Acrylamide In Deep-Fried Foods Increase Cancer Risk

16-Nov-2015 - United Kingdom

Regular consumption of foods with high starch content, cooked at high temperatures, can increase the risk of cancer, according to the expert advice that UK's Chief Scientific Advisor received from scientific advisory committees.

Acrylamide, a carcinogenic substance, is produced in cooking processes such as frying, grilling, roasting, and baking. Regularly eating food containing high levels of acrylamide may also damage the nervous and reproductive systems, but the chances are less likely, the report says.

Professor Guy Poppy, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), focused his report on chemical risks caused by acrylamide, which forms in food during cooking. 

Most of the evidence is based on effects seen in experimental animals or cells studied in a laboratory. 

Acrylamide is usually found in higher levels in starchy foods such as potatoes, cereals and  coffee beans when they have been cooked at temperatures above 120°C. In a process called the Maillard reaction, the naturally present water, sugar, and amino acids combine to create colors, aromas and flavor. This also causes browning of the food and produces acrylamide. 

Dietary exposure to acrylamide differs with age and body weight, according to the report. The main contributors to total dietary acrylamide for different age groups are: Infants - potato and cereal-based baby foods and products; Toddlers, children and adolescents - fried potato products, bread, biscuits, crackers, crisp bread, other products based on cereals; Adults - potato products, bread, coffee, porridge, breakfast cereals, cakes and pastries, biscuits, crackers and crisp bread. 

It has been found that some foods are rich in acrylamide due to the way they are produced. Further cooking of carbohydrate-rich foods, for example the grilling of bread to make toast produces more acrylamide. This browning process is indicative of acrylamide production. Acrylamide levels are higher in well-cooked dark brown chips compared to lighter brown cooked chips. 

Working in the polyacrylamide production industry and smoking are the other main sources of acrylamide exposure. The smoking exposes people to higher levels of acrylamide than their diet. (dpa) 

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