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How Many Toxins Are in Your Potato Chips?

January 20, 2007 | 19,436 views


Acrylamide is a dangerous chemical present in foods such as french fries, potato chips, breakfast cereals, cookies and crackers.

But it's difficult to determine exactly how much of the chemical, which is a natural byproduct of cooking starchy food at high temperature, is present in any given food.

High levels of acrylamide in food were first reported in 2002, and, currently, little is known about how acrylamide forms, exactly how it affects people or what to do about it.

No manufacturers provide information on how much acrylamide is present in their products, and the most recent FDA data is more than two years old.

Studies have shown that acrylamide causes cancer in lab mice and rats. The federal limit for acrylamide in drinking water is .5 parts per billion, or about .12 micrograms in an eight-ounce glass of water. However, a six-ounce serving of french fries can contain 60 micrograms of acrylamide.



Dr. Mercola's Comments:

In case you were curious about your specific brand of chips you might want to review an article I previously ran on the Five Worst Brands of Potato Chips.

The recent story linked above began when a woman became interested in knowing how much acrylamide was in her brand of potato chips after searches on the FDA's Web site came up empty. When she asked the manufacturer, she was told to provide a letter from her doctor first.

That was a bad move by the potato chip producer, considering the woman's father-in-law works for the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Her inquiry was responsible, in part, for launching a CSPI inquiry into the acrylamide levels of 30 products.

No surprise, the FDA claims it is researching the problem, but doesn't believe "additional sampling will improve our exposure assessment significantly." Also blurring the argument in the eyes of federal regulators: French fry samples from seven different McDonald's restaurants yielded varying amounts of acrylamide.

It is universally agreed that acrylamide causes cancer, although no one is certain exactly how much of the chemical represents a dangerous dose.

The presence of acrylamide and other currently unrecognized toxins are good reasons why you should avoid processed foods as often as possible. Ideally, more than half of the foods you eat should be raw.

Knowing it takes time to make a change like that, you can get a good start by avoiding foods that have no nutritional value, like fries, chips, sugary soft drinks and doughnuts.

Folks, there is simply no justification for eating chips or fries. If they give them to you for "free" with your lunch you can always ask for a healthier substitute. If that isn't possible then order the item without the chips or fries.

On Vital Votes, reader Tom from Grandview, Ohio notes:

"Hmmm ... without even being aware of it, I gave up eating acrylamide about three years ago. Although I really used to enjoy snacking on acrylamide, I really don't miss it that much.

"Good heavens! Even without the acrylamide those 'foods' are toxic as hell! Yet people still eat them because they taste so good. I believe most people would knowingly eat lead-based paint chips if they tasted good."

Other responses to this article can be viewed at Vital Votes, and you can add your own thoughts or vote on comments by first registering at Vital Votes.



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