Scientists: Overdone Fries and Toasts May Cause Cancer

To fry or not to fry? That is the question. Or, rather, hot to fry and cook properly, in a good way, in order to lower the risk of getting serious health issues.

To fry or not to fry? That is the question. Or, rather, hot to fry and cook properly, in a good way, in order to lower the risk of getting serious health issues.

Cancer has not been a big problem up until very recently. Inability to diagnose it as well as much shorter lifetime humanity had in earlier centuries. Nowadays, however, it is one of the most common causes of death around the world. Therefore a question arises: how do we minimize our risks of developing cancer eventually? Along with some other things, one of the major issues to pay attention to is our diet.


During the latest years researchers have been discovering new dangers that commonly consumed foods might pose if cooked of eaten in a ‘wrong’ way. On Monday, January 23rd, British researchers from the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) announced that cooking of fries and toasts at high temperatures for long amounts of time results into creation of a by-product called acrylamide that, as it has been found out during studies on animals, increases the risk of cancer.

The carcinogenic nature of acrylamide was first discovered by Swedish scientists back in 2002. Even though no research on humans has been conducted yet, there is a scientific consensus that this substance can act the same way when it comes to us, too. World Health Organization has defined acrylamide as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’.

To raise awareness of people the FSA has launched a ‘Go for Gold’ campaign that aims at encouraging people to change the way they cook so that acrylamide consumption in their families would reduce. The name of the campaign refers to the color that fried, baked or roasted food should be if cooked properly.

Steve Wearne, Director of Policy at the Food Standards Agency, commented: ‘Our research indicates that the majority of people are not aware that acrylamide exists, or that they might be able to reduce their personal intake. We want our ‘Go for Gold’ campaign to highlight the issue so that consumers know how to make the small changes that may reduce their acrylamide consumption whilst still eating plenty of starchy carbohydrates and vegetables as recommended in government healthy eating advice.’


FSA urges people to carefully examine cooking instructions in order to not overdo the foods. These instructions, they state, are designed to cook in a correct way. So, if one follows them, it will definitely make the cooked product healthier due to impossibility of dangerous amounts of acrylamide to form at optimal temperatures.

Moreover, FSA recommends to not keep potatoes in the fridge, as overall acrylamide levels may increase in this case. The official Agency’s announcement claims that potatoes should be stored at a dark cool place at the temperature not lower than 6°C.

Of course, there is no need to panic and completely exclude either of the aforementioned foods from one’s table. But it is recommendable to pay closer attention to the amounts of those foods in a diet as well as the way they are cooked and the degree they are fried. If one is eating overdone fries or toasts daily or a few times a week, eventually this may have a negative impact on one’s health.

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