Organic Consumers Association

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French-Fried Acrylamide: Primary Hazard of Processed Foods

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page and our Appetite For a Change page.

Approximately 90 percent of the money Americans spend on food is spent on processed foods, and food marketers do a masterful job at making it seem like fast foods and junk foods are the obvious choice.

Some even manage to make you believe such foods are a healthy option. But not only are these processed foods "dead" and devoid of any natural nutrition, they can also be loaded with potentially carcinogenic substances.

Just over a decade ago, researchers discovered that a cancer-causing and potentially neurotoxic chemical called acrylamide is created when carbohydrate-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures, whether baked, fried, roasted, grilled or toasted.

The chemical is formed from a reaction between sugars and an amino acid (asparagine) during high-temperature cooking. The answer, of course, is to limit or eliminate processed foods and increase the amount of whole, raw foods in your diet. I typically aim for 80-85 percent raw food in my own diet.

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