Acrylamide is a genotoxic and carcinogenic substance, capable of causing DNA mutations, and therefore increasing the risk of cancer. It is naturally formed during cooking, but you can follow a series of tips to avoid it: this is all you should do in the kitchen to preserve your health.
Starting from 11 April 2018, cooks, pastry chefs and industries will be forced to reduce acrylamide levels in their products to comply with the 2017/2158 Regulation (EU), which will come into force on that date. Acrylamide is a genotoxic and carcinogenic substance, capable of causing DNA mutations, increasing the risk of cancer. It can naturally form during the cooking of starchy products containing sugars and the amino acid asparagine such as potatoes, cereals, coffee, bread, pizza, biscuits and rusks. In particular, acrylamide develops especially when frying, baking or grilling, or anyway whenever the cooking temperature exceeds 120 degrees. Here are some tips to minimize the formation of this substance during cooking.
Recommendations for reducing the formation of acrylamide
To reduce the formation of acrylamide, blanch the potatoes in water and vinegar – When you cook potatoes, it is necessary to boil them for 6-8 minutes in water and vinegar and then continue frying or baking them because the acidic environment slows down the formation of acrylamide. It is also advisable to use baking paper to prevent them from burning when in contact with the pan.
To reduce the formation of acrylamide, use refined flours – Rye flour and wholemeal flour tend to produce higher quantities of acrylamide and it is therefore advisable to use refined flours available in herbal medicine shops or pharmacies that also contain other fibers such as bamboo or inulin. In doing so, you don’t have to give up to foods rich in fibers.
To reduce the formation of acrylamide, add green tea to breading – Food that are breaded and fried can easily increase the formation of cancerous substances during cooking. To minimize the risks, 3% green tea leaves can be added to the breadcrumbs to reduce acrylamide formation by 50%.
To reduce the formation of acrylamide, use rye flour during cooking – Adding rye and buckwheat flour, nutmeg, fennel, anise and cloves is a very good method to reduce the formation of acrylamide. It is a compound able to counteract its development by about 20%.
To reduce the formation of acrylamide, prefer long-rising foods – The yeasts feed on the sugars that form as a result of the scission of the starch from the flour and, if you want to eat healthy, you'd better prefer long leavening foods. This reduces the amount of reducing sugars that form acrylamide.