French Fries Can Kill You In More Ways Than One
Everyone knows french fries are high in fat and low in nutrients. They’ve become a pariah of public health watch-dogs and an easy culprit in America’s obesity kerfluffle.
It turns out they have another health side-effect that’s less visible but slightly more sinister.
Acrylamide: A Dangerous Food Additive
When potatoes are cooked at high temperatures a compound called acrylamide is formed that does some loopy things to your body.
The chemical is used all the time in industrial settings, and it’s generally believed to be carcinogenic. Really, not all that different from lead.
It exists in trace amounts in raw potatoes, and its concentration generally goes up with cooking time and temperature. Acrylamide has recently been a target of bio-pharma companies, and industrially grown potatoes now have certain genes associated with acrylamide pre-cursors deactivated.
Acrylamide is generally believed to be a toxin. In various experiments, its been shown to have de-generative effects on your brain, reproductive system, and have cancer-inducing properties. However, it’s worth noting that only neuro-toxic effects have been confirmed in a study with humans. This paper showed that diet-induced acrylamide reduced fertility in male rats.
A few closing notes about acrylamide
1). All methods of heating increase acrylamide content, but heating with a microwave seems to have the smallest effect.