How To Reduce Carcinogens From Grilling

Four research-backed ways to enjoy your BBQ without worrying about your health.

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Today’s Health Upgrade: Living Longer

  • A note from Arnold

  • Grill smarter

  • 4th of July recipes

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A Note From Arnold

Happy 4th of July! I was born in Austria, but I am Made in America. 

Consider this your reminder: put your phone down, turn off the social media, get outside, BBQ, and spend some time with your friends and family.

Grill Smarter

Few things taste better than a great meal cooked over an open flame. But did you know that research suggests grilling can increase your exposure to carcinogens

This does not mean grilling causes cancer, but a few simple grilling tips can ensure that your BBQ is enjoyable and has fewer health risks. 

The potential issue with grilling is how high heat combines with animal protein to create HCAs. Because HCAs can be carcinogenic, some observational studies suggest a link between HCAs and cancer. If you grill infrequently, there’s not much reason to worry. If you grill often, what you grill and how can reduce HCAs for even safer grilling. 

Tip #1: Cook Low and Slow, Flip Fast and Frequent

HCA formation is a game of high heat exposure and char formation. So the lower the heat, the less char, and the more you cut down on HCAs. Also, according to the National Cancer Institute, flipping your meat more often reduces HCAs. 

Tip #2: Pour Some Alcohol On It (we’re not kidding)

Research suggests that marinating red meat in red wine might remove some carcinogenic properties of the proteins found in red meat. Even better? The researchers also found that the red wine marinade changed the chemical structure and enhanced the taste of beef.

Tip #3: Skewer it

Grilling meat on skewers with vegetables and fruit can reduce the total exposure (think less surface area directly on the grill) of the meat to the heat, which cuts down on HCA formation. 

Tip #4: Enjoy more protein options

Grilling other protein options, such as fish or poultry, generates fewer HCAs than red meat. 

Pump Club 4th of July Recipes

Even if you’re not in the US, the 4th of July reminds us to be grateful for what we have in our lives, connect (or reconnect) with friends, eat good food, and enjoy. 

Here are a few recipes for your 4th of July party, dinner, or any time you want a good meal to feed your body and help you recover from your workouts. 

Loaded Sweet Potato Skins


  • 4 large sweet potatoes

  • 1 sweet onion, sliced thinly

  • 4 cups baby spinach

  • 2 chicken sausage links, chopped into chunks

  • 3 tbsp. goat cheese

  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

  • Himalayan salt, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, thoroughly wash the outside of the sweet potatoes. Pierce each one a couple of times with a fork. Assemble on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil for easy cleanup and bake for 45-55 minutes, depending on the size of the sweet potatoes. You know they’re done when a fork can easily pierce through the center. 

  2. Remove from oven, and let cool for at least 20 minutes. Don’t turn the oven off just yet. 

  3. Chop the onion and sausage while the sweet potatoes cool. 

  4. In a pan, add the olive oil and sausage on medium heat. Once the sausage starts to brown, add the onions. Stir and allow the onions to caramelize, then add the spinach. When the spinach is all wilted, remove from heat and set aside.

  5. When the sweet potatoes are cool, cut them each in half. Using a spoon, add the onion, spinach, sausage toppings to the potatoes.

Caprese Burger

Burger Ingredients

Burger Toppings

  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 tsp. balsamic vinegar

  • Salt, to taste

  • Pepper, to taste


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, add the ground bison, salt, pepper, and diced sundried tomatoes. Form four burger patties and gently press an indent in the center. 

  2. Lightly grease the pan or skillet with olive oil. You can also grill the burgers. Cook and flip frequently.

  3. While the burgers cook, stir the balsamic mustard ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside. 

  4. Toast the buns in the oven. For the last 2 minutes, add one slice of mozzarella to the top half of the bun to allow it to melt slightly. Remove from oven. 

  5. Spread the balsamic mustard on the bottom half of the bun. Top with 1/2 cup mixed greens, the burger patty, sundried tomatoes, and the top bun (with the mozzarella). Serve warm!

Feta & Chickpea Quinoa Salad


  • 2 cups cooked quinoa

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed

  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

  • ½ cup grape tomatoes, halved, or ¼ cup sundried tomatoes

  • ½ cup cucumbers, diced

  • ⅓ cup almond slivers, lightly toasted

  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced

  • ½  tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 tbsp. parsley, chopped finely

  • ½ lemon, freshly squeezed

  • 1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

  • Black pepper, to taste


  1. Add all the ingredients except feta cheese, toasted almonds, and parsley to a large mixing bowl. Toss until everything is combined.

  2. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese, toasted almonds, and fresh parsley on top. Serve cold or warm.

Give the recipes a try, and let us know what you think!

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell