You are here

Scientific progress

02 - 07 - 2018

A marinade to protect our health

An INRA study conducted in rodents and humans indicates that marinating red meat can reduce its carcinogenic potential.




Red meat contains iron in a heme form, which is linked to the presence of hemoglobin in the blood and myoglobin in muscles. This heme iron oxidizes dietary lipids to form deleterious compounds for the colon. This has led international health authorities to classify red meat as probably carcinogenic. Weekly consumption shouldn't exceed 500 grams according to recommendations.





Given the well-established eating habits and the recognized nutritional benefits of red meat, INRA researchers tried to develop an approach that reduces the potentially negative effects of red meat while preserving the nutritional benefits.


Based on knowledge of the mechanisms of carcinogenesis, they studied the effect of a marinade composed of an aqueous mixture of olive and grape extracts with antioxidant properties, which limits the oxidation of lipids in food. This marinade does not modify the taste qualities of the meat.


A consumer and rat study compared marinated meat with unmarinated meat and showed a decrease in lipid oxidation in feces. In rats and mice, a decrease in the carcinogenic effect in the colon is notable.


Cooking methods don't seem to modify this protective effect of the marinade.


Recommendations should in the future put forwards different ways to prepare red meat which reduces the carcinogenic risk related to its consumption.