Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The End of Cookout Season

Person grilling food

Do you grill or broil your steak or chicken? Do you regularly eat meats that are cooked at a high enough temperature to char the outside?

You may be putting yourself at risk for high blood pressure.

It has long been known that eating red meat, especially processed red meat, is associated with high blood pressure. The evidence relating chicken and fish (white meats) to high blood pressure had been unclear until recent research that focused on cooking methods.

When red or white meat proteins are exposed to high temperatures or charred, heterocyclic aromatic amine (HAA) chemicals are formed. This cooking method also creates polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and advanced glycation end products. Animal studies have shown these three types of chemicals to all be hazardous, inducing oxidative stress, insulin resistance and inflammation. Those physiological conditions can increase the risk of developing hypertension.

Researchers studied people who ate meat at least twice a week. They found that those who ate well-done meat or who cooked meat at high temperatures or exposed to open flames had a greater risk for high blood pressure.

Not yet convinced to put away the hibachi and turn in your barbecue tongs? The researchers also found that cooking meats at high temperatures was also linked to weight gain and a risk of obesity. These are both factors increasing the risk of high blood pressure in addition to other health risks.

Read an interview with the head researcher here.

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