Monday, December 3, 2007

'Burned foods' linked to cancers

.....that was the headline on the BBC.

Women who eat crisps or chips every day may double their chances of ovarian or womb cancer, say scientists. The fears surround acrylamides, chemicals produced when you fry, grill or roast a wide range of foods. Dutch researchers quizzed 120,000 people on their eating habits, and found that women who ate more acrylamide appeared more at risk. UK experts say other factors could be to blame, and urged women there was not need to panic.

Actually, from what I can see the problem is not in " a wide range of foods ". Acrylamides only seem to derive from carbohydrates. There is an article about them here.

An EU spokesman said: "General advice, resulting from this project, is to avoid overcooking when baking, frying or toasting carbohydrate-rich foods.
Of course, as with any piece of scientific research, things are not always as straightforward as the headlines suggest.

Dr Lesley Walker, from Cancer Research UK said that it was hard to be sure that the extra cancers were due to just acrylamides, rather than some other unhealthy component of the women's diets.
As ever, the NHS choices site has a good dissection of the research too in the article Over-cooked food and cancer.

Research of this type can warn that particular chemicals need further investigation, but there are so many thousands of chemicals in the diet, that it is difficult to untangle direct associations between individual chemicals in food, and the observation of an increase in a condition such as cancer. This is especially true when the intake of acrylamide may be a more general marker of an unhealthy diet.

Well, OK, but for me this is another reason at least to consider limiting carbs.....

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