Grilling is a popular cooking method, but there are many different types to choose from. Are electric grills healthier than other options? What about gas or charcoal? Are any of these choices unhealthy? To uncover details about various kinds of electric grill and their health risks, read on!
Comparison of electric grill vs gas grill vs charcoal grill
Charcoal grills are hazardous for your health and the environment. In charcoal, wood, or gas grills, the heat comes from combustion. As a result, various cancer-causing chemicals are released into the air. Some of these chemicals are absorbed in the food too.
The traditional grills use charcoal or wood to heat things. During their combustion process, semi-volatile organic compounds are released into the air, and some of them enter the grilled foods. These compounds have serious adverse effects on the lungs, liver, and brain.
One of these dangerous compounds is Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon. In Short, PAH. When you are near the grill, your skin absorbs this chemical from the smoke. In the long term, PAHs can cause blood abnormalities. Moreover, these chemicals affect the lungs. They can even be the cause of lung cancer.
Carbon Monoxide Emissions from Charcoal Grills
Another problem with charcoal or wood-based grills is the release of carbon monoxide. When you breathe carbon monoxide for an extended period, excess carbon dioxide builds up in your bloodstream. Consequently, the blood oxygen levels decrease. That could manifest as a variety of symptoms—for example, headaches, visual problems, etc.
Health Concerns from Charcoal Grills
Charcoal grills burn the meat to a greater degree. When the proteins, creatine, and sugars in the charred meat react to high temperatures, they form chemicals called Heterocyclic Amines. In short, HCAs are well-known carcinogens or cancer-causing compounds. These chemicals are the link between bowel cancer and grilled foods.
The release of particulate matter into the environment is one other cause of concern when cooking on a charcoal grill. The particulate matters are microscopic solids or liquid droplets in the smoke. When people nearby the grill outdoors inhale the smoke, it irritates their respiratory system.
The Environmental Impacts of Charcoal Grills
Besides harming the people who attend a BBQ, the smoke from a charcoal, wood, or gas grill also pollutes the environment. Smoke can cause secondary damages to other people in the community.
What Type of Outdoor Grill is The Healthiest?
Electric grills are the healthiest grilling option because it runs on electricity all you need is an extension cord and the power outlet. You can still get that same smoky flavour without unsustainable gas fuels, no charcoal, wood or gas. As a result, it creates less smoke and carcinogens.
Electric grills do not depend on combustion. They release little to no Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in the air. Moreover, foods grilled in electric grills usually do not absorb any carcinogenic volatile organic compounds.
List of the health benefits of electric grilling?
Electric grills simply increase the health benefits of grilled food cooked in a healthy way when using good ingredients. Electric grills tend not to produce that burnt flavour like gas or charcoal grills. Smoky outdoor grilling can be harmful to the environment and cause headaches, drowsiness, confusion, and breathlessness.
There can be excess pounds gained through the diet that increases the risk of high blood pressure. Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are cancer spreading chemicals produced when fat is dripped in the grill and mixed with the grill frame. It makes little or no soot. It adds nothing detrimental.
Electric grills Produce Fewer Contaminants.
As mentioned earlier, HCAs that form in open flame charred meat are the cause of colon cancer. Meat grilled on a clean electric grill contains a lesser amount of this chemical.
Because, unlike charcoal, electric grills don’t burn or char the meat too much charcoal creates. And extreme burning or charring is the cause of HCA formation. In other words, foods cooked on an electric grill are less likely to cause cancer than the other methods.
Electric grill creates a much lesser amount of smoke. A key feature of electric grills, which makes them more convenient for indoor grilling too.
From the viewpoint of health, this is wonderful. Lesser smoke means a more inferior release of Carbon Monoxide and particulate matter. So, it is pretty apparent now that electric grills are better for the environment.
- When you cook on a charcoal or gas grill, you need to use more oil in your cooking. The health risks related to excessive oil consumption are well known.
- When you use an electric grill, the amount of excess fat you use reduces significantly. As a result, you get an overall healthier grill.
Tips And Tricks To Keep Your Grill Healthy
The main trick to keeping your grill healthy is not to let cancer-causing chemicals form in the first place to increase health benefits. Cutting down on meat, using an electric grill, adding more vegetables are the keys to keeping your next barbecue healthy.
Most people who grill are fans of the burnt, charred flavour and smell of barbecue. For many, this is the only reason why we love grilling. But as mentioned earlier, this is a very unhealthy practice. Heterocyclic Amines start forming at 325oF. So, you have to cook your meat lower than that. The flavour and aroma of BBQ might be nice, but cancer is so much worse.
How can I optimise the health advantages of an electric grill?
Before you ponder the question ‘are electrical grills healthy’, you should consider whether the food item itself is healthy. That is to say. You will have a more beneficial grilling experience when you cut down on just meat alone.
Reduced meat, more Veggies
It is a widely known fact that excessive red meat consumption is a leading cause of bowel cancer. So, change your menu. There are numerous delicious recipes for your new electric grill. Use more seafood or chicken and even grilling vegetables.
When the fat in the meat burns, it releases PAHs. So, use leaner cuts of meat for your grill. Buy ‘loin’ or ’round’ cuts, and prefer ‘select’ or ‘choice’ grade beef as they contain less fat.
Marinate for Taste and Health
Marination can affect how many carcinogenic compounds can form in your beef. Treating your meat with garlic, rosemary, or alcohol can significantly decrease the chance of cancer.
- Use breast cuts when you grill chicken. Remove the skin. Thereby reducing the amount of fat you consume.
