Eat the Meat, Bar the Char

Burgers cooking on an outdoor grill.
Maureen Perez

I love barbecue. But I'm also pretty fond of my prostate. So leave it to the killjoys over at Johns Hopkins University to spoil my summer with this study: Barbecued meats are linked to prostate cancer. Scientists force-fed vegetarian rats with PhIP, the compound found in that greasy, delicious char on the outside of flamed meat. And guess what? They found mutations in the rat's prostates, intestines and spleens... albeit delicious mutations.

Now, it turns out that the American Association for Cancer Research meeting is being held across the street from NPR. I went over there and begged for some way to salvage my summer grilling. Mostly I got recommendations to eat more raw broccoli. But I found one young biochemist willing to help me out. Max Macaluso from Hobart and William Smith Colleges speculated that if I barbecue "low and slow," keeping the char to a minimum, my prostate might hold out for many summers to come. At least long enough to start worrying about my arteries.