Is Burnt Toast Giving You Cancer?

Is Burnt Toast Giving You Cancer?
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Find out why burnt toast and roasted potatoes may be causing cancer.

• Health: Food & Nutrition • Health: Medical

The idea that starchy foods cooked at high temperatures causing cancer isn't all that new. In fact, there is quite a bit of evidence that dates back to a 2002 study on animals. In that study there is a proven link between between acrylamide and cancer in mice.

Acrylamide is a compound that make bread, potatoes, and other starchy foods turn brown when they are toasted, roasted, baked, or fried. It's formed when simple sugars react to an asparagine, an amino acid found naturally in starchy food, when cooked at high temperatures.

Basically, it's what makes those starchy foods taste so good. And it may be killing us. Maybe. The more food cooks and turns black (as it gets burnt), the higher the levels of acrylamide that will be created.

According to the Food Standards Agency in the UK, it's possible that this blackened food with high levels of acrylamide may be a cause for cancer in humans. Considering the proof they have of it causing cancer in animals, it seems like sound advice to avoid eating burnt foods. Better safe than sorry, right? The Food Standards Agency has even gone as far as launching a new campaign that they call "Go For Gold" which refers to cooking your food until a golden color rather than dark brown or black.

Of course, many scientists and nutritionists will also point out that there are many risk factors when it comes to cancer (see Bladder Cancer). It's thought that Alcohol Causes Cancer and I think we all know that smoking causes cancer (yet so many still do it). Proper eating in general is a big one (see Are Processed Foods Bad For Your Health?) but forget the diets and instead go with An Alternative To Dieting. Be sure you're Choosing A Diet Of The Healthiest Vegetables, learn about the Health Benefits Of Exercise as well as the Health Benefits Of Weight Loss, and read up on the Top 8 Health Benefits Of Water. Ready for a healthier life? Read A Healthy Lifestyle - Where Do You Start?

And be sure to note that this new warning isn't suggesting that you stop eating toast and potatoes. It's about reducing your exposure to acrylamide, something even the US Food and Drug Administration has been suggesting for years. One easy way is to boil foods like potatoes, which doesn't produce any acrylamide. If you are toasting, roasting, baking, or frying then use the color of the food as your gauge and Go For Gold as they say.