Is Gas Grill Healthier Than Charcoal? Get the Answer Now!

is gas grill healthier than charcoal

Many grilled-food lovers do not know that a number of studies were successfully able to develop a link between cancer and grilled food. Is gas grill healthier than charcoal? How to reduce the health-related risks while grilling? These and some other important questions have been answered in this post.

Here are some tips that can reduce the health risks associated with grilling.

Avoid Burned Steer

If you are one of those individuals who cannot get enough of charred hotdogs or burgers, this tip is very important for you. Regular consumption of charred meat has been proven to increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by 60%. A detailed research was performed by the University of Minnesota. They monitored the eating habits of more than 62,000 people for a period of 9 years for this study. It happens because when meat is cooked at very high temperatures, chemicals like heterocyclic amines (HCA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are formed. These are carcinogens that can change your DNA to result in cancer.

An ideal solution to this problem is choosing lean meat and removing the fat properly before grilling. Meat that contains fat starts dripping juices when it is cooked. These juices cause the flames to increase and result in more smoke, leading to the formation of carcinogens. Also, as per the Nutrition Action Health Letter, it is very important to flip the meat every now and then while cooking to reduce the production of HCAs by 70%-90%.

Moreover, if you prefer charring your meat, make sure that you properly trim it before consuming.  So now you can guess the answer to the question, “are gas grills healthier than charcoal grills?” Gas grills are considered healthier than charcoal grills because they do not produce carcinogens while cooking.


Marinate the Meat

Although scientists are not sure why, marinating meat somehow works as a barrier between carcinogens and the meat. Even the American Institute for Cancer Research suggests that marinating the meat for about 30 minutes before griling can substantially reduce the production of carcinogens, like HCAs.

Some studies also suggest that the type of marinade you use has an impact on the production of carcinogens. As per a study by the Food Science Institute and Kansas State University, Southwestern marinade helped in reducing the production of harmful compounds by 57%, herb marinade reduced them by 72% and Caribbean marinade dropped the compounds by 88%.

Reduce the Grill Time

It has also been found that the time that you spend on grilling affects the amount of carcinogens produced. This is because you allow the smoke and flame to affect the meat for a long duration. Thus, it is recommended that you should not grill for a long duration and try to look for other meat sources than those that need longer grill times. For instance, rather than beef or chicken, you can choose fish as it gets cooked faster than beef or chicken. You can also go for skewered kebobs that are made from small cubes of meat, as they cook faster as compared to larger pieces.

The American Institute for Cancer Research suggests that you should first zap the meat that you need to cook into microwave before placing it in a grill. By doing so, you might be able to reduce the production of HCAs by up to 90%. Moreover, when the meat is half cooked, do not waste any time and quickly place it in the grill. This will ensure that bacteria and other pathogens won’t be able to damage the meat and thus result in illnesses.

Minimize Flames

If possible, keep the temperature of the grill low to prevent the meat from charring or burning. Also, oil the rack of the grill adequately to make sure that the meat doesn’t stick to the rack and gets burned. An excellent option is to wrap the meat in foil while cooking. But while using this method, you should make holes in the foil to allow dripping of fat from the foil.

Avoid Using Processed Meat

Avoid consuming sausages and hotdogs, as the amount of carcinogens in preserved meat is very high. Regular consumption of processed meat can increase the risk of colorectal cancer significantly.

Try Fruits and Veggies

If you love the taste of grilled meat, you need to change the habit for good. You should try to replace meat with vegetables and fruits. They are safer than meat as carcinogens form only in the muscle proteins of meat. Moreover, the phytochemicals found in vegetables and fruits are proven to minimize the risk of some types of cancer.

Clean Your Grill Regularly

Once you are done using the charcoal grill, make sure you properly scrape all the build-up of carcinogenic compounds. If the grill rack is not clean, the compounds can transfer to the meat when you use your grill next time.


Since you have got your answers with some very helpful cooking tips, make sure you remember these the next time you grill to ensure that your meat is delicious and safe.

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