Grilling is one of the most popular activities during the warmest months of the year. After all, who doesn’t like burgers and hot dogs fresh off the grill? Unfortunately, evidence suggests that outdoor cookouts are not without risk.
Looking At the Numbers
According to a 2018 study, eating grilled meat on a regular basis could prove harmful to your blood pressure. Funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, this study cast a very wide net; in total, the study authors examined over 100,000 men and women, all of whom were participants in various long running governmental studies.
None of these adults had high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, or cancer when they first enrolled in these studies. This changed over the following twelve to sixteen year period, with some 37,000 subjects developing high blood pressure.
As part of their research, the study authors examined the adults’ dietary habits. Their most relevant findings are shown below:
- The team compared those who ate grilled, broiled, or roasted beef, chicken or fish over 15 times per month to those who ate such fare less than 4 times per month. High blood pressure risk was found to be 17 percent higher among those in the former group.
- When contrasted to those who ate rarer meats, people who enjoyed well-done meat products were 15 percent more at risk of high blood pressure.
- Subjects with HAA-heavy diets were determined to be 17 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure during their lives. HAA is short for heterocyclic aromatic amines, which are produced in meat products following grilling or exposure to high temperatures.
The study’s lead author, Gang Liu, stated that the report may cause cookout lovers to reconsider their dietary choices. “The chemicals produced by cooking meats at high temperatures induce oxidative stress, inflammation and insulin resistance in animal studies, and these pathways may also lead to an elevated risk of developing high blood pressure,” noted Liu in a American Heart Association press release. “Our findings suggest that it may help reduce the risk of high blood pressure if you don’t eat these foods cooked well done and avoid the use of open-flame and/or high-temperature cooking methods, including grilling/barbecuing and broiling.”