Have a Cancer-Safe Summer


A number of studies have found that red meat and processed meats — the hamburgers, steaks, and hotdogs of summer backyard barbeques — increase risk for colon and rectal cancer.  Grilling those meats at high temperatures makes the risk even higher.

Eating more fruits and vegetables can reduce the chances of getting cancer, and grilling them is safe.

Grilling is an interesting new way to get the additional fruits and vegetables into your diet.  Brush them lightly with olive or canola oil to prevent sticking.

Registered dietician Vicki Piper from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston offers more ideas for healthy grilling.

Among her tips for reducing cancer risk are,

  • Grill fish and skinless chicken breasts rather than red or processed meat.
  • If you do grill meat, choose lean cuts.  Cuts with “loin” in their name, such as tenderloin or loin chops are the leanest along with round steaks.
  • Keep meat portions small by cutting them into chunks, such a kabobs.
  • Serve any meat as an accent to a meal of plant-based foods, not as the main attraction.
  • Precook or marinate meat and grill at low temperatures.
  • Flip meats often during cooking to reduce the chemicals produced by high heat that cause cancer.
Image courtesy of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.


  1. Mary says

    Very helpful info. I’ve been trying to figure out if putting a chicken into an electric smoker is also harmful? Smoke, wood chips, & water. My guess is that the temperature is lower than grilling, since it takes many hours to cook. Yes, fat drips off, but it hits water rather than coals. Does that make any difference?

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