Acrylamide: The Killer in Your Kitchen

January 1st, 2008 by Tonya Zavasta

AcrylamideThere’s nothing like a good old-fashioned home-cooked meal…That friendly, familiar saying is as venerable as home itself as warm and welcoming as June Cleaver hefting a big ol’ pot-roast for Wally and Ward and the Beaver. And infinitely more deadly.

People are dying daily at the hand of a silent killer. That killer is acrylamide, a cancer-causing chemical found in heat-processed food. Yes, all those good parents, prepping and serving those good old home-cooked meals…are putting themselves and their families at risk without knowing it.

What is Acrylamide?

Acrylamide is a carcinogen formed by a chemical reaction in which amino acids react with sugars when food is heated to more than 120º C. One of the major markers of that temperature: food begins to brown. (You’ll find that very instruction—Just brown ‘n’ serve—on packaging right in your supermarket frozen foods case. A warning if ever there were one!) Acrylamide also forms from the amino acid asparagine and reducing sugars such as glucose and fructose, found aplenty in plants such as potatoes and cereals. Acrylamide is a most dangerous chemical that people ingest more than they realize.

What Foods Contain Acrylamide?

Acrylamide abounds in food ranging from olives, pizza, and beer to baby foods and even green tea, according to data from 17 countries published in February 2005 by the World Health Organization. Between 10 and 20 per cent of our exposure is thought to come from pastries and cookies, while in some countries, up to 39 percent of exposure comes from drinking coffee.

One article in New Scientist magazine reports that scientists have spent over 10 million dollars researching the issue! Why does the simplest and the most obvious answer escape them? If cooking produces this dangerous chemical, stop cooking. (If banging your head against a wall hurts…)

No Cooking=No Acrylamide

You’ll find acrylamide in heat-processed food. But it does not appear to be present in uncooked food. The National Food Administration, the European Commission, and other international organizations agree—the discovery of acrylamide in foodstuffs has become a global concern. They are looking for ways to reduce the risks to public health. These are all good intentions. How about just eliminating cooking altogether?

Stop cooking your food! Raw plant food retains a life essence that cannot be nurtured in artificial forms such as processed foods or vitamin pills. Raw vegan food will make you healthier, younger and better looking.

Steaming and Boiling?

How about steaming and boiling? Processing at temperatures below 120º C does avoid producing acrylamide in food. But other vital nutrients don’t fare so well. One recent study dealing with various ways of cooking broccoli concluded that broccoli loses from 10 % (steaming) to 97 % (microwave) of major antioxidant compounds like flavonoids, which are found in many fruits and vegetables and are thought to reduce risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. These are the very substances which have been associated with slowing the effects of aging, reducing the risk of heart disease, preventing Alzheimer’s disease, Type II diabetes and cancer. If every form of cooking depletes nutrients then the solution is simple: No cooking—period—is the healthiest!

Next time you step near your stove, think about this: During cooking you are not only killing nutrients in your food, you are putting the health of your loved ones at risk as well. And there’s another practical benefit as well…You’ll never have to clean your oven again!

Your Right to Be BeautifulTo learn more about the benefits of raw foods, check out my first book: Your Right to Be Beautiful: Miracle of Raw Foods.

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