Filed Under: Snacks

Acrylamide, acrylamide everywhere, and not a crumb to eat

If you’re taking a survivalist approach to the recent news about acrylamide — that mysterious, “potentially carcinogenic” by-product of cooking breads, potatoes, and other starches — you might want to steer clear of vegetables for awhile.

The Guardian reported in Great Britain on Thursday that the Swedish scientist who first broke the acrylamide story has found that “vegetables — not part of the original tests — are producing acrylamide at high levels, too. Frying spinach produces 112 micrograms per kilogram [twice the amount found in bread and breakfast cereals], and fried beetroot produces one of the highest levels — 890.” The head of Sweden’s National Food Administration thinks this perplexing result may be related to what happens to dietary sugars when they’re cooked.

On June 27, Center for Science in the Public Interest president Michael Jacobson warned consumers that “There has long been reason for Americans to eat less greasy French fries and snack chips. Acrylamide is yet another reason to eat less of those foods.” But what about sautéed veggies, jams, jellies, tomato sauce, and apple pie? These are all foods whose preparation, according to the Swedes’ latest findings, could involve heretofore unknown caches of lurking acrylamide! Will a jam sandwich or a plate of spaghetti give you cancer?

Relax. Even the World Health Organization, considered by some to be a rubber-stamping body for “progressive” food policy, considers the available scientific evidence “inadequate to estimate cancer risk posed by acrylamide in the diet.”

Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for CSPI to issue stern warnings about carcinogens in spinach and beets.

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