Extra Crispy French Fries May Cause Cancer

Acrylamide is a harmful chemical which has been shown to cause cancer in animals. It does have a potential to be carcinogenic in humans too.

What Is Acrylamide?

It’s a chemical that may form in certain food stuffs when they undergo certain cooking processes. It forms in carbohydrate and protein based foods, when subjected to very high temperatures, as in frying and baking.

Food Likely to Form Acrylamide

When carbohydrate or protein based foodstuffs are fried or baked for longer durations, acrylamide is produced as a by-product.

Examples of such foods include potatoes, cereals, coffee, crackers, breads and dry fruits etc.

It does not form (or forms in lower amounts) in dairy products, meats etc.

In general, it is more likely to get produced when cooking is done by frying or baking for longer periods. If you are steaming or boiling the food, acrylamide is not formed.

Surveys tell us that a typical American diet has acrylamide in up to 40% of the total calories consumed.

It is practically not possible to eliminate this chemical altogether from our diet. However, limiting its formation by healthier cooking methods is recommended.

Whether cooking at home or having food outside at a restaurant, observe the following precautions:

  • When frying potato based chips, fries or cutlets- avoid heavy crisping or burning. A golden brown color is good, but not a dark brown.
  • Toast your bread to light brown, avoid making it dark brown. Do not eat the dark brown or black areas that are burnt.
  • Cook all frozen vegetables to a golden color. Brown color or darker shades are likely to contain more acrylamide.
  • Vegetables like potatoes, colocasia etc. are to be stored in cool, darker places of your kitchen. Do not store them in refrigerator. Refrigerated potatoes are more likely to get converted into acrylamide.
  • Limit your intake of processed food stuff. Fresh home cooking is healthier.
  • Detoxify your body on a regular basis by drinking lots of water and consuming plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables.