Human studies on whether acrylamide in baked and fried carbohydrates may be carcinogenic.
Ranking foods by antioxidants per unit weight.
So, burgers aren't good for us, but what about the fries? In my annual 2002 update, I asked everyone to stop eating French fries and potato chips, tagging acrylamide one of the most important nutrition stories of the year.
Acrylamide is a neurotoxic industrial chemical used in the plastics industry, found in cigarette smoke, and, in a bunch of foods. The chemical is created when we fry carbohydrates. By law, a glass of water has to have less than 0.12 millionths of a gram, and fast food French fries may exceed that safety limit by 30,000%.
Acrylamide has been considered a “probable human carcinogen,” based on the fact that it causes cancer in lab rats. But so does saccharin. But the reason we don’t see warning labels on Sweet & Low anymore is because it turns out that male rats have a biochemical pathway, not shared by human beings, that turns saccharin into a carcinogen. But we can’t even extrapolate that to female rats; forget people.
But wanting to play it safe, so I said: “Look, they’re starting human studies now. We’ll know in five years if this is really a problem or not. In the meanwhile, better to stay away from French fries and potato chips."
Well, it’s been five years. For humans, do you think it's harmful? Harmless? Or helpful?
Acrylamide intake has now been linked to human kidney cancer, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, and human breast cancer. So, I encourage people to keep staying away from French fries and potato chips.
The industry is looking into ways to mitigate our risk by spending tons of R&D money into researching ways to decrease acrylamide levels. Almost as much money, perhaps, as they are spending trying to find better ways to get salt to stick to potato chips. Turns out cubic crystals evidently give the best adhesion.
This, however [photo of a bunch of bananas], remains okay.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.
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J.G. Hogervorst, L.J. Schouten, E.J. Konings, R.A. Goldbohm, & P.A. van den Brandt. A prospective study of dietary acrylamide intake and the risk of endometrial, ovarian, and breast cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 16(11):2304-2314, 2007.
P.T. Olesen, A. Olsen, H. Frandsen, K. Frederiksen, K. Overvad, & A. Tjønneland. Acrylamide exposure and incidence of breast cancer among postmenopausal women in the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health Study. Int J Cancer, 122(9):2094-2100, 2008.
For more on acrylamide and cancer risk from French fries:
Cancer Risk From French Fries
And check out my other videos on carcinogens.
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