Beer marinade could reduce levels of potentially harmful substances in grilled meats

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 16th April 2014
Beer marinade may reduce harmful effects of grilled meat

The very same beer that many people enjoy at backyard barbeques could, when used as a marinade, help reduce the formation of potentially harmful substances in grilled meats, according to a new study from the University of Porto in Portugal.

The study was published in the March 2014 edition of the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Researchers on the study explained that past studies had shown an association between consumption of grilled meats and a high incidence of colorectal cancer. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are substances that can form when meats are cooked at very high temperatures, like on a backyard grill. High levels of PAHs, which are also in cigarette smoke and car exhaust, are associated with cancers in laboratory animals, although it is uncertain if the same is true for people.

Nevertheless, the European Union Commission Regulation has established the most suitable indicators for the occurrence and carcinogenic potency of PAHs in food and attributed maximum levels for these compounds in foods. Beer, wine or tea marinades have been shown to reduce the levels of some potential carcinogens in cooked meat, but little was previously known about how different beer marinades affect PAH levels.

Study method

The researchers from the University of Porto marinated samples of pork for four hours in Pilsner beer, non-alcoholic Pilsner beer or a black beer ale, before grilling them to to well-done on a charcoal grill.

Findings suggested that black beer had the strongest effect, reducing the levels of eight major PAHs by more than half compared with unmarinated pork.

“Thus, the intake of beer marinated meat can be a suitable mitigation strategy,” the researchers wrote.

The researchers acknowledged funding from the University of Porto.