Monday, July 23, 2012

Study Finds Possible Health Risk in Certain Cooked Food

ScienceDaily (Feb. 26, 2009) reports on a new study from Poland published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Marek Naruszewicz and colleagues followed participants who ingested acrylamide foods. The results suggested acrylamide, found particularly high in potato chips and French fries, may increase the risk of heart disease. Acrylamide has already been implicated as a carcinogen and neurotoxin. Participants in the study included in their diet large amounts of potato chips providing about 157 micrograms of acrylamide daily for four weeks. Upon conclusion of the study, adverse changes were seen in oxidized LDL, inflammatory markers and antioxidants, which would help the body eliminate acrylamide - all of which may increase the risk of heart disease. Acrylamide is a chemical that can form in certain foods during high-temperature cooking methods such as frying, roasting and baking. Also, it can form at high temperatures when cooking time is longer. Boiling and steaming do not produce the chemical. It does not form, or forms at lower levels, in dairy, meat, and fish products. It does not come from food packaging or the environment. The amino acid asparagine combines with sugars that are naturally present in the food to produce this chemical. It`s found mainly in plants, such as potato products, grain products, or coffee. Additional research is needed in long-term studies of people consuming typical amounts of acrylamide (averaging about 20 to 30 micrograms). The article suggests that the FDA and the food industry continue to decrease acrylamide in foods by improving food processing technologies. Mary Ann Johnson, PhD, a spokesperson for the American Society for Nutrition, commented: "Consumers can reduce their exposure to acrylamide by limiting their intake of potato chips and French fries, choosing a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low fat meat and dairy products, and quitting smoking, which is a major source of acrylamide." In potato-based foods, cooking even at a moderate temperature of 120 degrees Celsius begins the process of acrylamide formation. A more recent study, however, in the journal Science of Food and Agriculture, shows that pre-soaking potatoes in water before frying can reduce levels of acrylamide. Dr. Rachel Burch from Leatherhead Food International in the UK said: "There has been much research done by the food industry looking at reducing acrylamide in products but less so on foods cooked at home and we wanted to explore ways of reducing the level of acrylamide in home cooking." Their research found that washing raw French fries, soaking them for 30 minutes and soaking them for 2 hours reduced the formation of acrylamide by up to 23% and 48% respectfully but only if they were fried to a lighter colour. It is still a toss up on chips that are fried to a deep, dark brown color. Let`s not forget the other aspect of frying potato chips or any other food. When a molecule of oil is overheated, a free radical is formed. Skip the chips and use veggies in dips. Source -

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