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What’s Really In Potato Chips?

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As a general rule, the chemical is formed when food is heated enough to produce a fairly dry and brown/yellow surface. Hence, it can be found in:

  • Potatoes: chips, French fries and other roasted or fried potato foods
  • Grains: bread crust, toast, crisp bread, roasted breakfast cereals and various processed snacks
  • Coffee; roasted coffee beans and ground coffee powder. Surprisingly, coffee substitutes based on chicory actually contain 2-3 times more acrylamide than real coffee

How Much Acrylamide Are You Consuming?

The federal limit for acrylamide in drinking water is 0.5 parts per billion, or about 0.12 micrograms in an eight-ounce glass of water. However, a six-ounce serving of French fries can contain 60 micrograms of acrylamide, or about five hundred times over the allowable limit.

Similarly, potato chips are notoriously high in this dangerous chemical. So high, in fact, that in 2005 the state of California actually sued potato chip makers for failing to warn California consumers about the health risks of acrylamide in their products. A settlement was reached in 2008 when Frito-Lay and several other potato chip makers agreed to reduce the acrylamide levels in their chips to 275 parts per billion (ppb) by 2011, which is low enough to avoid needing a cancer warning label.

The 2005 report “How Potato Chips Stack Up: Levels of Cancer-Causing Acrylamide in Popular Brands of Potato Chips,” issued by the California-based Environmental Law Foundation (ELF), spelled out the dangers of this popular snack. Their analysis found that all potato chip products tested exceeded the legal limit of acrylamide by a minimum of 39 times, and as much as 910 times! Some of the worst offenders at that time included:

  • Cape Cod Robust Russet: 910 times the legal limit of acrylamide
  • Kettle Chips (lightly salted): 505 times
  • Kettle Chips (honey dijon): 495 times
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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, Health, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Dr. Mercola

Dr. Mercola has been passionate about health and technology for most of his life. As a doctor of osteopathic medicine, he treated many thousands of patients for over 20 years. In the mid 90ís he integrated his passion for natural health with modern technology via the internet and developed a website, to spread the word about natural ways to achieve optimal health.


+ add your own
11:47AM PDT on Aug 19, 2015

Thank you Dr.

11:39AM PDT on Jun 22, 2015

Thank you Dr.

6:11AM PST on Feb 12, 2014

very good article,thank you

2:22PM PST on Dec 11, 2012

too many pages to read, yes chips are bad, but there's more to life than quantity.....there has to be a balance and if someone wants to include a respectable amount of potato chips for quality I won't lecture if they are way overweight, diabetic, hyperlipidemic, atherosclerotic I will discuss with them better choices.....

3:07AM PDT on May 31, 2012

"I am an ignorant potato chip eater and refuse to pay attention to this article."

This. Also, I don't eat Pringles anymore, only chips made of actual potatoes.

7:02AM PST on Feb 5, 2012

Is this just for the pringles types? or our regular, tasty type?

12:20PM PST on Jan 23, 2012


11:58PM PST on Jan 8, 2012

Interesting artilce!

9:44AM PST on Dec 28, 2011

Hmm. Isn't basically everything bad for you? I'll try to cut back on potato chips and French fries, but that's mainly because I want to eat healthier.

6:18AM PST on Dec 18, 2011

Basically, anything cooked contains carcinogens, as do a number of raw foods, such as peanuts with aflatoxin. You CANNOT live on our planet and not be exposed to carcinogens.

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