I know.  I know.  It seems like every time we turn around we hear that something else is bad for us.  Of course, the reality is that, many of these “bad” items come as no surprise (think soda, plastics, weed killer, refined carbs…).

In this particular case, it is important to at least be aware of the association and do what you can to mitigate the risks.  In this particular case, you have to be hypersensitive only for 9 months.

Grilling meats produces two problematic compounds.  The first of these is heterocyclic amines (HCA), that are formed when grilling meats rapidly at high temperatures.  Slowing down grilling times can help reduce the formation of HCA.  Adding spices to the meat can also protect against the formation of HCA.

 The other compound, polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) is produced when fat drips off of the meat and hits the heating source.  It then rises up to stick to the meat and contributes to cancer.  Basting and marinating the meat, using grease traps and using leaner meats and trimming away as much fat as possible before cooking all help to reduce the formation of PAH.

This particular study looks at the contribution of exposure to PAH in pregnancy on birth weight.  Highest exposures (with a combination of inhaled PAH and dietary exposure through barbecued meats) resulted in lower birth weights (by about 8 oz).  The exposures had no effect on the duration of gestation, but rather somehow interfered with the growth of the baby.

Overall, this is not something to run around in fear of as a pregnant woman, but rather, something to be conscientious about when you make your dietary choices during pregnancy.

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.


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  1. I don’t know that I’d say it’s a “miracle,” but it sure is a critical mineral in a whole bunch of important reactions in the human body. Actually, a good quality diet with lots of fruits and veggies and nuts should provide optimal levels of magnesium. However, given the poor lifestyle choices so many of us make, taking Mg may show some dramatic improvement, but it should NOT, because we should be getting all we need and more from our diets.

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