Augsburg Chemist: Marinating Meat in Beer Reduces Cancer-Causing Chemicals

Updated: 03/27/2014 10:32 PM

Just in time for grilling season, a reminder on the increased risk of cancer when it comes to charred beef, chicken and pork.

KSTP found an easy way to cut down on your risk and it involves a grilling staple for many Minnesotans. We’re talking about meat and beer.

Instead of just enjoying a beer while grilling your meat this spring and summer, a new study says pouring a little dark beer on that meat can reduce your risk for cancer.

Dieticians warn that charred food contains carcinogens increasing the risk for stomach, esophageal and bladder cancers.

European researchers have discovered that marinating your meat with dark beer can dramatically reduce those carcinogens, which are caused by the contact of dripping fat and hot embers. Scientists think beer has that effect, because of the antioxidant compounds, especially in the darker varieties.

KSTP went to Augsburg College to find out what an organic chemist thinks about this beer barbecuing revelation, and he calls this hard-core science.

"When we cook things at high temperatures, different molecules can form; they can be harmful to our bodies. Beer happens to have another chemical that can stop those chemicals from harming us as well." said Augsburg College Professor Michael Wentzel.

The study is in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. It says black beer reduced the formation of carcinogens on pork by 53 percent, while non-alcoholic pilsners reduced it by 25 percent and regular pilsners by 13 percent.