Cancer-Causing Acrylamide Found in Burnt Toast and Potatoes

Burnt toast

Overcooked bread and potatoes contain acrylamide, a toxic chemical that produces cancer

From now on, you may want to be more careful when cooking potatoes or toast for your family. A new study found that these foods may be dangerous for our health. Overcooked bread or potatoes may contain acrylamide, a toxic chemical that may cause cancer.

The foods that may pose cancer risk include starchy carbs, such as potatoes, bread, pizza dough, but even vegetables such as beetroot, turnips, and parsnips. When these foods are cooked at high temperatures, acrylamide is formed. Anything from baking, frying, grilling, roasting, or toasting may cause the formation of acrylamide. However, boiling, steaming, or microwaving reduces the risk.

Scientists performed several studies on mice that showed high levels of acrylamide might produce cancer, as well as neurological damage. Although the studies on human have proved inconclusive, the specialists warn us there is a risk for this chemical to cause cancer in humans.

What should we do in this situation? The crispy food enthusiasts may receive this as bad news, but the specialists are not trying to take away your everyday toast. People are advised to opt for ‘golden’ foods rather than brown. That is, try to lower the temperature when you cook to avoid the ‘browning’ of your food and thus the risk is significantly lowered.

Also, do not keep the raw potatoes in the fridge. This only increases the acrylamide levels. Keep them in a cool and dark place where the temperature is higher than 6 degrees Celsius. Also, you are not forced to give up carbs forever, but rather try to focus on a more balanced diet and eat a bit out of everything.

But what is acrylamide? It is a toxic chemical that is responsible with causing tumors. It is not an artificial chemical that is added from outside, but a by-product of cooking and there is no way to get rid of it completely.

The first time when acrylamide was emphasized as a potential risk was in a Swedish study performed in 2002. However, the first study that linked acrylamide and the risk of cancer was published in 2015 by the European Food Standard Agency. Acrylamide might pose a risk, but it is still not clear how big the risk it actually is.

Although not the main risk factor, cooking and grilling meat at high temperatures can be an important risk factor for cancer. This is why you should opt for cooking at lower temperatures and avoid burning your potatoes or toast, to avoid the forming of acrylamide.
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