Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 14
A chemical produced in high heat cooked foods called acrylamide is a neurotoxin with serious health concerns. Because fried potato chips are the richest source of acrylamide, you probably don't want fries with that.
Acrylamide is produced when starchy foods such as potatoes and flour are baked, fried, deep-fired or microwaved. Perhaps not surprisingly potato chips and crisps have the highest acrylamide level of any food. Boiling or steaming, on the other hand, does not produce acrylamide.
Although some believe that the relatively low levels of acrylamide people are exposed to through diet (0.03– 0.07 mg per kg body weight per day) is not reason for concern because it is below a level considered safe (0.5 mg per kg body weight per day), neurotoxicologists beg to differ.
While we may not consume enough acrylamide in a single meal to have an acute and obvious neurotoxic effect, low-level exposure is still reason to worry. Indeed, studies have found that the same toxic effects of acrylamide observed after high-doses are also seen with low-doses; it’s just that toxicity occurs after a longer period of time.
“In today's rapidly developing world, food consumption has evolved toward packaged foods that offer little nutritional value, such as fried potato chips, one of the most routinely and commonly consumed unhealthy foods containing the highest levels of acrylamide” point out a research group that have been studying the adverse effects of dietary acrylamide, especially potato chips. “Frequent consumption of fried potato chips might overload the body with acrylamide through its accumulation within the tissues thus contributing to the onset of diseases.”
Acrylamide serves as a stark reminder that deep-fried and industrially cooked foods can be toxic. So “detox” your diet from acrylamide by avoiding foods cooked in a factory or deep fryer, and instead enjoy plenty of raw food and return to traditional home cooking methods such as slow cooking, soups, stewing, and steaming.
Erkekoglu P, Baydar T. Acrylamide neurotoxicity. Nutr Neurosci. 2014 Feb;17(2):49-57.
Ouhtit A, Al-Sharbati M, Gupta I, Al-Farsi Y. Potato chips and childhood: What does the science say? A hidden silent killer? Nutrition. 2014 Feb 15. pii: S0899-9007(14)00074-4. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.01.008. [Epub ahead of print]
Lopachin RM, Gavin T, Barber DS. Type-2 alkenes mediate synaptotoxicity in neurodegenerative diseases. Neurotoxicology. 2008 Sep;29(5):871-82.
Shamla L, Nisha P. Acrylamide in deep-fried snacks of India. Food Addit Contam Part B Surveill. 2014 Sep;7(3):220-5