by Marion Nestle
Nov 30 2007

Bad news about acrylamide

A question posted about acrylamide asks: “I heard on the radio today that a study has demonstrated that the cooking of potatoes in oil, whether on top or in the oven, raises acrylamide to dangerous levels. In my novice readings, I have learned that traditional, more saturated fats may be more stable than the industrial veggie oils. So, to what extent are these results impacted by the frying fat?”

Acrylamide is a puzzle. It is a bad carcinogen but it appears in just about any carbohydrate-containing food that is heated to high temperature. And most foods contain at least some carbohydrate. High-carbohydrate foods, like potato chips and French fries, are prime examples of foods high in acrylamides. Food companies are working like mad to figure out ways to reduce levels in processed foods, and the European Union is also working hard on this problem. I put acrylamides in the category of things I don’t worry about much. They are in everything, especially high-carbohydrate junk foods–another reason to go easy on eating those foods.

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  • I knew about acrylamides in french fries some time ago. Commercial friench fries are sprayed with a sugary coating to actually increase the reaction. But a quick look for more info about acrylomides yields more unsavory info.

    Yet more good reasons to keep consumption of baked breads, crackers and fried or microwaved oily starchy foods to a minimum, just to be on the safe side (as if there weren’t enough good reasons to reduce french fry consumption). Hmmm, sounds like the low starch way of eating is looking healthier every day :-).

  • teresa

    just curious why “acrylamide” is no longer listed as a “topic” in your list of posts, when this post on the subject still exists? i noticed it in your topics when i first started following your blog a few months ago. did new information come out that the public should be aware of?