Jan 16, 2019 | Updated: 01:26 PM EST

Study Warns Roasted Potatoes, Toasted Bread, Crispy Chips Increase Risk For Cancer, Gives Recommendations How To Avoid It

Nov 16, 2015 08:37 PM EST


A new study conducted by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) revealed that crispy potatoes, crunchy chips and charred toasted breads might have high-levels of cancer-causing toxins. The study measured the amount of acrylamide on home-cooked foods mentioned earlier.

Experts advised that "a light golden color" for chips and potatoes is recommended, while "the lightest color acceptable" should be observed when toasting breads. Despite sounding so delicious, the crispier potato or chips become, the higher the acrylamide level is. Acrylamide is under the "genotoxic carcinogen" that "has the potential to cause cancer by interacting with the genetic material (DNA) in cells." 

In an experiment conducted, the researchers cooked a bag of chips for the longest time possible. In every kilogram, the team found 1052 micrograms of acrylamide. This is 50-fold higher compared with the lowest level recorded.

On the other hand, in the crispiest and most cooked state of a roast potato, researchers found 490 micrograms of cancer-causing toxin in every kilogram. This is an 80 times shoot when compared with the palest batch.

And lastly, for toast, the same trend was obtained where the most burned has 167 micrograms, which is 19 times higher than the 9 micrograms per kilograms in the least cooked.

"The risk assessment indicates that at the levels we are exposed to from food, acrylamide could be increasing the risk of cancer," said Professor Guy Poppy, the chief scientific adviser for FSA. "We do not advise people to stop eating particular foods but... when making chips at home, they are cooked to a light golden colour... [and] bread should be toasted to the lightest colour acceptable."

The scientists further tested household awareness. Out the 50 samples FSA took on cooked potatoes and toasts, the team found that none of the samples passed and might not even be knowledgeable of the possible effects acrylamide brings.

No clear, definite standards have been set out yet. But the European Commission is considering the idea of introducing maximum levels. For now, researchers recommended some tips on how to reduce these lurking toxins.

First, before roasting potatoes, paraboiling is recommended to lessen the sugar that gives off acrylamide. Second, potatoes are best stored in the refrigerator as increased in temperature can directly proportionate increase of sugar and sweetness. And lastly, when roasting paraboiled potatoes, avoid "fluffing" or shaking the pan as this can "attempt to increase surface area... [that] may lead to greater acrylamide generation."

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