Another reason why the high raw, plant based, low fat diet is healthiest. Eating a diet high in vegetables and fruits, with moderate consumption of nuts, seeds, beans and some grains provides you with all of the nutrients you need for health while leaving out the foods that cause illness: including acrylamides. I’ve been writing about acrylamides for years now, and everyone who has been in my 8 Week Raw Body Reset knows that we avoid acrylamides at all costs. They are one of the most damaging substances found in foods cooked at high temperatures.
Acrylamides are a cancer-increasing compound found in foods cooked at high temperatures such as frying, grilling, and high temperature baking. Studies, including a recent one published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, have consistently found that potato chips, French fries and other fried potato products have the most acrylamide. But this toxic chemical is also detected in other foods people deem “healthy” such as breakfast cereals, crackers and bread — foods that many people consume frequently.
Acrylamide forms when an amino acid called asparagine present in starchy foods like potatoes, reacts with the sugars present in those foods. Cooking with temperatures above 365 degrees Fahrenheit produces this cancer causing toxin. Acrylamide can’t be detected in unheated and boiled foods, because the minimum temperature to create acrylamide is 120 degrees centigrade, 248 degree Fahrenheit. Boiling of course, occurs at 100° C, 212° F. So boiling and steaming have not been shown to produce acrylamides.
Scientists at the Danish Cancer Society found that when they analyzed the amounts of acrylamide in the blood, there were “indications that individuals with high levels of acrylamide in their blood also had a higher risk of developing cancer. We examined 420 women who had developed breast cancer and compared their acrylamide levels with those of 420 healthy women. Here we noticed that women who have developed breast cancer appeared to have higher levels of acrylamide before their disease broke out.” ~ Anja Olsen, lead research scientist.
Some common sources of acrylamide in the typical diet are: fried or grilled foods, boxed cereals, French fries, crackers, cookies, potato chips, coffee and chocolate (as the beans of both are roasted at extremely high temperatures unless you are buying raw cacao and low heat/light roast coffee). The general rule is that the higher the temperature and the longer the cooking time the more acrylamide is likely to be formed.
When we consume acrylamide through food it is absorbed in the intestine and then travels into the bloodstream. In the blood, the substance binds to the red blood cells, either as acrylamide or as the decomposition product glycidamide. A well-designed study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2009 found increased inflammation and other risk factors for heart disease in people who ate potato chips (averaging five ounces a day), though other substances in the chips may have been at least partly to blame.
Two studies in Environmental Health Perspectives suggested that acrylamide can negatively affect fetal development. In one study, higher dietary acrylamide intake in pregnant women was linked to a reduction in fetal growth. The other linked higher acrylamide exposure during pregnancy to reduced birth weight.
The studies on acrylamides, like many scientific studies, are imperfect. However it is safe to say there is a deep concern over the amount of acrylamides people are consuming. Both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European authorities are monitoring acrylamide in foods and looking for ways to lower the levels of acrylamides in commercially prepared foods.
What Can You Do?
- Eat a high raw, low fat, plant based diet. Need help? Join our EAT JUICE THRIVE family!
- Don’t buy commercially prepared starchy foods
- Wash and soak potatoes before cooking and don’t store them in the refrigerator or in the cold (the compounds that contribute to acrylamide formation increase at temperatures below 46°F/8°C).
- Bake your potatoes at home only until they are golden yellow, not browned
- Don’t char or burn your toast
- If you drink coffee (which I don’t recommend) opt for lightly roasted coffee beans in place of darker ones
For More Info See:
Bongers ML, Hogervorst JG, Schouten LJ, et al. Dietary acrylamide intake and the risk of lymphatic malignancies: The Netherlands Cohort Study on diet and cancer. PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e38016. Epub 2012 Jun 18.
Hogervorst JG, Schouten LJ, Konings EJ, Goldbohm RA, van den Brandt PA. Dietary acrylamide intake and brain cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009;18:1663−1666.
Hogervorst JG, Schouten LJ, Konings EJ, Goldbohm RA, van den Brandt PA. Dietary acrylamide intake and the risk of renal cell, bladder, and prostate cancer. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87:1428−1438.
Hogervorst JG, Schouten LJ, Konings EJ, Goldbohm RA, van den Brandt PA. Lung cancer risk in relation to dietary acrylamide intake. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2009;101:651−662.
International Agency for Research on Cancer. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Volume 60: Some Industrial Chemicals: Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation. 1999. Accessed at http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol60/volume60.pdf on July 17, 2013.
Larsson SC, Akesson A, Bergkvist L, Wolk A. Dietary acrylamide intake and risk of colorectal cancer in a prospective cohort of men. Eur J Cancer. 2009;45:513−516.
Larsson SC, Akesson A, Wolk A. Dietary acrylamide intake and prostate cancer risk in a prospective cohort of Swedish men. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009;18:1939−1941.
Larsson SC, Akesson A, Wolk A. Long-term dietary acrylamide intake and breast cancer risk in a prospective cohort of Swedish women. Am J Epidemiol. 2009;169:376−381.
Larsson SC, Akesson A, Wolk A. Long-term dietary acrylamide intake and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer in a prospective cohort of Swedish women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009;18:994−997.
Larsson SC, Hakansson N, Akesson A, Wolk A. Long-term dietary acrylamide intake and risk of endometrial cancer in a prospective cohort of Swedish women. Int J Cancer. 2009;124:1196−1199.
Mucci LA, Adami HO. The plight of the potato: is dietary acrylamide a risk factor for human cancer? J Nat Cancer Inst. 2009;101:618−621.
Mucci LA, Dickman PW, Steineck G, Adami HO, Augustsson K. Dietary acrylamide and cancer of the large bowel, kidney, and bladder: absence of an association in a population-based study in Sweden. Br J Cancer. 2003;88:84−89.
Mucci LA, Sandin S, Magnusson. Acrylamide intake and breast cancer risk in Swedish women. JAMA. 2005;293:1326−1327.
Schouten LJ, Hogervorst JG, Konings EJ, Goldbohm RA, van den Brandt PA. Dietary acrylamide intake and the risk of head-neck and thyroid cancers: results from the Netherlands Cohort Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2009;170:873−884.