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Health Risk of High Levels of Acrylamide in Food

Adapted from United Press International


U.S. health officials announced that high levels of acrylamide have been found to cause cancer in animals, and scientists say it is likely to cause cancer in humans.

Lauren Robin, a chemist with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said acrylamide is a chemical that can form in some foods - mainly plant-based foods - during high-temperature cooking such as frying and baking. These include potatoes, cereals, coffee, crackers or breads, dried fruits and many other foods.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association said acrylamide is found in 40 percent of the calories consumed in the average U.S. diet.

The FDA has been investigating the effects of acrylamide and posted a draft document with practical strategies to help growers, manufacturers and food service operators lower the amount of acrylamide found in food.

Acrylamide forms from sugars and an amino acid which are naturally present in food. It does not form in dairy, meat and fish products. Boiling and steaming foods do not typically form acrylamide.

Given the widespread presence of acrylamide in foods, it isn’t feasible to completely eliminate acrylamide from one’s diet.

Since it is possible that high levels of acrylamide may have an impact on health in general including one’s fertility potential, we recommend that our patients eliminate or minimize consumption of fried and baked foods.

Please see Optimize Your Fertility for additional lifestyle recommendations.

April 2014

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