Acrylamide Foods to Avoid and The Best Secrets
Do you like your food cooked within an inch of its life?
Then you need to keep reading about Acrylamide Foods to Avoid.
I’m not just referring to steak, either.
I’m talking dark brown toast, crunchy fries, grilled kebabs black on the edges and mush in the middle.
Many people like their food cooked “well-done”.
Recently, I was revisiting the benefits of going raw, as knowledge on such topics grows quickly in the Internet Age.
That’s when I came across something called acrylamiden.
I had heard of this before, but for whatever reason, it didn’t quite stick with me.
Another side effect of the Internet Age is that there seems to be info explaining the downside of everything.
I’m not even sure I believed acrylamide was harmful!
I thought to myself: Hmmm.
Surely it’s just another hyped-up “natural remedy” that’s sweeping the net with no real proof?
Those were my exact thoughts...
...but then I started doing some research.
It turns out that I definitely believe it now.
Now, it’s my mission to ensure that you get this info and know it’s the truth.
Most importantly, I want you to remember these secrets the next time you crank up the heat.
Today, we’re talking about the production of acrylamide, acrylamide foods to avoid, and simple techniques to prevent it from forming.
What Is Acrylamide?
Acrylamide is a white, odorless, water soluble chemical compound.
It’s found in food, and is used in industry to create a polymer.
It is essential to making polyacrylamide.
Polyacrylamide has a wide variety of uses, from water treatment and paper making, to genetic engineering and soil conditioning.
It’s even in cosmetics, adhesives, caulking, and disposable packaging.
While polyacrylamide is nontoxic, acrylamide is not.
I know that’s a lot to take in, but bear with me…
The trouble is...
...it doesn’t form some infinite bond in the polyacrylamide; it can separate.
Therefore, regulations are in place limiting the amount of acrylamide that a manufacturer can use to form the polyacrylamide.
Then, we have acrylamide in food.
Like many other toxic variables in existence, production of it doesn’t require a laboratory.
That’s right, toxic agents like this can form naturally from certain plant foods.
Yet, as we know, things like arsenic are natural as well, plentiful in the Earth’s crust.
Though the risk of being poisoned is very low, it’s another reason we avoid many pits and seeds.
In order for many naturally toxic elements to become harmful, a reaction must occur.
This reaction is what releases or increases the toxicity of what we ingest. So now, enter the Maillard reaction.
...the Maillard reaction is a scientific explanation for what happens when you cook something until it’s brown.
The interaction of amino acids and sugars under high temperatures might be the most common chemical reaction we can identify.
It’s what happens when you pan-crust ravioli, caramelize an onion, sear the steak.
We associate the Maillard reaction with favorable flavors, aromas, and appearances.
Asparagine is a non-essential amino acid, and the sugars necessary to produce a Maillard reaction are carbohydrates.
When they get together under hot conditions, they produce acrylamide.
In some cases, they don’t even need the sugar.
The release of it can occur through the oxidation of fats as well.
As we’ll learn later...
...food processing can ensure that both methods of creating acrylamide take place.
This can lead to an abnormally high amount in certain foods.
And what exactly does that mean for us?
How Harmful is Acrylamide?
Government organizations describe acrylamide as a probable carcinogen - a substance that increases your risk of getting cancer.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings about acrylamide.
They’ve even gone so far as to publish a comprehensive acrylamide in foods list (source).
The World Health Organization has additionally shown concern over acrylamide.
In the European Union, acrylamide levels are subject to ever-stricter monitoring.
Why don’t we know more about this?
Why aren’t stricter rules in place to control levels in packaged foods and products?
It all comes down to the available science.
Currently, our best evidence that it’s a true carcinogen comes from animal studies.
Rats who drink water with acrylamide have a higher risk of getting a range of cancers.
They also experience side effects such as paralysis, neuropathy, and bladder dilation.
One important note here.
These rats take up to 10,000 times more of the substance than humans eat in food.
Additionally, there are no human studies which confirm that it causes cancer in humans.
The effects of this on our cancer risk may differ greatly from a rat’s due to our natural ability to detoxify.
We can convert acrylamide into a byproduct called glycidamide, which we eliminate naturally with more ease.
Furthermore, when either of these bond with glutathione, an antioxidant, we eliminate the toxins.
In fact, studies suggest that if we have the glutathione, acrylamide will bind to it for elimination without becoming glycidamide.
There are a few conclusions to draw from this info.
One is that further study is absolutely necessary to determine exactly how it may relate to our high cancer rates.
The other is that while we probably don’t carry the same risks as a lab rat, we should absolutely limit it.
An absence of solid human evidence does not mean it’s safe.
Especially when you couple it with agency warnings and general available information.
Surprisingly, there is no big correlation between the amount of asparagine and the amount of acrylamide a food can yield.
