Finally We Know Why Cooking Grains Can Poison Your Food

Scientists in the UK may have uncovered the underlying origins of acrylamide, the carcinogenic substance formed when many grains are cooked at high temperatures, by taking a different approach: Determining how the chemicals that create it get into whole foods before they're prepared.

Based on various analyses of wheat, asparagines -- an amino acid that contributes, along with sugar, in the formation of acrylamide -- collect in higher concentrations in farms where sulphur is deficient, a problem around the globe.

Researchers tested their theory by growing wheat in similar conditions some with and others without sulphur. By comparison, wheat without sulphur contact that was milled and cooked contained almost five times as much acrylamide. What's more, the acrylamide content of other cooked products made from that same wheat sans sulphur was more than six times higher.

Things you can do today that will reduce your exposure to these cancer-causing chemicals:

Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Vol. 54, No. 23, November 15, 2006: 8951-8955

Nature.com November 23, 2006

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