Now with less cancer!
Now with less cancer!
Photo by Jerry Pank

Beer Reduces Cancer-Causing Chemicals in Barbecue

Yup, you read that right. First, scientists discovered that sugars derived from agave might actually be good for you, and now scientists have discovered that marinating your barbecue in beer reduces your exposure to cancer. I'm this close to going on an all alcohol diet.

In a study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Spanish and Portuguese scientists discovered that using a beer-based marinade can greatly reduce the formation of cancer-causing chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that are created by high heat and smoking.

Marinades based on dark beer had the greatest effect. Of the three different beers sampled (black beer, pilsner, and non-alcoholic pilsner), the black beer reduced the PAHs the most, by 68 percent when compared to the control. The pilsner came in second, reducing PAHs by 36.5 percent, and the non-alcoholic beer came in third at 29.5 percent.

Scientists aren't sure what is responsible for the effect, but they think the anti-oxidants in the beer may be reacting with the surface of the meat to keep it from creating the PAHs.

If you're craving charred meat but are afraid of cancer, you can take the marinade one step further. The scientists soaked their pork loin in just beer for four hours -- the amount of time it took for surface reactions to stop, but you can add other ingredients that are known to reduce carcinogens, such as rosemary or capsaicin, the wonderful chemical that makes peppers spicy.

Me, I'm more of a cast-iron sear kind of guy, but I do know what my drink pairing will be next time..

Follow Stick a Fork In It on Twitter @ocweeklyfood or on Facebook! And don't forget to download our free Best Of App here!

You can also follow Charles Lam on Twitter @charlesnlam. He's less sardonic there, we swear.


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