That's right, one of your breakfast staples may be posing a dangerous threat to your health. A new report from the British government's food safety watchdog says that eating too much toast can cause cancer. Don't eat toast? Don't get too comfortable -- the report doesn't just throw shade at toast, it also takes aim at coffee, fries and baked goods!
The Food Standards Agency blames the link on acrylamide, a toxin that is formed when carbohydrates are subjected to high temperatures.
“Regularly eating foods high in acrylamide can increase the risk of cancer,” the report states.
Acrylamide is a natural by-product of the cooking process and is formed when starchy foods are cooked at temperatures above 248 degrees. Foods are likely to have higher levels of acrylamide if they are cooked for longer periods at high temperatures. The toxin can also be found in foods that are grilled or roasted.
During their research, the Food Standards Agency took food samples from 50 households and measured their acrylamide levels. What they found was that even the palest piece of toast contained nine micrograms per kilogram of acrylamide, while the darkest piece had 167. Fries made those levels look like child's play coming in at 1,052 micrograms per kilogram of acrylamide!
“Many foods and food groups have the potential to form acrylamide on cooking,” Guy Poppy, chief scientific advisor to the Food Standards Agency, who wrote the paper, says. “You should not roast at too high a temperature or for too long to keep the levels lower.”
[bctt tweet="Study Says Your Favourite Breakfast Side Might Be Linked To Cancer"]
Dale Shepard, MD, PhD, a medical oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic, is skeptical of these findings. “We don’t really know that this causes cancer,” he says. “There are things out there that we’re far more aware of, like smoking and obesity.”
Shepard does say that while there is a possible link between eating foods that contain acrylamide and cancer, it has yet to be proven. “What we know is this: If you take cells and you put this compound with the cells, it has the ability to change DNA,” he says. “What we don’t know is whether that happens in people, since our bodies have the ability to get rid of toxins.”
Associate professor of medicine at the Harvard School of Public Health, Andrew Chan, MD, shares Shepard's opinion. "There are probable carcinogens in our environment at various levels and, for the most part, the levels of those carcinogens are so small that it’s difficult to be able to attribute any real sense of cancer risk to them,” he says. "In theory, it’s possible that there could be some increase in risk, but I think it’s very early to know whether some routine cooking practices are going to be able to increase someone’s risk of cancer.”
Until we know for sure, Shepard says you can minimize your risk by avoiding burnt food -- no more 'blackened' foods, and limiting the amount of starchy, high-sugar foods you consume.
Interesting report. Is it enough to make you stay away from French fries once and for all?
Source: Yahoo! Health