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Don't Burn Your Toast: It May Increase Your Risk Of Cancer

First Posted: Nov 16, 2015 02:59 PM EST
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When bread and potatoes are cooked at high heats, these foods run the risk of containing high-levels of acrylamide--a cancer causing chemical that forms in the process.

The crispier the potato or toast, the higher the carcinogen present, according to the Food Standards Agency. This is a toxin formed from a reaction among amino acids, sugars and water in bread and potato when heated above 120C, researchers say.

During their research, the study authors looked at samples from 50 households and measured the amount of acrylamide in home-cooked food in a laboratory. They discovered that none of the participants were aware of the dangers of cooking potatoes and bread over a prolonged period.

Researchers warn that potatoes and bread should be cooked or toasted until they are just a light golden brown and never dark or very crispy. 
"The risk assessment indicates that at the levels we are exposed to from food, acrylamide could be increasing the risk of cancer," FSA's chief scientific adviser Guy Poppy, said via The Telegraph.

Researchers discovered that chips cooked in the longest duration during the study had 1,052 micrograms of acrylamide per kilogram. The numbers is said to be 50 times higher than a batch that's less crunchy. On the other hand, roasted potatoes cooked at the highest temperature and with the most crispy texuture had 940 micrograms of acrylamide per kilogram--which was 80 times higher than the batch of lightest-colored potatoes. 

Toast that was cooked to a "dark brown" had a 19 times higher risk than bread that was lightly toasted while the palest-colored toast only had 9 micrograms per kilogram of acrylamide, according to researchers. 

At this time, researchers have not yet been able to determine the safe levels acrylamide. The current regulatory limit is 0.1 micrograms per liter in drinking water; this is significantly lower than what's found in most cooked foods.

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