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JohnC

Brown Toast, Crispy Roast Potatoes and Cakes

If you have seen the news today, all of the above are a risk to your health and may cause cancer. Apparently heating root vegetable or bread products excessively or at least excessively enough to make them brown creates the problem when acrylamide is produced.

So, is this going to change your diet or are you going to do what my manager said to me this morning: "I'd rather eat what I like and be dead by 75 than graze on celery and be miserable to 90"
Bob Sacamano

Unless you know the your risk of cancer by not eating these foods and the risk afterwards then these reports are meaningless.

If 50% of us will suffer from cancer in the future and eating these foods will increase it to 51 or 52% then I wouldn't worry. If it increases our chances to 75% then I would take notice.
PhilD

You could just turn your toaster down.
Grampa

I don't care for burnt food anyway.
Frank Bullitt

PhilD wrote:
You could just turn your toaster down.


Agreed, ignoring whether you think it's good or bad advice I can't imagine why you'd want to eat bunt toast or black roast spuds.

Easily solved.
Twelfth Monkey

I like my food well-cooked and I'm a bread-loving veggie, so I'm fucked, then...

But will be taking this with more than a metaphorical pinch of salt, for the basic reason that Bob outlines.  Robert Matthews in Focus wrote an excellent piece a few months ago about the sort of statistic that tends to push science stories into the headlines section...

Periodically, everything seems to undergo a health revision, and I'll dance to my own (by and large pretty healthy) tune.
Bob Sacamano

I toast brown wholemeal so I'm doubly fucked.
Twelfth Monkey

Me too, it's chuffing lovely.

From the Grauniad:

How big a cancer risk are we talking about?

According to Emma Shields, health information officer at Cancer Research UK, it’s simply too soon to say, while the FSA say they would not describe the risk as significant. “It’s a ‘probably’, not a definite,” says Shields of the warnings of the cancer risk from acrylamide. “Evidence from animal studies has shown that acrylamide can potentially interact with the DNA in our cells so therefore could cause damage and go on to cause cancer, but when we look at studies in humans we can’t see a clear and consistent link.” The guidelines from the FSA are based on estimates of risks to humans drawn from analyses of animal studies. “We are not saying to people to worry about the occasional piece of food or meal that’s overcooked. This is about managing risk across your lifetime,” says FSA director of policy Steve Wearne.

Are there other issues with acrylamide?

In a 2015 report into acrylamide, the FSA noted that exposure to the chemical has also been linked to damage to the nervous and reproductive systems. But the risk assessment concluded that, “at the levels we are exposed to from food, acrylamide could be increasing the risk of cancer but not effects on the nervous and reproductive systems.”



I strongly suspect that there are significantly greater risks in most people's diets.  Meh.
Chip Butty

To be clear - are we talking burnt or crispy ?

A crispy roastie is not burned.

There is no way on earth you can isolate all of the other variables and set a base line in order to prove that a crispy potato consumption has a direct increase on your cancer risk.
Twelfth Monkey

If the risk won't be quantified beyond 'probably not significant', I doubt you'll get an answer to that one.

A non-crisp roast spud is just a warm potato.  Ditto a jacket that's soggy.  Ugh.
Bob Sacamano

Chip Butty wrote:
To be clear - are we talking burnt or crispy ?

A crispy roastie is not burned.

There is no way on earth you can isolate all of the other variables and set a base line in order to prove that a crispy potato consumption has a direct increase on your cancer risk.


The simplest thing would be keep a pet rat and feed it everything you eat. If it croaks before the natural lifespan of a rat is up (no idea) then you stop eating roast potatoes.

I can see a run on rats from local pet shops when this gets out.
Twelfth Monkey

And it look like the Maillard reaction that is in question also happens in chocolate, malted alcoholic beverages (beer, whisky), peanuts, bagels, French fries and...roasted coffee beans.

Good job I don't like coffee...
Scouse

Being deaf in one ear, needing glasses all the time now, arthritis everywhere and already having cancer, I couldn't give a flying about this type of 'research'. Even without the cancer I still wouldn't give a flying fuck about this type of shit. They just seem to trying to take all the joy out of life.
Twelfth Monkey

I bet Donald Trump causes cancer.
Stuntman

Twelfth Monkey wrote:
I bet Donald Trump causes cancer.


He causes the best cancer.  Everybody says so.  I trust him on that one.
PG

Twelfth Monkey wrote:
..A non-crisp roast spud is just a warm potato...


I heard the FSA chap on R4 this morning and he said that the recommendation was to cook roasties for 45 minutes maximum at a lower temperature. That deffo sounds like a half cooked roasie to me.

