That's it. That's my question. Is burnt meat bad?
Should I avoid burning my bunless burgers?
Should I slow-cook everything?
Burnt meat tastes bad! You are programmed not to eat it - don't eat it. Having said that, unless you ate char 3 times a day, you're probably not going to suffer any adverse effects, as compared with eating jam donuts!
There are some that point to the advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) formed when foods are cooked at high temperatures. Nobody seems to know at what level these exogenous (consumed) AGes become an issue. Everyone agrees endogenous (metabolite) AGEs are a much bigger problem (back to the jam donuts)
If you cook in a pot, problem solved - unless you forget and let it boil dry (!) Fry your burgers in a little coconut oil, or in their own fat, on a low heat. Grilling and BBQ is asking for trouble in the charring dept.
It's not as good as non-burnt meat. But it's not a huge factor. There are some potential carcinogens that are produced when meat it burnt, but I would also imagine your body is great at filtering them out. I don't like burnt meat, so I don't worry about it. But I would assume that worrying about burnt meat and stress caused by the worry is worse than actually eating the burnt meat.
Burning meat forms/releases HCAs, which are carcinogens. Some studies also correlated a preference for well-done beef with a higher risk of pancreatic cancer (but we all know that correlation =/= causation). Marinating can cut the HCA content somewhat, but it doesn't seem to have that great of an effect. I think the risk of getting sick from undercooked meat is probably any potential ill effects from over-cooked meat.
You can also over-roast nuts and over-heat oils, both of which are supposedly carcinogenic, but I don't see too many people stressing over them, so I wouldn't worry about the meat, either.
We evolved a big brain thanks to the extra calories available from cooked food. Cooked meat has been a staple of human diet since the dawn of our species. My take is we should have no problem whatsoever in tolerating burned meat.
I have seen lots of comments over the years and handful of decent research that says burned meat is bad, causes cancer, AGES, blah blah blah.
That said I think the poster who commented that worrying about the burned meat is probably worse in health terms than the consequence of eating burned meat.
I think a better question is why would anyone ruin a perfectly good piece of meet by burning it? (I maintain that nice sear marks on a steak are not burns.)
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