Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Do Fried Foods Cause Cancer?

Back in 2002, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S.A., brought fear to many french fry lovers that it is carcinogen (meaning it could cause cancer). This is because most fried foods contain a chemical called acrylamide.

Acrylamide (or acrylic amide) is a chemical compound with the chemical formula C3H5NO. Acrylamide presents in many commonly eaten foods — including French fries, potato chips, bread and even coffee, and known to cause cancer in lab animals when ingested at high doses


Acrylamide turns up in foods when they are fried, baked or cooked at high temperatures. It forms from sugars and an amino acid naturally found in food. It is part of the chemical reaction that transforms the flavor and color of food when cooked. It has been in our foods probably for as long as we've been cooking, but we didn't know it until a little over a decade ago.

The confusion part is that since the first warning given years ago, researchers have been studying acrylamide in humans but most of the studies published so far have failed to find any links between dietary acrylamide and various types of cancers.

"We found a suggestion that it might increase ovarian and endometrial cancer, but we found nothing for breast and nothing for prostate," said Kathryn Wilson, an epidemiologist at Harvard's School of Public Health.

Still, even though the human research hasn't pinpointed much of a cancer risk from eating acrylamide, the National Toxicology Program lists it  as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen," because of those animal studies.

And as for french fries? As Wilson notes: "You probably shouldn't be eating them for a lot of other reasons than acrylamide content."

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