What makes food tastier could potentially make you sick. The simple act of browning food to get that crispy crust also produces a cancer-causing chemical called acrylamide, reports the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Acrylamide starts forming when cooking temperatures exceed 120 degrees Celsius (248 degrees Fahrenheit), and popular foods like coffee, processed cereal grains found in cookies, crackers and bread, fried potatoes and certain baby foods are at risk.
Researchers have linked acrylamide with tumor growth and the spread of cancer in animal studies. While human studies have provided limited and inconsistent evidence of increased risk of developing cancer, EFSA recommends limiting acrylamide intake as much as possible. Other studies have shown high temperature cooking to increase the risk of potential cancer-causing agents in food like charred meat as well.
According to the National Cancer Institute, frying, baking and broiling food can produce acrylamide, while boiling and microwaving are less likely to do so. Compared to other foods, potato chips and French fries contain higher amounts of acylamide.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) has provided several dietary recommendations to reduce your exposure to acrylamide. Dark roast coffee is safer to drink than light roast coffee because the acrylamides are formed during the first few minutes of roasting and then degrade over a longer roasting process. Boiling your potatoes may be healthier than than roasting or frying them. Lightly toast bread before the dark spots form, and avoid baby food made with processed cereal grains.
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