Is grilling healthy or unhealthy cooking method?

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Cooking is one of our routine daily activities we do with the hope of staying healthy. A healthy preparation of food wins out over fad diets. One of the ways to earn a healthy lifestyle is not only to focus on healthy eating but also to adopt not only a healthy cooking method.

Whether on gas, electric or charcoal, grilling is a healthier way to prepare food without requiring much grease or soaking the food item in oil. Yet, grilling cooking method is without issues that call for concerns.

Is grilling healthy or unhealthy cooking method? Before you go planning to taste some grilled chicken next weekend, find out if grilling is an unhealthy food preparation technique or not? Grilled meat taste delicious, and the taste of that food should not make you think that grilling is 100% a healthy cooking.


Is cooking on a grill unhealthy, really?

Are grilled burgers unhealthy? While grilling is hailed as a healthier cooking method as compared to frying, it is not without potential health hazards. Yes,  grilling foods on some bed of hot charcoal can raise your risk of unfavorable health.

Grilling is healthier than pan frying because the cooking process allows fat to drip off the food. One of the grilled meat benefits is low in calories, as the food is not submerged in oil.

The fear that grilling is potentially dangerous to your health associates BBQ with cancer and gene mutation. The dripping of fat on the flames or coal has been known to form some compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) associated with causing diseases like colorectal cancer.

Reports show that these compounds become more dangerous in causing cancer over time. Toxic smoke can be highly risky to the health of non-smokers.


Why is grilling unhealthy then?

It is a pleasure to grill, but the fat that usually drips off onto the hot coals or charcoal creates smoke that contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) compound. The smoke rise and coats your meat with this cancer-linked carcinogenic compound – animal research.

One study found that a few women who got diagnosed with breast cancer had a higher risk of dying when they consumed large portions of grilled, smoked and barbecued meat. At the moment, there is recently no direct definitive link that PAH in grilled meat causes cancer in humans.

However, there is no doubt that the PAH chemical can damage DNA if you regularly consume grilled food coated with smoke. According to one dietitian, limiting the consumption of barbequed chicken to once in a while will keep you safe.

Using got electric wires or hot charcoal to grill food is a high temperature cooking. Extremely high temperatures is the number one risk of killing nutritional values in foods. There is little negative effect of high temperatures on grilling food, as you can switch to low temperatures. It is the carcinogenic effects that are harmful.

Grilling creates carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) when fat or meat juice fall on smoky, hot char surfaces. PAHs that is also created when meat is smoked and known to change human DNA.


is grilling healthy or unhealthy cooking method - especially is charcoal grilling unhealthy
Is charcoal grilling is healthy?

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Electric vs Gas vs Charcoal grilling – Are they all unhealthy?

The truth about grilling is, higher risk for cancer. The misconception is that all grills can likely cause cancer. But what can share with you is that electric-grilling are healthier cooking method than charcoal grilling.

Is cooking on an electric grill healthy?

Is the electric grill harmful? Not really. Electric grilling or chicken is less harmful as they are less prone to produce carcinogens and other cancer-causing compounds. Since there is no char, or flames, outdoor grilling with electric grills is safer unlike the charcoal that makes cancer-linked compounds.

If an electric grill is causing potential health issues, it would definitely be from the meat itself. Not even the veggies and the fruits in the grill with cause any little harm.


Electric vs charcoal grills, which do people prefer?

  • It costs a lot of money to buy an electric grill as compared to charcoal, which is really cheap. The perceived high price makes people choose charcoal grills with little considerations to their overall health.
  • Charcoal grills offer taste and flavor most people love. But does taste alone make the healthiest grilled food a good option?
  • Charcoal grills are perfect for outdoor grilling, like when you go out on a camping, hiking or backyard adventure with friends. Electric grill is best suited for indoor grilling.
  • Charcoal grilling lets you cook a variety of foods than electric grilling.


Which is better gas or electric grill?

What is the healthiest way to grill, gas or electric? Gas grilling food provides better flavor more than electric grills. But charcoal grills are the best.

  • Propane grills are preferably outdoors, while electric is best for indoors.
  • With gas grills, you can control the heat at a continuous temperature. Electric grills require intense heat for a long time, so not best for searing food.

Comparatively, electric grilling is among the healthier food preparation methods, because you won’t have any cancer-causing compounds in your food. For flavors, charcoal grilling is the best.


Gas grilled food vs charcoal grilled food? Which is healthy?

Is it healthier to grill with gas or charcoal? Grilling with gas is healthier and safer than grilling with charcoal. Why?  Gas grilling is a cooking technique that does not create smoke, so there is less chance of creating PAHs.

Gas vs charcoal grill carcinogens. Gas grilling involves less creation of HCAs.

Related: How long to bake chicken at 400F?