That is to say...
A lot of asparagine doesn’t guarantee a lot of acrylamide.
On the other hand, a little asparagine can create plenty of acrylamide.
Here are acrylamide foods to avoid that have shown high levels - regardless of asparagine content.
1. French Fries and Potato Chips
Among all risky acrylamide foods, potatoes top the list. Not just any potato, but fried potatoes.
In fact, on that FDA list I referenced earlier, you can see that French fries are the worst offender.
Even worse is the fact that levels found in French fries from the same chain vary from location to location.
Bags of frozen fries you buy at the grocery store and bake at a reasonable temp?
Still plenty of acrylamide.
Potato chips don’t fare much better.
The most popular brands we buy can have just as much as French fries from McDonalds.
Remember earlier, I told you how acrylamide production can happen a few different ways.
There’s sugar plus carbs plus heat, and then there’s the oxidation of fats.
In this case, fat would be hydrogenated oils used for frying.
French fries and potato chips meet all of the conditions for both methods to occur.
This is why they’re the highest.
If we buy ground coffee, it’s easy for us to forget that coffee beans start out tender and green.
We roast them to get the depth of flavor we want, which also gives them their rich brown color.
Unfortunately... another side effect of roasting is significant acrylamide production.
Still, it’s entirely possible to enjoy a cup with lower, less potentially harmful levels.
Just don’t follow others’ so-called secrets, which involve buying a lighter roast.
What's that you say?
Here’s the big secret…
When it comes to coffee specifically, the darker roast - Shop now at Amazon.com is actually better.
Lighter roasts have more because the beans were done earlier in the reaction. It retains all of the acrylamide that was produced.
Darker roasts are, obviously, roasted longer, to a much higher internal temperature.
Therefore, the acrylamide that forms early in the process has the chance to break down.
Amazing, isn’t it?
The same doesn’t necessarily apply to food, as a lot of foods would be inedible after cooking at these temps.
This is the acrylamide food that truly shocked me.
Not because I wouldn’t expect that baked goods wouldn’t have it.
Rather, the surprise is that it lurks in what we consider the healthiest part.
One Swedish study shows that most of the risk lies in the crust of the bread.
Adding further insult is the fact that whole grain breads have more than the fluffy white stuff.
Yes, that “healthy” bread has more acrylamide than heavily processed white bread that turns to glue in your digestive tract.
Are you surprised? Me too.
Stay with me now…
Because coming up...
...I’ll have some tips for getting around ingesting too much acrylamide from bread.
The bottom line seems to be that we should watch how many loaves we bring home from the store.
And sure, maybe cut those crusts off.
4. Cookies and Crackers
Like bread, crackers can contain tons of acrylamide.
Some brands will have very little.
Still, others can have as much as fast food French fries.
Again, these aren’t just saltines we’re talking about.
Crispbread, whole wheat crackers - our healthy options aren’t safe from acrylamide.
Some of these have the highest levels.
While, the little animal-shaped cheese crackers we can’t pry out of our kid’s hands have very little.
Ultimately, I really see no reason for you to never eat another cracker.
In the end, it’s just a good reminder that these should be occasional snacks, not daily filler for your diet.
Speaking of crunchy snacks...
Companies who produce and package them bake them at certain temps and times to get the right color.
Naturally, you may notice that most store-bought cookies are usually crispy.
This increases the potentially toxic content.
All told, the high-temp bake helps cookies and crackers account for more than 10% of the acrylamide we eat.
Now on to...
5. Breakfast Cereal
The wild card in all of this would be breakfast cereal.
Some brands, have almost none, while others contain a whopping 1,000 parts per billion!
That far exceeds most potato chips.
Despite the fact that many cereals don’t contain it, estimates say that cereal alone can make up 12% of dietary acrylamide.
Additionally, we know very well that cereals are a huge source of added sugar.
It’s just one more reason to consider eliminating them.
If you need that morning crunch, try a brand that has a good testing score - Shop now at Amazon.com.
Or, simply make the switch to oatmeal.
There are no types of oatmeal on the FDA list that contain it. Unless we’re talking oatmeal cookies, of course.
Secrets to Avoiding Acrylamide and Possible Damage from Acrylamide
Knowing what to avoid isn’t the only way to reduce acrylamide.
Here’s further advice for cutting it out of your life.
Final word on...
Acrylamide Foods to Avoid
While dietary acrylamide isn’t a bona fide human carcinogen, it’s certainly cause for concern.
At first, reading up on topics like this can make you wary of everything you eat.
It seems to further the notion that eating healthy is complicated.
It reinforces the basic principles of a healthier lifestyle!
I want to know what you make of all this. Do you just love burnt toast?
Do you think an occasional bag of potato chips is still totally worth it?
Leave your thoughts below, and I’ll be back before you know it with more.