Hello fellow MAND members! This is Christina Ypsilantis, your President-Elect. I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics “Advocacy Summit” in DC this past July. As President-Elect, one of my roles is to help out with the Public Policy Panel (PPP). Within my first few weeks as President-Elect, I was on a flight to DC, and bit nervous to finally dip my toes into public policy. I can handle enteral nutrition calculations, diabetes consults and palliative care…but policy was always a bit intimidating. Well, now I can say that after the Advocacy Summit, not only do I feel more prepared but I also feel so energized about promoting nutrition policy on a local and national level. I also made some wonderful friendships with our MAND crew!
Our MAND representatives included; Sarah Conca (MAND Director of Public Policy), Sarah Andrus (Public Policy Coordinator), Joan Salge Blake (Delegate), Lauren Jalali (State Policy Representative) and Jordan Shute (MGH Dietetic Intern).
We had the opportunity to actually walk through the capitol and into the offices of our Representatives and Senators! We were educating our reps and senators about two important bills that the Academy would like passed:
To learn more about these bills and which of our members of Congress have signed on to support them, see the above links.
We were able to meet with 9 out of 11 of our staff. After each meeting, I felt more and more comfortable with the information and with the communication approaches. If you are someone who is intimidated by policy, have no fear. Please feel free to contact me and I would be happy to further elaborate on my experience!
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Take action RDs, we are the experts in the field, let us make sure our elected officials hear our knowledge!
Health & Happiness,
Christina Ypsilantis, RD, LDN is MAND’s President of Elect and also works as Senior Clinical Dietitian at Hebrew SeniorLife.
Is Grilling Bad for Your Health?
One of my favorite things about summer is the fact that literally any food tastes better to me when it’s grilled. Nutritionally, grilling is a great way to reduce fat and calories compared to other methods of cooking especially if you choose options such as chicken, fish, or lean cuts of red meat. These options are packed with protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12. The concern is that grilling any protein at high temperatures can release harmful chemicals into the air and our bodies.
Concerns with grilling:
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are formed when fat and juices from meat grilled directly over a heated surface or open fire drip onto the surface or fire, causing flames and smoke. The smoke contains PAHs that then adhere to the surface of the meat. PAHs can also be formed during other food preparation processes, such as smoking of meats.
Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are formed when amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), sugars, and creatine or creatinine (substances found in muscle) react at high temperatures.
In laboratory experiments, HCAs and PAHs have been found to be mutagenic, meaning they cause changes in DNA and have been associated with increased risk of colorectal, pancreatic, and prostate cancer.
The World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research issued a report in 2007 with dietary guidelines that recommended limiting the consumption of red and processed (including smoked) meats; however, no recommendations were provided for HCA and PAH levels in meat.
Luckily, there are ways to prepare meat safely without leaving the grill behind.
Clean it: immediately after you pull the food off is the best time to clean your grill. Avoid using a metal wire clearer to avoid adding this to your next grilled dish.
Color it: Try eating grilled meats with cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli). These superfoods contain fancy anti-inflammatory nutrients called isothiocyanates that change the way the body breaks down dangerous grilling chemicals, making the meat safer
Nuke it: Using a microwave oven to cook meat prior to exposure to high temperatures can also substantially reduce HCA formation by reducing the time that meat must be in contact with high heat to finish cooking
Create a barrier: Put the food that you are cooking on foil to create a barrier
Flip often: Continuously turning meat over on a high heat source can substantially reduce HCA formation compared with just leaving the meat on the heat source without flipping it often
Trim the char: Removing charred portions of meat and refraining from using gravy made from meat drippings can also reduce HCA and PAH exposure
Go veggie: Opt for a veggie burger like the beyond meat. Here is a list of some great options for veggie burgers that won’t make you miss the meat (too much)
Let it marinade: Scientists have found marinades can make grilling safer by reducing the amount of carcinogenic compounds released in the air. The addition of vitamin E, garlic, rosemary, fruit pulp, and other seasonings and spices may lower HCA production. These ingredients may be incorporated through direct mixing, marinades, or rubs and often inhibit HCA formation by as much as 70%. Certain foods (e.g., yogurt, beer) lower mutagenic action of HCAs. Try a simple marinade that works for just about any menu item.
Trim the fat: When fat drips onto an open flame, flare-ups can spread nasty chemicals onto the meat. So remove the skin from chicken, and skip fatty meats like sausage and ribs. When food is burned, these chemicals stack up, so remove all charred or burned bits before eating, too.
Cross AJ, Sinha R. Meat-related mutagens/carcinogens in the etiology of colorectal cancer. Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis 2004; 44(1):44–55. [PubMed Abstract]
Moonen H, Engels L, Kleinjans J, Kok T. The CYP1A2-164A–>C polymorphism (CYP1A2*1F) is associated with the risk for colorectal adenomas in humans. Cancer Letters 2005; 229(1):25–31. [PubMed Abstract]
IARC . World Cancer Report 2014. Lyon: International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization; 2014.
Erin Kenney, MS, RD, LDN, HCP is a Registered Dietitian and Holistic Cannabis Practitioner at Nutrition Rewired. Article originally published at https://www.nutritionrewired.com/blog/2019/8/9/is-grilling-bad-for-your-health on August 9, 2019.
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