Are your french fries giving you cancer?

We love our french fries
Source: wikimedia commons

When I first arrived to Australia, I noticed that people here eat French fries with almost everything. Don’t get me wrong, they are yummy. We all love them. This article broke my heart. Not only fries but also the coffee that u take everyday has acrylamide too. Our favorite foods are infiltrated with this dangerous compound.

Acrylamide was accidentally discovered in 2002 in Sweden. It is a potential carcinogen. It is formed in foods that require high temperature exposure like baking, roasting and frying. It is usually found in fried starchy foods like fries, potato chips (basically all food we take during our stressful exam periods) It has also been found in dried fruits like pears, prunes, black olives, etc. Acrylamide due to smoking has three times more affect on our body than through foods.

Apart from being a carcinogen it can also cause neuropathy and affects fertility. It can cause irritability and redness of the skin. Some researchers associate alzheimer’s disease risk to the intake of acrylamide. Acrylamide causes nerve cell damage which can be the reason for neurodegenerative disorders like the alzheimers. Chronic intake of foods with acrylamide can cause chromosomal aberrations and sister chromatid exchanges.

Don’t we all love our coffee art?
Source: wikimedia commons

How exactly does acrylamide affect your body? After entering the body, acrylamide binds to Glutathione (GST), which is an antioxidant. It targets the GST in organs like liver, kidney, brain and erythrocytes. Liver is three times more prone to acrylamide binding. FDA has realized the ill effects of this compound and has released several measures to control its consumption. They have published various research articles about the detection and analysis of acrylamide in foods and are launching various awareness programs. More information can be found in this article

Biotechnology is making a contribution to the control of this compound by improving agricultural practices. The amino acid Asparagine, is the precursor to Acrylamide. Researchers are trying to reduce asparagine levels in plants by manipulating the genes responsible for asparagine production in plants thus, reducing the acrylamide levels. The acrylamide levels in foods are not very lethal but over intake of it increases risks of cancer. Having a planned healthy diet with less intake of fried foods may be one way to do this. A pointer to people who love French fries anyway, soaking potatoes in water before frying reduces the level of acrylamide. This article explains it all

2 Responses to “Are your french fries giving you cancer?”

  1. Neha Patil says:

    Well we all know the statistics of cancer. So that risk + the cancer risk coffee gives, the math looks bad.
    I think the acrylamide is pretty much it in increasing cancer risk.

  2. Tina Hosseini says:

    OMG! This is terrible terrible news! Its what we love eating, and it what we always seem to be feeding little kids! What other factors are associated with the consumption of french fries and the increased cancer risk? Are some people more susceptible? Its crazy how often coffee and hot chips are consumed though – and to think that the risk may be extremely high!