When you bake, fry, or roast any starchy food — whether potatoes, bread, French fries, crackers, cereals, or cookies — you will inevitably create acrylamide. It is important to learn to eat healthy without baking or frying foods. Read on.
Note: Aldehydes and peroxides are also produced by frying foods and are carcinogens. Likewise, these should be avoided as much as possible.
Browning is the problem, as food browns during frying or baking, you are watching acrylamide being produced. Heavily overcooking foods produces large amounts of acrylamide, as does microwaving.
In July of 2006, the United States Food and Drug Administration released the results of its latest research on the acrylamide content of common foods.
The top 20 foods by average acrylamide intake by the U.S. population are as follows:
- French Fries (made in restaurants)
- French Fries (oven baked)
- Potato Chips
- Breakfast Cereals
- Brewed Coffee
- Pies and Cakes
- Soft Bread
- Chile con Carne
- Corn Snacks
- Peanut Butter (made from roasted peanuts)
- Breaded Chicken
- Soup Mix
What’s The Healthy Alternative?
The only way to eliminate acrylamide from your diet is to eat exclusively raw, steamed, and/or boiled foods. You see, acrylamide cannot be created by boiling. And very few uncooked foods contain detectable amounts. Baking and frying a high percentage of your foods can lead to problems even if the food starts out as quality foods.
Salads, soups and stews are the best way to eat nutrient dense foods. However, you’d have to avoid all baked foods. If that’s not realistic for you, here are some practical steps to reducing acrylamide formation in your food:
- Toast bread to the lightest color possible.
- When cooking your food: steam it, boil it, or make soups and stews.
- Avoid using the microwave, especially when cooking starchy foods.(Never use is the best advice here)
- Don’t eat fried and processed foods.
- Ask restaurants to serve you hummus, falafels, or beans on a bed of Romaine lettuce, instead of wrapping them in a sandwich, bagel, or burrito.
- Replace bread by wrapping your sandwiches in the fresh leaves of collard greens, chard, Napa Cabbage, or bok choy.
Special Note: Cigarette smoke is also a major source of acrylamide as is coffee.