Why smoking food can be unhealthy sometimes.
Smoking food or grilling food or barbecuing food is actually one of the various processes of curing food (preserving food for food security) and almost no one can complain how the smoker grill would imbue all sorts of food with that crisp, juicy and unbelievable taste that you can’t get anywhere else.
However, while we here at Lakeside Smokers are grilling enthusiasts and would almost always recommend to you, our readers, any crazy recipe to smoke or grill, we do advice to consume your food sparingly and not get carried away.
Anything in excess is never good for your body, so cook your delicacies, savor their taste and eat moderately. In this article, I’ll talk about what to look out for.
In this post we'll cover:
Heterocyclic Amines (HCA) on Grilled and Smoked Foods
Whether grilled or smoked foods heterocyclic amines or HCA always becomes the byproduct and HCAs are one of the leading causes of cancer. Grilled foods produce more levels of HCA as grilling exposes the meat or other types of food to direct heat and they leave some amount of carcinogenic matter that you consume. But not to worry though, because if you have no history of cancer in your family, then the chances of you developing a cancer is 1 in a billion. This means that you’d have to eat at least half a pound of grilled foods 5 times a week for 20 years and there’s only 10% chance that you’ll get cancer. For smoked foods it would be 40 years and you’d only get 3% chance.
You may also want to read Beef and Pork Chili in the Natural Gas BBQ Smoker
But if you have a history of cancer in your family, then you may want to cut it back to a quarter of a pound a day for only 2-3 times a week or maybe even less than that, and you only eat smoked foods over grilled ones. Still, moderation is the key to a successful healthy living!
How to Avoid Getting Cancer from Grilling or Smoking Foods
Like I mentioned earlier, moderately smoking food or grilling them and limiting your smoked or grilled food intake is one way to avoid health risks. The fact is that it’s not just cancer that you need to worry about, because bad cholesterol, cardiovascular diseases, chances of becoming overweight or obese and other unwanted health problems will come after munching chunks after chunks of meat and other grilled foods! The health risks are also not just limited to smoked or grilled foods. You could get health problems by consuming 15 bottles of Nutella in 5 days! Literally anything you take excessively will eventually be bad for you.
Read more: the best BBQ smokers for meat reviewed
Here are some helpful tips in smoking foods and remaining healthy:
- Don’t eat smoked or grilled foods daily (especially grilled foods) – There’s no harm in eating a couple of barbecued meat occasionally, but try not to get addicted to them. Eat maybe 2-3 times a week and spread the days throughout the week to allow your body to digest them properly.
- Variate your food choices – Surely there’s more than just meat to buy in the market, right? So, take note of the food pyramid and eat what’s recommended there such as vegetables, fruits, fish, meat, some fat and other herbs. You may also want to take food supplement alternatives like those herb-based multivitamin capsules and other similar products. This is to ensure that you get all the vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids that your body needs.
- Exercise – Ah! This would seem to be the least of all the tips given by so many experts that people don’t take seriously when NOT doing it can have serious health impacts on anyone. You may want to train in an ultimate fitness gym where they offer multiple types of workouts designed specifically to help your body burn hundreds if not thousands of calories in 1-2 hours per day. Basically if you put off as much as you take in, then you should be as healthy as a horse.
- Take the idea of smoking food as a learning experience and not an excuse for gluttony – I don’t know about you, but for me smoking food and grilling is a learning curve all the time. True I love what I accomplish in those electric or gas grills just as much as any bloke would, but I don’t do it just to satisfy my needs to the point of getting diabetes or high blood pressure. I’m more excited on how the smoked food will taste like in my mouth than how good it will fill my stomach, because if I just wanted to get fat, then I can eat pizza every day. Treat smoking food as a learning experience and you’ll enjoy it more.
What to Take Away from All of This?
I think what we should all focus on is staying healthy while enjoying smoked foods and not focus on the negative things about the health impacts that grilled foods and HCAs causes, because at the end of the day if you’re doing things the right way, then there’s nothing to fear. We should, by no means, reject smoking food or grilling as it has been a great tradition not only for Americans, but for the rest of the world as well.
I mean, people still eat lasagna despite the half a pound of cheese that’s stuffed in it, like do they even know how much cholesterol there are in that thing? We get it! We recognize the health hazards, but we will do this safely rather than stop doing it and miss out a lot in our lives.
Now, if you’re really into getting and eating healthy, take a look at our vegetable recipes to get yourself some nutrition too instead of always a lot of smoked meats.