Does Grilling Increase Cancer Risk?

Beth Kindamo, MS, RDN/LD | Clinical Dietitian, Athens Regional Medical Center

Grilling is a popular and heart healthy cooking method used to produce low-fat, flavorful foods. It has also been implicated in increased risk of developing cancer. Carcinogens, or cancer causing compounds, may be formed at two points in the grilling process: smoke production and contact with food items and when meats are cooked at very high heat.

Here are ways you can incorporate grilled foods while minimizing risk of carcinogen production. Remember, your goals should be to reduce smoke and fire flare ups coming into contact with your foods and avoiding overcooking at high temperatures.

  • Marinate meat before grilling
  • Trim fat prior to grilling to reduce flare ups and smoke contact with meats
  • Place food in the center of the grill with coals to the sides; or use outside burners and place food in the center of the grill
  • Choose quick cooking cuts of meat, such as kabobs and thinner, leaner meats to reduce cooking time
  • Include fresh veggies, which produce fewer carcinogens when grilled
  • Trim charred portions of food prior to serving

More About the Loran Smith Center

Our Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support provides information, education and emotional and spiritual support to cancer patients and their families in north Georgia. It serves as a resource for patients before, during and after cancer treatment through support groups, individual and family counseling and an educational resource library.

To speak to someone at the center, call 706-475-4900.


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Stroke Warning Signs

Most common signs and symptoms of a stroke:

  • Sudden onset of drooping in face
  • Sudden onset of weakness in arms or legs – especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden onset of difficulty speaking or understanding
  • Sudden onset of trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of coordination
  • Sudden severe headache – described as the worst headache of your life

If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, call 911 IMMEDIATELY.

Stroke Warning Signs

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Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Wellness


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Best Kept Secret in Athens

by Marlo Wiggans | Volunteer Librarian at the Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support

The definition of a library is “an organized collection of sources of information and similar resources, made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing.” One of the best kept secrets in Athens is the library at the Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support. The library is dedicated to cancer patients and families in need of information and support. More than 1,000 resources including books, DVDs, and CDs are available at no charge and with no library card required.

Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support Library
Topics include volumes on specific cancers such as breast, colon, prostate, lung, leukemia, melanoma, ovarian, pancreatic, esophageal, and myeloma, as well as inspirational titles to foster hope and perseverance in the “cancer journey.”

There are a number of cookbooks that encourage healthier eating such as The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen and Eating Well Through Cancer, as well as titles which offer suggestions for complementary treatments including Choices in Healing. A number of titles aid in the grief and healing process such as The Courage to Grieve and Healing Grief. Memoirs such as A Widow’s Story by Joyce Carol Oates and Yea Though I Walk by Darrell Huckaby may be beneficial on the walk through cancer and/or grief. Books on caregivers may offer support to loving family members and friends.

In addition, there are a number of guided imagery CDs by Belleruth Naparstek on such topics as Fighting Cancer, Chemotherapy, Panic Attacks, Stop Smoking, Ease Grief, General Wellness, and Control Diabetes.

New titles are often appearing on the shelves so please stop by and benefit from the support found within our library.

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Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Loran Smith Center


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Thank You, Nurses!

This is dedicated to all of the nurses at Athens Regional Health System who work tirelessly for the care of our patients.

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Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Jobs, Nursing, Recognition


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A Nutty Way to Snack Healthy

Do you enjoy snacking on a handful of nuts every now and then? If you look at the nutrition label, you might feel a twinge of guilt over your choice of snack food. Well, relax and enjoy! Nuts DO have a lot of fat in them, but most of the fat is the healthy kind—monounsaturated fat. Walnuts, almonds, pecans, and peanuts are all good sources of monounsaturated fats.

This healthy kind of fat can help lower your cholesterol as well as reduce your risk of high blood pressure and some cancers.

Some research has also shown people who eat nuts tend to eat less food and control their weight better than people who don’t, possibly because nuts are more satisfying than other snack options.

The only caution is to watch your serving size. Nuts also have lots of calories, so limit yourself to one quarter-cup serving a day.


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Posted by on March 29, 2015 in Wellness


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Butter vs. Margarine

Guidance from the Athens Regional Health Education Team 

Which is healthier for your heart? Answering that question will depend on which margarine you choose and you’ll have to do a little detective work.

What’s In It?

Butter is made from animal fats, which are high in saturated fat. Saturated fat raises your cholesterol level.

Margarine is made from vegetable oils and so it has less saturated fat than butter.

However, margarine can be made with hydrogenated oils, better known as trans-fat, to help keep it solid at room temperature. Trans-fat makes your bad cholesterol go up and your good cholesterol go down—a double whammy!

Check the Label

Check the label of the margarine you are eating. Look for zero grams of trans-fat. Since a product can have less than half a gram of trans-fat and still list zero grams per serving, read the ingredient list for “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils.

One bonus for margarine—if you choose a brand fortified with plant sterols, it can actually help lower your cholesterol!

Spread Sparingly

Whatever spread you choose to use, use it sparingly. Fat and calories from butter or margarine add up fast and mean extra pounds on you.


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Posted by on March 25, 2015 in Wellness


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What’s in Your Glass?

Is your drink keeping you from losing weight? Beverages can have lots of calories and they don’t satisfy your hunger any more than plain water. Here are some sample calorie counts of what you might be drinking:

Coffee Shop Mochas, Lattes, Cappuccinos, Hot Chocolate

Expect to drink from 200 to 350 calories for a 12-ounce cup—more for the bigger cups!  Coffee and tea have NO calories, unless you add cream (20-40 calories per teaspoon) or sugar (16 calories per teaspoon).


These have 400 to 1000+ calories, depending on where you buy it and how big it is. There may or may not be any real milk in it.

Fruit Smoothies

These can range from 300 to 550 calories for a 20 ounce cup, mostly from added sugar.


For an 8-ounce serving, orange juice has around 110 calories. Grape juice has 160 calories. Vegetable juice has 50 calories. That’s with no added sugar, so check the label!


There are about 90 calories in a cup of skim (non-fat) milk and 150 in a cup of whole (full-fat) milk.


All non-diet colas have around 100 calories per eight ounces. That’s 250 calories for a 20-ounce bottle.

Soda vs. Water

Know What’s in Your Glass

Some of these beverages have more nutrition than others. Milk provides calcium and real fruit/vegetable juices contain vitamins. Small servings of these are ok. However, if you are routinely drinking high-calorie beverages with meals or to quench your thirst, you may be adding extra calories and unwanted pounds!

Drink Water

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Posted by on March 6, 2015 in Wellness


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