Chemical in Browned Foods May Pose a Health Risk
According to scientists in the UK, acrylamide—a chemical that is present in many types of food and is a natural by-product of cooking, when starchy foods like bread and potatoes are roasted, fried, or grilled for too long or at high temperatures—may increase cancer risk.
The UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommends cooking foods carefully to avoid browning. The agency also reports that foods like potatoes and other starchy vegetables should not be kept in the refrigerator because storing them at low temperatures increases their sugar content and may lead to higher production of acrylamide during cooking. Highest levels of the chemical are found in breakfast cereals, bread, biscuits, crackers, baked goods, and coffee—as well as in tobacco smoke.
Although there is no conclusive evidence that acrylamide causes cancer in humans, research has shown a link in animals. High levels of exposure also may cause damage to the neurological and reproductive systems. Some scientists remain skeptical about the potential risk.
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