Reducing your consumption of certain
types of fried foods can help lower the amount of a possible cancer-causing
chemical in your diet, according to US health officials.
Acrylamide can form in some foods –
including potatoes, cereals, crackers or breads, dried fruits and coffee –
during high-temperature cooking processes such as frying and baking. Acrylamide
is found in 40% of the calories consumed in the average American diet,
according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
High levels of acrylamide have been
found to cause cancer in animals, which makes scientists believe that the
chemical is likely to cause cancer in people as well, the US Food and Drug
"Generally speaking, acrylamide
is more likely to accumulate when cooking is done for longer periods or at
higher temperatures," FDA chemist Lauren Robin said in an agency news
release. She added that boiling and steaming foods do not typically cause
acrylamide to form.
Because it's so common in foods, it
isn't feasible to eliminate acrylamide from your diet. However, there are
things you can do to reduce the amount of acrylamide consumed by you and your
family, Robin said.
She offered the following tips:- When
frying frozen french fries, follow the manufacturer's recommendations on time
and temperature and avoid overcooking, heavy crisping or browning.
bread to a light brown colour rather than a dark brown colour. Do not eat very
cut potato products such as frozen French fries to a golden yellow colour
rather than a brown colour. Brown areas tend to contain more acrylamide.
store potatoes in the refrigerator, because this can increase acrylamide levels
during cooking. Keep potatoes outside the refrigerator in a dark, cool place,
such as a closet or a pantry.
Been around for a while
Acrylamide has probably been around
as long as people have been baking, roasting, toasting or frying foods. But it
was only in the last 10 years that scientists first discovered the chemical in
food, according to the FDA.
Since then, the agency has been
investigating the effects of acrylamide as well as potential measures to reduce
The US National Cancer Institute has
more about acrylamide in food.