I guess if you eat roast potaties, burnt toast and crispy everything every day, your theoretical risk may be higher. But FFS, the additional risk v other risks, like smoking, obesity or a bad diet overall is hardly headline material.
Bob Sacamano

PG wrote:
Twelfth Monkey wrote:
..A non-crisp roast spud is just a warm potato...


I heard the FSA chap on R4 this morning and he said that the recommendation was to cook roasties for 45 minutes maximum at a lower temperature. That deffo sounds like a half cooked roasie to me.
l.


If you toss them in polenta flour you get all the crunch without having to over roast them.

I par boil the potatoes for a few minutes before draining them, giving them a good shake to break up the edges a bit, few glugs of olive oil, and then sprinkle over the polenta flour, and into a nice hot oven.
Big Blue

Sister in law (doctor that originally studied as a chemist) has been telling W2.0 that burned food causes cancer since about 1999 by all accounts. What's suddenly dragged this to the fore?

I had slightly burned toast yesterday. I think the amount of dairy products I eat (the melted cheddar on top of the toast) and the likelihood of a coronary failure are more important for me when changing diet.
PhilD

We just need a bit of an acrylamidisation period and we'll be ok.
Stuntman

Big Blue wrote:
Sister in law (doctor that originally studied as a chemist) has been telling W2.0 that burned food causes cancer since about 1999 by all accounts. What's suddenly dragged this to the fore?


Exactly.  Not new news at all.  I've been aware of this since about 2002 (working for a food company at the time, there were a few products that we didn't develop/companies we wouldn't acquire because of the acrylamide risk or perceived risk).
Clunes

Definitely old news

I remember at Uni - around 2000 - this made the headlines specifically regarding burnt bread.

I distinctly remember being in a restaurant and overhearing an older couple (in their 60's/70's) sending their garlic bread back not simply because it was charred around the edge but that it was a cause of cancer.  I resisted the urge to point out that at their stage of life it would make no difference and that they were almost guaranteed cancer of some description if they lived much longer anyway.

So, old news and, like others, am wondering why it's been dragged up again and why this research was being funded again!
Racing Teatray

Big Blue wrote:
Sister in law (doctor that originally studied as a chemist) has been telling W2.0 that burned food causes cancer since about 1999 by all accounts. What's suddenly dragged this to the fore?


Yes, my wife also won't tolerate any food which is even remotely scorched on the grounds that the black bits are carcinogenic. Toast in our house looks like crunchy bread. Perhaps there is just more awareness of this in continental Europe.

Good thing I don't like my food well-cooked as a rule (particularly red meat, which needs to be rare or at very least medium-rare) and don't go a bundle on barbecued food or things like crackling.
Twelfth Monkey

Another point: the statement in the post I copied across describes the risk in other animals, and does a very poor job, scientifically-speaking, of substantiating any sort of conclusion.  It then fails to consider that humans alone cook their food, and have been doing for tens of thousands of years.  We have at least started to evolve to eat cooked food, and our comparatively small teeth and jaws are evidence of this.  It's this sort of poorly-supported headline that makes people distrust science, when they should be concentrating on distrusting (or should that be mistrusting?) journalists and politicians.

I remember the stories from the past, too.  I believe that they used to refer to the burning of toast as 'caramelisation' or somesuch.
Skyhook

At times like these, I always find it comforting to read the A to Z of thingies that the Daily Mail has claimed at various times give you cancer.

http://www.anorak.co.uk/288298/ke...give-you-cancer-from-a-to-z.html/

"Being a man"
"Being a woman"
And "Radioactivity" being particular favourites.

Be careful out there.
Chris M Wanted a V-10

Strange that "reading the Daily Mail" isn't on the list
Mike Amos

These studies go in cycles, chocolate is good for you one minute and bad for you the next.  I believe the releases are to promote research funding and bugger all else.  How many news flashes suggest a new drug or breakthrough and then nothing.

Everything in moderation is about the only thing I think about health/food/drink wise now because otherwise my meals would change on a daily basis and my food waste levels would increase hugely.

Having lost more than ten inches from my waist/gut since October 20th would tend to suggest my diet is not too bad but then again having no hob or oven MAY have something to do with that, according to statistics perhaps.

I have changed toilet paper brand, perhaps that is the secret, seeing as they usually suggest alteration is the key.
Twelfth Monkey

If you've lost ten inches from your waist in just over three months, I'd be heading to a doctor pronto!

Funnily enough, that's about what I've shifted, but it's taken something like six years.
PhilD

10cm would be pretty good going!
Blarno

There is a sign on a tree near me that says:

"Does silica dust cause cancer? Do you want to find out?"

Some farmer protesting about a potential silica mine. I'm very tempted to nail up an alternative sign on the next tree that says:

"Do spurious roadside warnings cause cancer?"

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