- Try to avoid the legs or thighs.
- Lastly, increase the portion of vegetables and fruits.
Once you get into it, grilled vegetables and fruits are among the most delicious food items you will ever come across. In addition, they don’t give you cancer, nor make you fat.
The Dangers Of Aluminium Foil When Grilling
When you grill your meat in aluminium foil, the meat absorbs a significant amount of aluminium. The increased aluminium in your system can give rise to a variety of health problems.
Aluminium is relatively abundant in nature. Many fruits, vegetables, and meat absorb aluminium naturally but fortunately do not hurt us as much. Because most of it is excreted through feces. But when you grill meat inside foil, the aluminium content of the food rises by eighty-nine to three hundred per cent, possibly causing aluminium toxicity when consumed.
Multiple diseases are linked to aluminium toxicity.
Aluminium toxicity has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. In contrast, Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that has physical limitations, such as memory loss, which are frequent. Alzheimer’s patients have high amounts of aluminium in their brains.
Another danger of too much aluminium is Inflammatory Bowel Disease. People with IBD suffer from frequent digestive tract disorders, which significantly negatively impact one’s quality of life. A severe case may require surgery. Studies have found a link between dietary aluminium and the development of inflammatory bowel disease.
Aluminium levels in the blood
Consuming meals grilled in aluminium foil frequently increases the amount of aluminium in your blood, which may damage your lungs. Also, aluminium toxicosis has been linked to Desquamative Interstitial Pneumonia and Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis.
Aluminium may affect:
- Blood vessels (causing blood clots that prevent blood flow). Thrombosis is the medical terminology for this illness. As a result, the risk of an ischemic stroke increases.
- The chance of developing cancer.
Aluminium burns the meat more and forms HCAs. Plus, fumes can’t escape into the air when the food is wrapped in aluminium foil.
Aluminium and its countless medical issues
As mentioned earlier, both PAHs and HCAs are carcinogenic compounds. So, grilling in aluminium puts you at serious cancer risk. Apart from these, aluminium toxicity slowly destroys your bones.
Increased aluminium levels show a link to infertility. Breast cancer, many liver and kidney diseases have relations with the body’s aluminium levels.
A raised aluminium level causes inflammation and destruction of the cells of the pancreas. Consequently, the person might develop diabetes mellitus. PAH absorption into the meat may increase as a result.
Are Electric Grills Healthy? Are electric grills healthier than gas or charcoal grill? At first glance, it seems like the answer is Yes.
But in reality, electric grills are not any better for you and just as harmful when misused—mainly if you use aluminium foil around food that’s cooking!
If you want an outdoor grill that’s healthy and safe to cook on.
- Keep a clean grill by avoiding pouring grease onto hot coals or logs.
- Pay close attention when cooking so as not to over-fatty foods with a lot of liquid in them because they are more likely t go up in smoke before being cooked through fully (and no one wants burnt food!).
Finally, try out the ceramic grill, which emits infrared waves meaning fewer carcinogenic compounds! As a fan of bringing my barbeque inside, I like my electric grill since it allows me to cook in adverse weather.
My goal is that this article has given you a better understanding of the advantages of an electric grill and helped you choose which grill would work best for your needs. Some people enjoy the scent of traditional charcoal or wood grills, but this alternative option is worth considering.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my article. If you want to have a Hawaiian-themed party, look here for great ideas, and use the electric grill.
Sources of Information
Wu, C. (2015, September 1). Barbecue Fumes: An Overlooked Source of Health Hazards in Outdoor Settings? PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26259039/
Cakmak, S. (2017, May 10). The influence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons on lung function in a representative sample of the Canadian population. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28500931/
International Encyclopedia of Public Health. (2017). Heterocyclic Amine – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. Science Direct.Com. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/heterocyclic-amine
Smith, J. S. (2008, August). Effect of marinades on the formation of heterocyclic amines in grilled beef steaks. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19241593/
Puangsombat, K. (2010, March). Inhibition of heterocyclic amine formation in beef patties by ethanolic extracts of rosemary. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20492265/
Turhan, S. (2006). Aluminium contents in baked meats wrapped in aluminium foil. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22063217/
Tomljenovic, L. (2011). Aluminium and Alzheimer’s disease: after a century of controversy, is there a plausible link? PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21157018/
Killin, L. O. J. (2016, October 12). Environmental risk factors for dementia: a systematic review. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27729011/
Aluminium toxicosis: a review of toxic actions and effects. (2019, October 1). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7071840/
4 thoughts on “Are Electric Grills Healthy?”
This was a fascinating read as I do like the smell of a BBQ but have resisted it because I thought that it might not be good for you. Now you tell me I was right and my suspicions about the smoke are correct. I didn’t realize that some of the toxins cook into the meat as well. I will be looking for an electric griller very soon. thanks for your great advice and reference material.
Lily, thank you very much. Yes, the flavour of traditional bbq is exquisite and can still be enjoyed and is the optimal technique. Still, if you like the grill a little more and want the sensation of a barbeque while staying healthy, electric grills are a solid option.
J W RIDDELL-THE FUN HUB
I am assuming that electric grills is new to the market because I have never heard of it. I only know about the gas grills. But an electric grill something I would definitely get. It seems like it would get the job done quicker but I also feel like it would be expensive. Quality items is not cheap so I’m willing to spend as much money to get myself one
Nope, they have been around for a while, primarily for indoor use, but the new electric ones could even become solar powered soon and better for our health. There are a few on the market self-powered.