Skip to comments.Fried food can mutate your genes, study finds
Posted on 06/19/2003 6:20:22 AM PDT by LRS
News in Science
News in Science 19/06/2003 Fried food can mutate your genes, study finds
[This is the print version of story http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s882801.htm]
Acrylamides, found in some fried and baked foods, can cause genetic damage
Acrylamides, cancer-causing agents recently found in some fried and baked foods, can damage the DNA by causing a spectrum of mutations, researchers have reported.
Swedish scientists triggered a furore in 2000 when they reported that acrylamides, used in industrial processes, can be found in a range of baked and fried foods.
The chemicals seem to be formed by exposing high-carbohydrate foods to high temperatures in baking and frying; the chemicals can cause cancer in laboratory animals, but have never been linked to human cancer.
Ahmad Besaratinia and Gerd Pfeifer of the City of Hope National Medical Centre in Duarte, California found that acrylamides can mutate DNA, the genetic blueprint found inside living cells.
Cells exposed to acrylamide had more adducts - specific types of mutations in the DNA - than untreated cells, they reported in this week's issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
They noted that they treated mouse cells only, not human cells. They said the best way to find out if acrylamide causes cancer in people is to do epidemiological studies - look at data across populations to see if people who eat more foods containing acrylamides have higher rates of cancer.
One such study, published by U.S. and Swedish researchers in January, found no link between acrylamide consumption and the risk of bladder or kidney cancer.
Dr Fredrik Granath, a biostatistician at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and Associate Professor Margareta Tornqvist of Stockholm University in Sweden - considered experts in acrylamides - said the risk to any one person from eating acrylamides is small, and they would not recommend changing nutritional guidelines.
"However, the situation for vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women and children, should always be carefully considered," they wrote in a commentary on the work, also published in the journal.
A U.S. lobby group, the Centre for Science in the Public Interest, is lobbying for limits on acrylamide in food. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has tested baby food, cereals, biscuits, crackers, infant formulas and other foods and found the levels of acrylamides vary greatly.
Dr. Atkins was a genius.
..and you wouldn't like me when my genes are mutated.
Yeah, they can't wait to get their GREASY fingers on the booty from their anti-capitalism lawsuits. Feeding time!
They noted that they treated mouse cells only, not human cells.
Just don't feed any fried foods to your mice, or the ASPCA will have to hear about it!
The only genetic changes from eating fried foods is a permanent southern accent and a tendency to refer to NASCAR stock cars as "whiskey cars".
"In the Public Interest" is newspeak for "You will do what I tell you is good for you."
Posted On August 19, 2002
The Guardian reported in Great Britain on Thursday that the Swedish scientist who first broke the acrylamide story has found that vegetables -- not part of the original tests -- are producing acrylamide at high levels, too. Frying spinach produces 112 micrograms per kilogram [twice the amount found in bread and breakfast cereals], and fried beetroot produces one of the highest levels -- 890. The head of Swedens National Food Administration thinks this perplexing result may be related to what happens to dietary sugars when theyre cooked.
On June 27, Center for Science in the Public Interest president Michael Jacobson warned consumers that There has long been reason for Americans to eat less greasy French fries and snack chips. Acrylamide is yet another reason to eat less of those foods. But what about sautéed veggies, jams, jellies, tomato sauce, and apple pie? These are all foods whose preparation, according to the Swedes latest findings, could involve heretofore unknown caches of lurking acrylamide! Will a jam sandwich or a plate of spaghetti give you cancer?
Relax. Even the World Health Organization, considered by some to be a rubber-stamping body for progressive food policy, considers the available scientific evidence inadequate to estimate cancer risk posed by acrylamide in the diet.
Meanwhile, were still waiting for CSPI to issue stern warnings about carcinogens in spinach and beets.
Posted On June 5, 2003
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) counsels Americans: "Don't change your diet" over Acrylamide worries. The Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter writes that we've probably been consuming Acrylamide for centuries, "with the human life span only getting longer during that time." And the journal Nature first suggested in 2002 that human beings may be immune to Acrylamide's allegedly carcinogenic effects anyway.
None of this seems to matter to CSPI, whose "experts" are always eager to push Americans toward irrationally fearing their food. CSPI's über-food-nanny Michael Jacobson raised needless Acrylamide alarms last year, and claimed a few months ago (without any proof) that the chemical causes "tens of thousands" of cancers among Canadians. CSPI even colluded with an "environmental" front group for California trial lawyers filing Acrylamide lawsuits against American restaurants and food producers.
Yesterday's CSPI press conference, then, shouldn't have surprised anyone. Jacobson corralled the press to declare that Acrylamide causes "8,900 cancers per year" among Americans, and announced that his group had filed a lengthy petition with the FDA, demanding that the agency force food manufacturers to lower the Acrylamide content of their products.
CSPI is calling for a new regulatory scheme that would force manufacturers within each food category (say, potato chips or freeze-dried coffee) to lower their Acrylamide levels to the product's national average. "The most-contaminated brands," Jacobson told reporters, "should certainly be able to get to the level of half of their competitors." But this seemingly innocuous plea only tells half the story.
In CSPI's actual petition, the group asks the FDA to continuously lower the legal threshold each time the food producers at the top end of the Acrylamide spectrum change their ways. "Thus," the petition demands, "with each iteration the interim acceptable level will fall." And, we might add, American food companies will have to spend more and more money to meet an ever-changing standard for a substance that no one can prove is harmful to humans.
Other highlights from CSPI's petition that didn't make it into the press release:
Perhaps the most glaring flaw in CSPI's petition, however, comes at the very end -- where Michael Jacobson signed his name to certify (as the FDA requires) that his petition "includes representative data and information known to the petitioner that are unfavorable to the petition."
Oops. Jacobson apparently forgot to mention the wealth of science that contradicts his rash position -- to say nothing of the evidence that vegetables like beets and spinach are also Acrylamide-heavy. But spinach and beet farmers don't make easy targets the way Fortune 500 companies do, so we can't expect CSPI to take issue with their offerings.
It's not a faint but distinct odor you're smelling, it's more like an overpowering, nauseating stench.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.