French Fries Linked to Cancer
March 3rd, 2011
By: Ethan A. Huff
When potato products are fried in oil at high temperatures, they produce a chemical called acrylamide that can cause cancer. And a new study in the British Journal of Cancer adds to the mounting evidence against the chemical, showing that acrylamide is associated with a 20 percent increased risk of breast cancer in pre-menopausal women.
Back in July, a study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment found that women with the highest intake of acrylamide were 31 percent more likely to develop ER+ breast cancer, 47 percent more likely to develop PR+ breast cancer, and 43 percent more likely to develop ER+PR+ breast cancer, compared to women who consumed the least or no acrylamide.
In 2009, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that acrylamide intake caused an increase in oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, increased inflammation markers in antioxidants, which would otherwise remove acrylamide, and other neurological damage.
And in 2008, a study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology found that women who eat roughly one serving of potato chips a day are twice as likely as those who do not to develop ovarian or endometrial cancers.
Fried potatoes are not the only foods that contain acrylamide, though. Any starchy foods that are cooked too long or at too high a temperature can form acrylamide, including even grilled meats and vegetables with grill marks on them. Toasted breads and cereals, baked foods, browned meats, and even some dried fruits also contain acrylamide.
“Consumers can reduce their exposure to acrylamide by limiting their intake of potato chips and French fries…and quitting smoking, which is a major source of acrylamide,” said Mary Ann Johnson, PhD, a spokesperson at the American Society for Nutrition.