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Melissa's Musings: Grillin' Time!

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

From Dr. Melissa Prest, Foundation Dietitian

By July we have officially settled into summer and many people have been using the grill to cook meals. While meat, fish, and poultry are the first foods we think about when grilling, don’t forget how delicious grilled fruits and vegetables are too. Of concern to people with kidney disease and other chronic inflammatory conditions is the way our food impacts inflammation. Grilled meat is one contributor to inflammation because of an increase in the production of advance glycation end products or AGEs during cooking. AGEs promote oxidative stress and inflammation by attaching to your cells and changing their structure and how they function. Since people with kidney disease live with chronic inflammation it is important to choose foods and cooking methods that can calm inflammation.

While it may seem like grilled meats are not a great option for people with kidney disease, think again! You can still enjoy grilled meats and other foods in a lower inflammatory way.


Marinate meats in acidic compounds such as wine, vinegar, or citrus juice (orange juice, pineapple juice). Acids inhibit the formation of AGEs. A piece of meat that has been marinating for an hour will have 50% less AGEs formed during cooking when compared to a piece of meat that was not marinated.

Grill Fruits and Vegetables

While all grilled foods will contain more AGEs than raw foods or items cooked with moist heat, plant foods contain much fewer AGEs than animal foods. Try grilling pineapple, spaghetti squash, corn, zucchini, and more!

Cook Low and Slow

Move your meat off the flame. You can cut AGE production up to 50% by cooking at lower temperatures for longer cooking times.

Check out these recipes to add to your summer menu.

Beef Kabobs

Makes: 5 servings

Per Serving: Calories 220, Protein 20g, Sodium 90 mg, Potassium 530 mg, Phosphorus 30 mg


1 lb beef round steak

8 cherry tomatoes

1 medium green pepper, cut into 8 pieces

1 small onion, cut into 8 wedges

8 small mushrooms

1 can beer