A grilling on meaty issues
After reading the article "Well-done
research" (SN: 4/24/99, p. 264), I was unsure about one thing:
Are HCAs a by-product of the coals in grilling? And, if so, can
vegetables also have HCAs after being grilled? A friend of mine
will not grill even veggies because she thinks they also can get
Heterocyclic amines form through a chemical reaction involving some constituents of the meat. Even heavily grilled veggies should therefore remain HCA-free. J. Raloff
While it is heartening to learn that the modern mainstream is
learning the value of mixing tart fruits and meats, it's something
of a letdown to find that this "novel" antioxidant has been patented,
given that Indians subsisted for centuries on fruited pemmican.
West Lafayette, Ind.
The local health food store has dried cherries at $8.49 per pound.
How many of these would one need to include in ground hamburger
for anticancer activity? Alternatively, my daily vitamin E tablets
are labeled 400 IU. Is that the same as 400 milligrams? Does that
mean that I would need only one of these tablets for 10 pounds
Vitamin E is a mix of related tocopherol molecules. There's no automatic rule for converting milligrams of vitamin E to international units (IUs) because any conversion will require you to know the particular proportion of different tocopherols present in the vitamin E studied. In one study that we reported on, 1 mg of vitamin E equaled about 1.4 IU, so 280 mg translated to about 400 IU. J. Raloff
With reference to your cover story, our barbecue customs here
in north Georgia may aid in reducing the risks outlined.
When cooking pork ribs, my family recipe (passed down from an
ancestral backcountry chef) calls for parboiling the ribs for
approximately 1 hour, until the meat is tender but not quite falling
off the bones. We then marinate them overnight (in a highly confidential
sauce) before grilling them briefly.
While I believe the custom arose to reduce the risks associated
with underdone pork, I see no reason why it could not be used
with all red meats. I also bake my chicken in the oven and "finish"
it on the grill with the sauce because there's nothing nastier
than biting into a leg of chicken you mistakenly thought was cooked
Does meat produce HCAs only when cooked directly on a charcoal
or gas fire or can these carcinogens develop in meat cooked on
a stove, in a pan, or on an electric or gas burner?
West Lafayette, Ind.
The source of the heata barbecue grill, kitchen cooktop, or electric-resistance
coil in an ovenis not what matters. What are important are the
temperature the meat is heated to, the grilling time, and the
fat content of the meat. J. Raloff