Raining on the Pork Parade

I didn’t want to think about it while we were enjoying Pat’s barbecue the last two days, but now it’s time for me to rain on the pork parade.  Although delicious, smoked meats are one of the worst things you can eat.   Grilling and smoking produce heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in your meat.  And, you guessed it, these toxic compounds cause cancer in laboratory animals.  Barbecuing, grilling, roasting and frying also produce especially high concentrations of AGEs, or advanced glycation end products.  AGEs, which are absorbed by the body, are linked to a whole host of health problems from alzheimers to erectile dysfunction.

When I asked my cousin who studied nutrition at New Mexico State University about avoiding bad things in our food, she had this to say:

Our bodies have an amazing capacity to process and eliminate crap. However, there is so much crap to which we are exposed that those filtering systems begin to get overwhelmed. Therefore, don’t try to eliminate every bit of crap just “pick your poisons”. Furthermore, it is MUCH more important for children since they have more years for the crap to build up.

Well said.  I’m glad we didn’t feed it to the kids.  I have to say, though, that pork butt was some of the best poison I’ve ever picked.

More on HCAs and PAHs

More on AGEs

National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet: barbecuetoxins


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