If you've never heard of acrylamide, you'd better get familiar with the term. And it is that several studies have shown that this substance could increase the risk of contracting cancer and cause other damages to the nervous and reproductive system.
This "solid, crystalline, colorless and odorless" substance can react violently when melted. And when heated "it can emit penetrating vapors," as the official website of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) points out.
The worrying thing is that acrylamide is found in many of the foods we eat daily. According to a study by The Grocery Manufacturers Association, this substance is found in 40 percent of the calories that are consumed on average in the United States.
According to Lauren Robin, an FDA chemistry, acrylamide can be found primarily in foods based on plant-based foods (or foods rich in carbohydrates) that are exposed to high-temperature processes.
In other words, fried foods and baked foods are the most risky. As well as those that are grilled. Among the foods that could present this substance, are potatoes, coffee, cookies, cereals, breads, among others.
Why is this information important? Some scientists have found that high levels of acrylamide can cause cancer in animals and are likely to do so in humans as well, as indicated by US health authorities.
Hence, it is recommended that if frozen foods, such as potato chips, are to be fried, the manufacturers' instructions regarding the time and temperature required are followed, preventing them from becoming too fried.
Another indication is to avoid toasting a bread until it is completely black. It is recommended that you spend less time in the toaster. It is also advisable not to leave the potatoes in the refrigerator, but to store them in a dark and warm place.