Be Careful if You Barbecue

Summer is a time for outdoor cooking, barbecues and other family feasts.  In the U.S., the July 4 celebration of American Independence is especially popular for gatherings and meals.  But what you cook – and how you cook it – can make a difference to your health.

Researchers at Atatürk University in Turkey studied the effects of different cooking methods and levels.  They compared chicken chops and fish fillets.  They compared different cooking methods, including microwave, oven, hot plate, pan frying and barbecuing.  And they compared different degrees of “doneness,” including rare, medium, well done, and very well done.

Their tests focused on heterocyclic aromatic amines, chemical compounds that form when protein-based foods are heat processed.  Health officials have shown a link between HCAs and several forms of cancer in humans.

The results show that HCA formation is highly dependent on the method and level of cooking.  Generally, the total amount of HCAs in chicken was lower than that of fish.  Microwave cooking resulted in both the highest and the lowest amount of HCAs, leading the researchers to recommend against microwave cooking.  Pan frying and barbecuing also resulted in higher total HCAs.  Overall, HCA amounts are lowest when meat is cooked by oven or hot plate, and to a level of rare or medium.

Researchers used an Agilent 1100 High-Performance Liquid Chromatograph with a Diode Array Detector (UV-DAD).

This information is for research purposes only.  It is not intended for any use in diagnostic procedures.

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Effects of cooking methods and levels on formation of heterocyclic aromatic amines in chicken and fish with Oasis extraction method

Agilent Liquid Chromatography