Yesterday, The Sacramento Bee published a nutrition quiz on a subject we haven’t seen much in a while: acrylamide. Acrylamide is a chemical generally produced during the process of frying, roasting, or baking vegetables. A few researchers have suggested that acrylamide could increase the human risk of cancer, which resulted in predictable activist-driven scaremongering about potato chips and coffee a few years back. All led, of course, by the ever-shrill Center for Science in the Public Interest.
But as the Bee’s quiz rightly notes, the average person could ingest six or seven times more acrylamide than he or she already typically does without much (if any) harm. Or, as we calculated previously, a person would have to eat 182 pounds of french fries every day for a lifetime in order to be in any real danger. In other words, it’s the dose that makes the poison.
For people who consume balanced diets, acrylamide isn’t likely to be a problem at all. But we have to wonder: Should groups that advocate plant-only diets that are heavy on veggies and starches (the phony-baloney PCRM comes to mind) start issuing disclaimers?