Summer can be synonymous with sunshine, sweet tea, and the seasonal ritual of gathering friends, family, and neighbors for a barbecue. The air is scented with sizzling meat, the tang of barbecue sauce, and the aroma of sunscreen. Games of sand volleyball, corn hole toss, or a dip in the pool may accompany your neighborhood grill-off. However, this ritual focuses heavily on the consumption of grilled meat and tasty treats. If you are attempting to watch your waistline, you may want to look out for these nine popular, yet unhealthy, summer barbecue elements.

9. Fatty Cuts of Meat

Salt Cured Meat

A nicely marbled steak tastes fantastic, yet it can add more fat to your plate than you desire. Well-seasoned, leaner cuts of meat can be just as tasty without the extra calories from fat. Meat doesn’t have to be extra fatty to be unhealthy. In addition to trimming excess fat from your cut of beef or pork, slice off any portions that have become charred. The National Cancer Institute reports that meat cooked at high temperatures can form chemicals that may cause cancer. Skip the meat and try this recipe from Allrecipes for Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with onion, garlic, and balsamic vinegar.

8. Sausages and Hot Dogs

Hot Dog

Hot dogs and sausages are highly processed meats that are typically high in sodium, nitrites, and nitrates. According to the American Cancer Society, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has categorized processed meats as probably causing cancer. Enjoying one hot dog or sausage at a neighborhood picnic probably won’t kill you. However, the American Cancer Society reports that eating the equivalent of one hot dog every day can increase your risk of colon cancer by about 18%. To protect your colon, you may want to skip the hot dogs and go for a skewer of grilled veggies instead.


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