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The Chemical That’s Found in 40% of Your Food and Poses a Cancer Risk

The Chemical That’s Found in 40% of Your Food and Poses a Cancer Risk

Ever since scientists first found acrylamide in food in 2002, concerns about its dangerous effects have grown — specifically, it’s been linked to an increased risk of cancer.

The primary use of acrylamide is in certain industries, such as paper and plastic, food packaging and dyes. But according to  the Grocery Manufacturers Association, acrylamide is also found in about 40 percent of the calories consumed in a standard American diet.

According to the American Cancer Society, exposure to high levels of acrylamide at the workplace has been shown to cause nerve damage, leading to numbness and weakness in the arms and legs.

Long-term studies on the cancer-causing effects of this chemical are yet to be done, but the National Toxicology Program clearly states that acrylamide can be “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”

How to Avoid Acrylamide

Where does acrylamide lurk in your food? Here is a list, and some simple ways to cut down on your intake of this potentially harmful chemical:

Potato products, grain products and coffee are seen to contain higher concentrations of acrylamide.

Cigarette smoke also contains acrylamide. Yet another reason to kick the stick.

Overcooked French fries: if you must eat them, cook them to a golden yellow color, and not brown. The “crispier” the fries, the more acrylamide they likely contain.

Overdone toast: Light brown toast has less acrylamide than dark brown or nearly burnt toast.

Potatoes that have been refrigerated. The FDA recommends storing them in a cool, dark pantry instead.

Fried, roasted and baked foods that have been heated to more than 248 degrees Fahrenheit: these have more acrylamide than steamed and boiled foods. In fact, any food that has been cooked too long and browned too much contains higher levels of acrylamide.

Learn more about accrylamide here, so you can find ways to protect yourself and your family from its harmful effects.


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Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman's book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).


+ add your own
10:49AM PDT on Aug 4, 2014

I like my french fries to have a CRUNCH.

7:12AM PDT on May 25, 2014

It seems pretty hard to bake anything under
°248…isn't the "standard", °350?. Yikes! We're all doomed.

9:21PM PDT on May 11, 2014

Thank you!

9:31PM PDT on May 10, 2014

Thank you!

1:30AM PDT on May 10, 2014


2:34AM PDT on May 8, 2014

Thank you :)

11:28AM PDT on May 6, 2014


9:40PM PDT on May 5, 2014

Thank you!

9:39PM PDT on May 5, 2014

Thank you!

4:16PM PDT on May 5, 2014

I like things dark and crispy...meh. TYFS, this was helpful.

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