As if we haven’t got enough things to worry about, 8 years ago Swedish scientists discovered that acrylamide, a synthetic potentially dangerous chemical used for various industrial purposes, also appears in french fries and potato chips. More accurately, it forms in some foods during high-temperature cooking processes, such as frying, roasting, and baking.
What you need to know:
1. Acrylamide is formed in a high heat reaction of sugars and asparagine (an amino acid) that are naturally present in certain foods such as potatoes and breads.
2. Frying, roasting, and cooking form acrylamide, but not boiling, steaming, or microwaving.
3. Acrylamide can also be found in cigarette smoke.
4. The health risks associated with acrylamide are still being investigated by health organizations and the FDA. It has been shown to cause cancer in animals in high doses. Additional evidence talks about damage to reproductive glands.
5. Coffee, potatoes, and grain products are foods that form the highest level of acrylamide, whereas meat and dairy products produce almost none.
6. Acrylamide levels increase the higher the heat level and the longer the food is exposed to the heat source.
7. Frying creates the most acrylamide, roasting less, and baking the lowest of the three.
What to do in the kitchen:
8. Store your potatoes above 46 degrees Fahrenheit. At lower temperatures, fructose content in the potato rises sharply and that results in more acrylamide forming while frying or baking.
9. Soaking raw potato slices in water for 15-30 minutes before frying or roasting helps reduce acrylamide formation during cooking.
10. Fry potatoes rarely (french fires are not exactly a health food you know), and when you do, stop when they become golden, but not brown.
11. When toasting bread, prefer a lightly colored toast to a brown one.
sources of information: FDA, WHO
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