According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cancer is the second leading cause of death in people living in the United States. In fact, more than half a million people die from cancer every year, which equals approximately one in every four deaths as a result of cancer. For most, this number points to the feeling that it is imperative to take every precaution necessary to prevent cancer-causing compounds. New research suggests that cooking meat with beer can help safeguard against cancer.
One recent study showed a direct link between grilled meats and the occurrence of colorectal cancer. Another recent study has suggested that meat-based, high-protein diets skyrocket a person’s risk for developing cancer by 400 percent and increases the risk of death from other causes by at least 75 percent. With these numbers out there, many are wondering if a beer marinade is really a useful strategy for prevention.
The study explaining how cooking meat with beer help safeguard people against cancer was published by a group of European scientists from the University of Porto in Portugal and the University of Vigo in Spain. Researchers recently released a report detailing their findings in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, which seems to show that meat marinated in beer significantly reduced the amount of cancer-causing compounds found on meats while being cooked on a grill.
The cancer-causing compounds are called Polycyclic aromatic hydrocardons (PAH), which form as a result of fat dripping through the grate of a grill and the striking hot embers of charcoal. Exposure to these hydrocarbons have been proven to cause cancer in animals and health experts fear the outcome could be the same in humans so they recommend avoiding exposure to them. PAHs are also found in other things that are present in people’s everyday lives such as, car exhaust and cigarette smoke.
During the experiment, researchers studied four different control groups of pork meat. One batch was unmarinated while the remaining three batches were put in a beer marinate for a minimum of four hours. The beers used during the study included non-alcoholic, Pilsner, and black beer.
The study results showed that meat cooked with beer could help safeguard against cancer because the beer marinade significantly reduced the overall number of polycyclic aromatic hydrocardons (PAH). Which beer worked best? Pilsner beer performed the poorest only reducing the number of polycyclic aromatic hydrocardons (PAH) by 13 percent, non-alcoholic beer faired a bit better reducing the numbers by 25 percent, and black beer had the highest performance rate reducing the number of PAHs by an impressive 53 percent.
Different types of beer such as ales and lagers have different antioxidant capacities, which researchers suggest helps to explain the difference in percentages across the three beers used in the study. Black beer has a higher antioxidant capacity than Pilsner and non-alcoholic beer, and therefore; outperformed them by reducing PAHs by the greatest amount. However, researchers noted that following the four-hour marinating process, the black beer’s antioxidant capacity significantly dropped. While eating grilled meat that has been cooked with a beer marinade may help safeguard against some types of cancers, it should be noted that this practice alone will not fully protect people against the risk of developing the life-threatening disease.
By Donna W. Martin