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Beer Medicine

To Reduce the Health Risk of Barbecuing Meat, Just Add Beer 179

Posted by timothy
from the honey-this-is-my-medicine dept.
PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "Grilling meat gives it great flavour. This taste, though, comes at a price, since the process creates molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which damage DNA and thus increase the eater's chances of developing colon cancer. But a group of researchers led by Isabel Ferreira of the University of Porto, in Portugal, think they have found a way around the problem. When barbecuing meat, they suggest, you should add beer. The PAHs created by grilling form from molecules called free radicals which, in turn, form from fat and protein in the intense heat of this type of cooking. One way of stopping PAH-formation, then, might be to apply chemicals called antioxidants that mop up free radicals. And beer is rich in these, in the shape of melanoidins, which form when barley is roasted." (The paper on which this report is based, sadly paywalled.)
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To Reduce the Health Risk of Barbecuing Meat, Just Add Beer

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  • Whoever posted this summary really should have added that. There are other places where one might consider adding beer that would be less effective. You don't have to get past the paywall to find that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 06, 2014 @10:25AM (#46676203)

    Whoever posted this summary has the mental capacity of an 8 year old, and seriously, timothy is no better for posting an article based on a paywalled source.

  • Re:Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dreamchaser (49529) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @10:35AM (#46676267) Homepage Journal

    What a stupid article. Beer is hardly the best source of antioxidants. Blueberries would be a far better choice.

    "Eat antioxidants to prevent cancer" ....well thank you captain obvious, we have known this for many years!

    Except beer makes an excellent marinade for meats and can be incorporated into BBQ sauce as well.

  • From what to what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Maury Markowitz (452832) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @10:36AM (#46676285) Homepage

    "polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which damage DNA and thus increase the eater's chances of developing colon cancer"

    Pretty rare to start with, so I suspect it's from "one in a million" to "1.5 in a million".

    We have actual things to worry about, grilling isn't one of them.

  • Re:Confusion (Score:3, Insightful)

    by magusxxx (751600) <magusxxx_2000&yahoo,com> on Sunday April 06, 2014 @11:19AM (#46676575)
    Must be a northerner.
  • Re:Fuck this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @11:19AM (#46676577)

    Don't use the good beer. Use the Miller Light that's been sitting in your fridge since someone brought it over months ago.

  • Re:Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @11:32AM (#46676653)

    "Eat antioxidants to prevent cancer" ....well thank you captain obvious, we have known this for many years!

    Except we do not "know" that. The link between anti-oxidants and cancer is not clear. Eating fruits and vegetables (high in anti-oxidants) is correlated with lower cancer rates. But if the anti-oxidants are isolated and taken as supplements, they are NOT correlated with cancer reduction, and in some cases make it worse. So maybe it is something else in the fruits and vegetables that is beneficial. Exercise is also correlated with cancer reduction, and exercise causes an increase in the supposedly harmful free radicals that anti-oxidants suppress. The interplay of these factors is complicated and poorly understood. So it is not at all clear that anti-oxidants "prevent cancer".

  • by ganjadude (952775) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @11:40AM (#46676707) Homepage
    cooking with beer is not the same as drinking it, you should be just fine. My brother hates beer but loves when I make chilli because I use a good stout in it
  • by istartedi (132515) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @11:41AM (#46676713) Journal

    As far as colon cancer is concerned, there is a lot of common sense here [nih.gov]. I doubt a tiny little factor like anti-oxidants on your beef is going to make much difference if you're an overweight smoker in your 50s. Having beer around might encourage you to drink heavily, which is listed there as increasing risk. So. If you already like beer marinade then great. If you don't, then there's virtually no reason to use a recipe you don't like. Concentrate on the elephant in the room before addressing the mouse.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 06, 2014 @12:06PM (#46676857)
    Colon cancer is the second or third most common cancer in the world (depending if you are talking about women or men), and tends to be even higher in modern, western countries with a ~60% 5 year survival rate. While you see what looks like low probabilities of ~50 per 100,000 diagnosed per year in the US, this works out to about a couple percent chance any given person will be diagnosed with colon cancer at some point in their life. That isn't anywhere near a one in a million chance and colon cancer is actually one of the "things to worry about."
  • by pla (258480) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @12:47PM (#46677125) Journal
    Pre-cooking food at low heat for a period before slapping it on the grill can cut down the time needed to cook it as well as limit how much burnt material is produced.

    Except, by doing that, you've ruined the whole reason we barbecue things - Because we want that thin outer layer of charring.

    Yes, we have plenty of ways to cook foods without forming PAH, acrylamide, or the other carcinogens-of-the-week. We could boil everything. We could microwave everything. We could bake everything on low heat while basting to keep the surface moist. Those will all pretty much prevent the formation of all the nasty chemicals we worry about in our barbecued foods. They all take less effort than barbecuing, too - A typical cookout basically requires someone manning the grill continuously to cook up a steady flow of burgers and hotdogs; vs throwing 10 lbs of dogs in a big boiling pot and having enough cooked to feed a small army in under ten minutes.

    We grill things over open flame because all those nasty carcinogens make it taste better. Simple as that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07, 2014 @12:10AM (#46680725)

    Steak should be raw inside you pillock.

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