Grilling skewers of vegetables does not produce carcinogens – cancer-causing substances – as opposed to grilling meats

Editor’s note: This is a previous Friday Fix we wrote about grilling. Tips were provided by emeritus member of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Board, Maria Petzel, senior clinical dietitian for the Pancreas Surgery Program at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

The Memorial Day holiday is almost here. Before you fire up your grill or gather with friends or family for good ol’ fashioned BBQ, check out these healthy grilling tips from senior clinical dietitian Maria Petzel.

“Carcinogens – substances capable of causing cancer – are produced when meats (animal proteins) are cooked at high temperatures, so grilled meats can certainly increase the levels of carcinogens in the body. Marinating can reduce the formation of one type of potential carcinogen associated with grilling – use an acidic marinade such as vinegar or citrus juice. And no carcinogens are produced with grilled vegetables, so you can grill all the veggies you want.”

Check out delicious marinade recipes like tangy yogurt-spice and herbed Dijon marinade and basting sauce.

In addition to marinating meat and sticking to grilled veggies, the American Institute for Cancer Research suggests cooking lean cuts of meat in the center of the grill to reduce flare-ups and charring, and precooking the meat in a microwave, oven or stove.

Pancreatic cancer patients and caregivers can access comprehensive disease information, reviewed and approved by renowned leaders in the field by calling the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s one-on-one Patient Central support service at 877-272-6226 or emailing

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