Acrylamide is an organic compound chemical found in many vegetables and foods. Its actions have been associated with neurological diseases or cancer triggers. However, it has not been possible to establish a clear connection between some types of cancer and acrylamide to date.
In this FastlyHealarticle, we delve into this topic to publicize which foods contain acrylamide, what effects it can have, and what measures can be taken to reduce its impact; since today, some alarm has been raised about this component and the way it can affect our health.
What is acrylamide
Acrylamide is a substance that is naturally found in carbohydrate-rich foods such as potatoes. It is also a compound used in the manufacture of plastics, packaging, and dyes. It is even used as an additive in treating white, black, and drinking water.
The risk of acrylamide occurs from the breakdown of amino acids. This can occur during the cooking of foods that contain it or by the natural decomposition of some fruits or vegetables. In the latter case, said substance provides a bitter taste to the food.
Other products that contain acrylamide and pose a health risk are cigarette smoke and the containing polymers of this substance. Studies have detected a higher concentration of acrylamide in people exposed to tobacco smoke than those who maintain a diet rich in foods that contain this substance.
Acrylamide and toxicity: How does it originate?
Acrylamide becomes a hazard due to a chemical reaction known as the Maillard reaction. Some amino acids in food, especially asparagine, are broken down by the sugars in carbohydrates. This causes the release of acrylamide that is housed in the body.
This reaction occurs when the food is subjected to high temperatures above 100 ° C . Which is generally associated with cooking temperatures, be it baking, frying, or roasting.
Maillard’s reaction is who makes food appear toasted or crunchy. Including its characteristic taste and smell. It is precisely in this condition where there is a more significant presence of acrylamide. A crispy crust on toasted bread represents a high risk of concentration of this substance.
List of foods with acrylamide
In principle, foods rich in carbohydrates represent the most significant risk. Some of these foods that contain acrylamide are:
- Toasted bread.
- Wild asparagus.
- Fried bread.
- Fried peanuts.
- Homemade candy.
This is due to the temperatures used for their cooking, giving them the appetizing appearance that each one has. On the other hand, we can find drinks that include acrylamide, for example, the:
- Plum juice
In processed foods, the following stand out:
- Grilled meat.
- Breaded foods.
In general, foods with a dark or toasted appearance are associated with the presence of acrylamide. At some point in their preparation process, they were subjected to high temperatures.
How to avoid acrylamide in food
Although we have explained that acrylamide owes its presence to a natural food reaction, some measures can be considered. The main thing is to include healthier eating habits and ditch heavily processed foods.
Some of the measures that can be implemented are:
- Reduce cooking times to control the level of browning.
- Find out about the measures implemented in drinking water treatment plants and choose whether to drink tap water or opt for bottled water.
In the case of cooking French fries, one of the main foods that contain acrylamide, the following recommendations could be followed:
- Do not store potatoes in the refrigerator or refrigerator.
- Blanch them before cooking. This consists of immersing them in boiling water before frying.
- Fry and dry the potatoes in the oven.
Does acrylamide cause cancer?
As we mentioned at the beginning, there are no detailed studies that indicate that the formation of a type of cancer is due to the concentration of acrylamide. It is very complex to measure the amount of this substance in the body.
Although practices with animals directly exposed to acrylamide resulted in some relationships with cancer, in people, it is different. Instead, this substance is mainly linked to neurological diseases. Hence, in some countries, they have implemented acrylamide exposure controls in the case of factories.
In this vein, the food industry has also had to guarantee a low acrylamide concentration in its meals. Many North America and Europe have decided to review this substance as a ” possible carcinogen ” despite not having consistent evidence of its effects.
If you want more information about acrylamide and its effects on the body, we will explain it to you in the following article: Does eating burnt toast cause cancer?
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.