Thursday, April 03, 2008

Carcinogenic cereals

The favourite breakfast of me and my family, namely muesli and cereals with oats, just got a hard accusation by recent research: Oats contain the carcinogenic compound acrylamide. It is not a natural occuring substance in oats, but the processing of the oats to increase shelftime to the standard of approximately one year, includes heating to high temperatures which causes the acrylamide formation.

The good news is, cereals and oatmeal are not the worst offenders in this case. The top acrylamide-rich foods are french fries and potato chips. However, it is estimated that 25% of the average consumer daily intake of acrylamide is from coffee consumption. You may also be unwittingly generating acrylamide in your own preparation of foods. Be careful not to overfry your potatoes, leave them nice and golden instead of dark brown or burnt.

Read more:
Politiken covers the oatmeal story (in Danish)
Survey data on acrylamide in food by US FDA
Top twenty acrylamide-rich foods by Dr Ben Kim

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