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Acrylamide and Fried Foods: Should We Freak Out?


In April of 2002, the Swedish National Food Administration conducted a study where they found significant levels of the chemical acrylamide in fried foods such as potatoes and breakfast cereals [2]. Acrylamide forms at temperatures above 350o F (180o C) when the amino acid asparagine reacts with starch or sugars via Maillard reaction [6,7]. Although this chemical has been shown to be carcinogenic in rats [4], a study could not correlate any increase in risk of bowel, kidney or bladder cancer with the heavy intake of these fried foods containing acrylamide [10]. A possible explanation for this lack of correlation is that acrylamide is not present in sufficient quantities in these foods to cause appreciable toxicity or oncogenicity.

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