff said. However delicious they are, I think we’ve all heard that they’re not so healthy…

So the million-dollar question is, how bad is eating all these burnt food, exactly?

I did quite a bit of digging and here’s what I found out:


Yes, burnt foods could increase cancer risk

To be exact, burnt foods have proven to cause cancer in lab animals, but so far it is unclear if burnt food can have the same results in human body. But the general message from experts is that we should reduce the amount of burnt foods in our diet.

There are 2 key toxins found in burnt food, they are Acrylamide and Heterocyclic amines (HCAs). Both toxins are often found in foods prepared at a very high temperature, and large consumption could increase risk for serious medical conditions such as cancer and heart disease.



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Should I be concerned?

To paint a clearer picture, a Cambridge University statistician suggested that 0ne would only be at risk if they consumed 320 slices of burnt toast each day.

In other words, with a healthy diet, the tiny amount of acrylamide that may be in a slice of beef or roast potato isn’t going to make inroads into your health prospects. A healthy balanced diet is low in acrylamide anyway!


Do i have to stop eating my korean BBQ completely?

No, of course not! As long as you do not cook your meat for longer than it is required, you’re okay. In fact, the longer the meat is cooked, the more dangerous it becomes!

Here are some tips to minimise the formation of these toxins:

  • A “golden rule”: cook food until it goes yellow, not brown or black.
  • Stay alert during BBQ, even if you’re engaging in juicy conversations — be sure to keep a lookout on the food
  • Pick off the burnt bits before eating
  • Use thinner cuts, which cook quickly
  • Use lower temperatures on the grill
  • Remove food from the heat as soon as it is cooked
  • Continuously turning meat over on a high heat source can substantially reduce HCAs formation compared with just leaving the meat on the heat source without flipping it often

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