Summer Grilling Tips from Cancer Treatment Centers of America



It’s no secret that firing up the grill to enjoy the flavors of the season is a popular thing to do, but many people are not aware of the potential cancer-causing risks involved when cooking foods, particularly meats, on the grill. For example, it is a little known fact that grilling meats at high temperatures can actually increase the formation of cancer-causing compounds. In the attached video, Sharon Day, Director of Nutrition at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, shares five tips for healthy grilling.

Further, utilizing certain herbs and spices, such as rosemary or turmeric, when preparing meals can decrease the formation of cancer causing compounds by 40-70 percent. Adding a spice mixture of ground cloves, cinnamon, oregano, ginger, rosemary, black pepper, paprika and garlic powder to burgers can reduce the formation of carcinogens by 70 percent.

Below is a video of Sharon demonstrating healthy grilling food choices!

As Director of Nutrition at CTCA at Western Regional Medical Center,Day oversees a team of clinical oncology dietitians. Together, they provide nutrition support and counseling to patients using a proactive approach.

Day is a registered and licensed dietitian with national credentials in metabolic nutrition support. She earned a bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan, and completed a dietetic internship at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Day has expertise in the nutritional management of patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiation therapy and stem cell transplantation. She is also a member of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.

Prior to joining CTCA at Western Regional Medical Center (Western), Day spent several years on the nutrition teams at both CTCA at Midwestern Regional Medical Center and CTCA at Eastern Regional Medical Center, where she served as Director of Nutrition.

According to Day, it is extremely important for people fighting cancer to meet with a nutritionist. “It’s well documented that 80 percent of all cancer patients have signs and symptoms of malnutrition. We also know that, based on that, as little as a five percent weight loss in one month can decrease someone’s tolerance to treatment, or it can alter their treatment plan altogether,” she says.

At Western, Day and her team do everything possible to make sure patients are nourished so they feel strong enough to receive the conventional treatments recommended by their oncologist. In addition, the nutrition plan Day develops for every patient complements and supports all of their cancer fighting therapies.

One of the unique tools Day uses to determine if patients are receiving the nutrients they need is body composition analysis. It measures the different components of each patient’s weight and helps Day determine if he or she is gaining much-needed muscle mass—not fluid or fat.

What makes the nutrition therapy programs at CTCA hospitals unlike most other hospitals, Day says, is that patients receive far more education. Additionally, she says patients’ treatment plans are thoroughly and regularly followed by the nutritionists.

Day and her team at Western are committed to an individualized, evidenced-based, proactive nutrition approach. She says her first goal is to manage her patients’ nutritional needs. Furthermore, she teaches patients how to apply nutritional information to their everyday lives to make healthy dietary choices.


Executive Chef Frank Caputo

At Western, Executive Chef Frank Caputo leads the culinary team. Caputo explains that his family has long been involved in the food and beverage industry:

“My mom and dad are both Italian. I realized what I wanted to do when I was sent to Italy at a young age to work with my grandparents on their farm. We raised livestock and made wine…it was great!”

Caputo graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. After many years as an entrepreneur in the restaurant industry, Caputo realized that he wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. That’s when Caputo moved from Florida to Goodyear, Arizona where he joined CTCA as the Director of Culinary Services for Western.

“I never dreamt I would be so fulfilled in my career,” says Caputo, “My job here is about going beyond the call of duty. It is about finding the best organic, hormone-free ingredients and creating healthy, flavorful meals.”


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