List of Foods Containing Acrylamide
Article by Diet Bites
How Acrylamide Forms, Health Risks
Amid high temperatures during the cooking phase - whether frying or baking is involved, acrylamide is a chemical which can form. Chiefly, plant-based foods are susceptible to acrylamide formation.
The FDA reports that 40% of the calories consumed in the average American daily diet contains acrylamide.
This chemical was only discovered by scientists in April 2002, so we're still learning about the potential health risks associated with such. We do know that acrylamide causes cancer in animals when exposed to high doses; this data is based on a 2010 report in which the FDA participated.
This chemical forms via sugar and an amino acid which is natural present in food - whether the food is prepared at home, in a restaurant or commercially produced.
It forms at very low levels in dairy foods, meats and fish - and with some foods within these Food Groups, it may not form at all. It is more likely to accumulate amid longer cooking times or when food is cooked at higher temperatures.
This chemical is also produced industrially for the manufacturing of plastics, grouts, water treatment products and cosmetics. It is also found in cigarette smoke.
Foods Containing Highest Amount of Acrylamides
The FDA identified the following 10 foods in ranked order which contribute the most acrylamide to the American diet: French fries that are restaurant prepared, French fries that are oven-baked, potato chips, breakfast cereals, cookies, brewed coffee, toast, pies and cakes, crackers, and soft non-toasted breads.
The major foods contributing to total exposure for most countries: French fries, potato chips, coffee, pastry, sweet cookies, breads and toast.
The levels of acrylamide can vary significantly. For example, it may be totally undetectable in some cereal-based and grain-based products - such as untoasted bread and mashed potatoes, yet the content may rise to exceed 5,000 microg/kg in a cereal grain product - such as a grain-based coffee substitute. The levels can also greatly vary within individual food types. For example, the FDA reports that in their evaluation of potato chip studies, acrylamide content varied from nearly 120 microg/kg to over 1,200 microg/kg.
Potatoes Top the List for Acrylamide Content
Potato-based foods such as chips, crackers, French fries, baked and roasted potatoes, are ideal recipes for creating acrylamide formations. The list also includes sweet potatoes, which are currently all the current rage at many fast food restaurants in fried form.
To combat the formation of acrylamide accumulation resist storing potatoes in your refrigerator. Instead, store in a cool and dark place to prolong life. In addition, if you must fry potatoes - the lighter they appear, the better. The more they brown, the higher the acrylamide content.
Coffee, Cocoa, Chestnuts & Other Roasted Nuts
Foods which are roasted, such as coffee beans and cocoa beans will have a significant amount of acrylamide. Opt for a lighter roast over a darker roast when purchasing coffee to reduce accumulation.
In addition, coffee and cocoa are both high-acid-forming foods based on pH values once they go through the metabolic process. High-acidic foods should be balanced with alkaline-forming foods, such as 100% fruit juices to assist the body in keeping in balance.
Breads and crackers with a golden brown color. For example, toast. The darker the bread is toasted, the more acrylamide it will contain. Pretzel bread - including pretzels, are high in this chemical due to their dark-brown color.
Think about cooking methods which produce the most intense amount of heat and the following pop to mind: broiling, roasting and grilling. It's quite easy to overcook the exterior of proteins amid these cooking methods which will increase the acrylamide content. However, cooking for longer periods of times at decreased heat will also serve to increase the accumulation of acrylamides.
Tips for Decreasing Acrylamide in the Daily Diet
1. Avoid frying foods which causes acrylamide formation. Heavy crisping or over-baking of foods will intensify the accumulation of this chemical.
2. When toasting bread, toast to a light stage and avoid eating darker areas which may have become over-toasted.
3. Avoid over-cooking potatoes. Think 'light' rather than 'brown'.
4. Avoid storing potatoes in the refrigerator.
List of Foods Containing Acrylamide
Keep in mind that the hotter the temperature, the higher the potential for an increase in acrylamides. When frying, roasting or baking, don't overcook. Fries should be light in color, not brown to combat formation of this potentially harmful chemical. Baked or roasted items should be cooked to safe consumption levels, but not overdone.