Researching today’s post took a turn right from the start. When I started, my intent was to write about the number one worst food in America! But what I found was acrylamide!

Still wondering what the worst food in America is?

No surprise. Processed meats. Right next to it, a picture of a hot dog.

However, as I stumbled upon the list of top 6 worst foods, I noticed #2. Potato Chips and French Fries.

I’m not a lover of potato chips, but I have been known to enjoy some French fries.

As I read the information provided, I came across a word – acrylamide. What in the world is that?

A chemical I’m sure.

I needed to know more

What is its purpose? Where did it come from?

The answer was a little startling. The chemical if you will, develops in the cooking process due to high temperatures.

What is worse, according to the original report the chemical is linked to hundreds of cancers. The level of acrylamide, 300 times higher than the EPA allowance in water.

My curiosity was peaked. Could I be mistaken? Didn’t the last report just say it was caused from high temperature cooking?

I don’t know how you like to drink water, but I take mine on ice.

Very curious.

Here’s what I could find.

The Truth about Acrylamide

First and foremost, let’s define the word itself

                Acrylamide – A colorless crystalline solid that readily forms water-soluble polymers.

Okay. What is polymers and why is it in my food?

Much to my surprise there were good and bad points. I’m not sure why, but I really thought I was going to be inundated with a list of reasons this chemical should never be ingested.

However, that certainly wasn’t the case.

First and foremost, while researching, I didn’t find this chemical caused cancer. At least not in humans. There are studies on animals in which very high doses do cause cancer. BUT there was no link to cancer in humans. In fact, a study has never been done on humans.

The second bit of good information – we can detox this chemical from our bodies. The process is simple enough… eat vegetables.


According to, acrylamide can be detoxed by:

Once ingested, acrylamide can be detoxified in the body if it is processed through our cytochrome P450 enzyme system and converted into glycidamide, or if it is hooked together with the sulfur-containing, antioxidant molecule called glutathione. Even though our metabolic pathways can help us detoxify acrylamide, however, we can still overload the detox capability of these pathways and put ourselves at health risk from excess exposure to this substance. The fact that we have detox capacity, however, makes it very likely that we can help lower our risk of problems from acrylamide if we have kept plenty of glutathione on hand in our metabolic reserves. One way to help support our glutathione supplies is to consume plenty of sulfur-containing foods (like onions, garlic, and cruciferous vegetables), and especially foods that contain significant amounts of the amino acid cysteine. (Cysteine is one of the key components of glutathione.) Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, onions, garlic, and red peppers are plant foods that can provide higher-than-average amounts of this amino acid. Poultry, yogurt, and eggs are animal foods that have good concentrations of cysteine.”

The Ugly Truth about Acrylamide

As they say, there are two sides to every coin. This one is no different.

The silver lining? Control our intake.

Acrylamide is naturally present in uncooked foods. Raw foods contain very low, non-toxic levels.  During the cooking process (fried, roasted or baked). The formation occurs when food is cooked at high temperature (250F and above) for long periods of time.

For reasons unknown, this does not occur during the boiling process.

The recommended daily allowance of acrylamide is under 27 micrograms daily. According to, American’s are getting about 19% on average.

Keep in mind, a snack size bag of potato chips contains 28 micrograms. Therefore and adult, and certainly a child, is getting more than the daily recommended amount.

Statistical Average

An important point of notation, the above statistic is an average. Anyone eating additional foods items in the same category, are significantly taking in too high of acrylamide.

It’s important to mention increased intake of acrylamide. Right now, there is no direct correlation to cancer, but it doesn’t’ mean there never will be.

Detoxing Acrylamide from Your System

From the research it appears IF there is a link to cancer, it’s due to not eating properly. All research indicates that if acrylamide is not overly consumed, and there is an ample amount glutathione in our system, there is no reason to cut out some of the foods we love.

…Ahhh but the grease. It’s another story in and of itself!

Lastly, acrylamide is found in second hand smoke!! Not a food at all.

In Conclusion

I really enjoyed researching this article. I’m accustomed to hearing the negative impact, I initially thought,

“Here is another example of something I love – but shouldn’t eat.”

I’m so happy to see there are no definitive links to cancer in humans. Additionally in order to remain in the best health possible all we need to do is eat healthy foods.

I’m okay with that. Everything in moderation.


Additional Resources

The 6 Most Unhealthy Foods You Should Avoid at All Costs

Acrylamide Questions and Answers (U.S. Food & Drug)

The World’s Healthiest Foods

What food dangers concern you?
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