Thursday, 17 January 2008


What's acrylamide? Well, it's not something I can knit with, even though it sounds like acrylic.

Acrylamide is a toxin that has been found in certain foods. It seems that animal studies (and I will save my strong opinions against animal testing for another day) found that acrylamide is a carcinogen.

I just googled it and found articles about it from Health Canada and the FDA - link 1 here and link 2 here.

It seems that when a starchy plant food, like potatoes for example, is heated to a very high heat, this toxin is created. Foods like potato chips and french fries are at the top of the charts for this substance.

Those who watched SuperSize Me, the movie about a guy who ate exclusively at MacDonald's for a month and made himself really sick, I'm not just talking vomiting sick but dangerously ill, will have seen a man who claimed he'd eaten thousands of MacDonald's burgers and was quite thin and seemed healthy. BUT he never ate the fries. Maybe this was the secret to him not keeling over dead at the counter of his local MacDonald's. Maybe by avoiding the fries he was doing himself a big favour.

Anyway, back to acrylamide. There are varying amounts of it in many foods, baked or fried (oh look, another positive vote for the benefits of a raw food diet) and I have decided that I will not be buying any french fries, potato chips or tortilla (corn) chips from now on and will in fact avoid anything deep-fried.

Another consideration, if I needed reinforcement for this decision, is that we can't possibly know the state of the oil in which these things are fried. Just think of how many times it may have been used, reused, reused again.

I feel that if there was one thing we could all do to improve our chances for a long, healthful life, it would be to prepare our own meals from scratch. We cannot trust companies to keep out harmful additives and to care about the quality of what goes into our meals as much as we do. We may be able to read labels, but there are many things that get into our packaged food that isn't on that label, whether it's animal feces, oil from machinery, hair from a factory worker's head, or a million other things that can cause harm but don't have to be disclosed on the label.

Slow food rocks!

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