Acrylamide is a food toxin generated by over-heating.
From wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrylamide)
Acrylamide (or acrylic amide) is a chemical compound with the chemical formula C3H5NO. Its IUPAC name is prop-2-enamide. It is a white odourless crystalline solid, soluble in water, ethanol, ether, and chloroform. Acrylamide decomposes in the presence of acids, bases, oxidizing agents, iron, and iron salts. It decomposes non-thermally to form ammonia, and thermal decomposition produces carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and oxides of nitrogen.
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Some evidence suggests exposure to large doses can cause damage to the male reproductive glands. Direct exposure to pure acrylamide by inhalation, skin absorption, or eye contact irritates the exposed mucous membranes, e.g., the sinuses, and can also cause sweating, urinary incontinence, nausea, myalgia, speech disorders, numbness, paresthesia, and weakened legs and hands. In addition, the acrylamide monomer is a potent neurotoxin, causing the disassembly or rearrangement of intermediate filaments. Ingested acrylamide is metabolised to a chemically reactive epoxide, glycidamide.
where they state
Acrylamide can form in many foods cooked or processed at temperatures above 212°F (100°C), but carbohydrate-rich foods are the most vulnerable to this heat-induced byproduct. As a general rule, the chemical is formed when food is heated enough to produce a fairly dry and “browned” surface. Hence, it can be found in:
- Potatoes: chips, French fries and other roasted or fried potato foods
- Grains: bread crust, toast, crisp bread, roasted breakfast cereals and various processed snacks
- Coffee; roasted coffee beans and ground coffee powder. Surprisingly, coffee substitutes based on chicory actually contains 2-3 times more acrylamide than real coffee
Acrylamide is not the only hazard associated with heat-processed foods, however. The three-year long EU project known as Heat-Generated Food Toxicants1 (HEATOX), identified more than 800 heat-induced compounds in food, 52 of which are potential carcinogens… For example, the high heat of grilling reacts with proteins in red meat, poultry, and fish, creating heterocyclic amines, which have also been linked to cancer.
Humans are not the only victims here. As discussed by holistic veterinarian Dr. Barbara Royal, pet foods also contain acrylamide and heterocyclic amines, courtesy of commercial pet food processing methods.
- 1 Heat-Generated Food Toxicants (HEATOX)
- 2 Mutation Research 1988; 195(1):45–77
- 3 Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev November 2007 16; 2304
- 4 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry July 17, 2002
- 5 SF Gate August 2, 2008
- 6 Environmental Law Foundation June 2005, How Potato Chips Stack Up: Levels of Cancer-Causing Acrylamide in Popular Brands of Potato Chips (PDF)
- 7 U.S. FDA, Survey Data on Acrylamide in Food, December 2002, Updated July 2006
- 8 The HEATOX Project, Heat-generated Food Toxicants, Identification, Characterization and Risk Minimization (PDF)