How to make grilling a healthier cooking technique

Is grilling healthier than cooking with other methods for you? Well, you already know what are the disadvantages of grilling as a cooking method. If you want to grill food more healthily and have a healthy lifestyle, here is how to reduce harmful effects of grilling.

Tips on how to make grilling a healthy cooking method

Healthy grilling can reduce the risk of cancer. So how do you reduce carcinogens when barbecuing? Consider these tips for reducing the dangers of grilling while cooking healthier meals.

  • Grill your chicken for a lower temperature. It does not char the meat although it will take long time to cook the chicken.
  • Partially cook meat in a microwave before grilling at low temperature.
  • Choosing leaner cuts of meat means less fat will drip off
  • Raise the grill grates farther above the flames to reduce the formation of PAH and HCA chemicals.
  • Turn over or flip your meat frequently to reduce HCAs compounds, according to National Cancer Institute.
  • Grill more of foods like vegetables and fruits. Often throw in pineapples, tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, and other fresh vegetables on the grill. They don’t form HCAs like chicken does.
  • Don’t expose the meat directly to open flame. Keep a small water spray around to quench flames ignited by dripping fat.
  • Switch your charcoal grill to gas grill. Outside burners in gas grills is one way to control the grilling temperature.
  • You can line the grill with perforated foil.
  • Focus on grilling seafood which contains less fat. Limit grilling chicken and other meat.
  • Go for thinner or leaner cuts of meat means less fat will drip off
  • Marinate your meat to reduce the formation of carcinogen compounds like HCAs. A food chemistry report has pointed out that marinating chicken wings in beer can reduce the production of PAHs.
  • If you can, try to trim fat off from the meat before you grill it.
  • Grilling will not stop the increased risk of colon cancer in red meat and processed meats like hot dogs.
  • Don’t eat any super-blackened spots. That is where PAH and HCA compounds are formed.
  • Reduce grilling time. Less amount of HCAs and PAHs formed when the food spends less time on the grill.

Read More: Is Roasting healthy or unhealthy cooking method?


Health Benefits of Grilling?

  1. Grilled meats have lower fat content because fat drips off as the food gets cooked.
  2. Grilling also helps lower bad cholesterol levels in your body.
  3. Grilled foods have lower calorie great for weight management goals.
  4. The shorter cooking time makes grilling retain of nutritional values. With little loss of moisture and vitamins from vegetables, the nutrients in your grilled food stay intact.


Is Pan frying healthier than grilling?

Is frying better than grilling? Overall, grilling turns out to be a healthier food preparation method than frying. It is unhealthy to pan fry chicken, as compared to grilling the chicken.

You know, excess fat is not good, and grilled meat has less fat content than fried meat. So, is grilling the healthiest way to cook then pan frying? Yes, and that is because:

During grilling, fat drops off the food. Frying increases grease and fat because the food is cooked submerged in oil. Grilling is best and healthier cooking technique for a low-fat diet.

Moreover, grilled food has fewer calories than friend foods. That means your grilled chicken has much low calorie content than fried chicken. This is advantageous if you want to create calorie deficiency and lose weight.

Related: can you fry chicken in olive oil? 


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Wrap up + FAQs

Your grilled chicken tastes delicious. Yet, don’t forget that grilling with charcoal is associated with producing carcinogens compounds that are good at increasing your risk of cancer and mutation. The health risk is also higher when you grill your chicken or red meat with much fat at high temperatures. Feel free to check more on


What are some grilled meat harmful effects?

Cooking meat like firing up the barbecue using gas or charcoal at high temperatures chemicals like heterocyclic amines. According to the director of CIRCL(Center for Integrated Research in Cancer and Lifestyle), these compounds are known to be cancer-causing. The fat drips into the grill, and the flames cover food with poly-romantic hydrocarbons (PAHs).


is electric grilling healthy?

Yes, the electric grilling of chicken is healthier than charcoal grilling. Electric grills don’t produce smoke and do not make cancer-causing compounds (PAHs) as charcoal grills.


is gas grilled food bad for you?

Is grilling bad for you and is grilled meat good for me? Compared to charcoal grilled food, gas grilled foods are not bad for your body. Gas grills don’t produce smoke or carcinogen compounds as charcoal does.  One of the grilled-meat harmful effects is that the consumption of grilled meat increases risk for colon, prostate, pancreatic, stomach, and breast cancers.


is grilling with charcoal bad for you?

Is Char grilled food bad for you? Absolutely Yes, char grilled food is unhealthy for the body because they might be coated with cancer-causing compounds formed when fat dripped into charcoal.


What is the healthiest way to grill?

The cleanest and healthiest way to grill food, without risking your health, is using electric grills.


is grilling with charcoal carcinogenic?

Is grilled food carcinogenic when the heat source is charcoal? Yes. Fat drips and form carcinogenic compounds that are detrimental to health. The PAHs that is created when meat is smoked is considered carcinogenic and known to change human DNA.

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