Wednesday, February 25, 2009

'Toxic' Cancer-causing Chemical Found in French Fries

As if you need another reason to step away from the fries, the prospect of downing some acrylamide might make you think twice before you pop one of those golden-brown beauties into your mouth. What exactly is acrylamide? It's a chemical that has been shown to cause cancer in animals, but the risk to human health is not 100% clear.

Now, you're probably wondering why you haven't heard of this stuff yet. As it turns out, acrylamide in fried foods is nothing new. This cancer-causing chemical is produced when specific amino acids and carbohydrates (like those found in potatoes) hit extremely high temperatures (like those found in the deep fryer) and this fact has been known for decades!

Health Canada is only just now proposing that acrylamide gets placed on the 'toxic' food list. The government is doing a sort of 'sweep' in getting rid of all kinds of common and potential hazardous substances that have never been properly tested or regulated for 'safe levels of exposure'.

So, if you're worried about acrylamide but you're not ready to give up potatoes all together, try boiling them for an acrylamide-free meal or frying them at home at lower temperatures.