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Ask Tufts Experts November 2019 Issue

Q. How should hamburgers be cooked for health?

A. Lauren McAvoy, Frances Stern Dietetic Intern, answers: “It is important to cook hamburgers to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce risk of food poisoning. Ground meats are more likely to carry disease-causing germs than unground cuts of meat, primarily because grinding the meat mixes in any organisms that might be present on the surface of the meat. While grilling a steak, for example, will kill the surface germs, ground meat has to be raised to a higher temperature in the center to ensure that all organisms have been killed.

“For a healthier burger, use leaner beef to reduce saturated fat intake. Keep charring to a minimum by turning frequently when cooking to reduce the development of potentially cancer-causing chemicals. Overall, burgers can have an occasional place in an overall healthy diet. Load them up with plenty of veggie toppings, and add healthy fruit and vegetable sides.”

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