Are Liquid Vitamins Enough?
In our fast paced world, the population is eating a diet that accommodates the fast paced lifestyle. Fast food is easy and allows the working class to eat a meal in the convenient allotted hour.
Health professionals and advocates constantly preach the risks of this lifestyle. The repeated calorie and trans fat content warnings are on the minds of many even while these fried foods are consumed. Is the taste and convenience worth the health risk?
Acrylamide is a carcinogenic substance most are not familiar with. This carcinogenic substance unfortunately is present in the most popular fried foods. Acrylamide is present in foods prepared at high temperatures using methods such as frying, grilling, baking and broiling. A safe level of acrylamide was set by the Food Standards Agency at 10 ppb. French fries and potato chips can have up to 100 times this amount.
Using cooking oil alternatives isnít a remedy for high acrylamide levels either. Ironically, frying foods in polyunsaturated oils can add unhealthy trans fats to a diet. The polyunsaturated oils oxidize rapidly during the high temperature frying process becoming the harmful trans fats most are trying to avoid. If frying is the desired cooking method, the use of monounsaturated oils such as olive oil may be a better alternative.
Although antioxidants are not a combatant for high levels of acrylamide, antioxidants are still very important in the protections against free radical damage. The only real defense we have against acrylamide is to abstain from foods prepared at high temperatures. This is not easy and can become a complete lifestyle change. An alternative is to be much more careful when preparing foods of any kind. Burnt foods do not contain the nutrient content once abundant prior to preparation. Unfortunately, it contains high levels of the carcinogen, acrylamide.
Health professionals recommend the consumption of more raw foods as well. Raw foods are rich on nutrients and contain low levels of harmful toxins like acrylamide. When raw foods are referred to, some foods that are normally prepared using high temperature processes need to be pasteurized before eating. The digestive system is very effective at killing bacteria and harmful pathogens but canít combat all harmful bacteria in large quantities such as e-coli.
A reasonable diet change can limit your acrylamide intake. All delights in an average diet do not have to be discarded. Frying is definitely a cooking method to avoid if possible. If frying is without an alternative, the use of a monounsaturated oil is recommended. Cooking methods such as grilling, steaming, boiling, or baking at lower temperature can greatly reduce the levels of acrylamide in your diet as well as reduce the nutrient loss during the preparation of a meal. A meal needs to be completely prepared to prevent pathogen and bacteria from entering your digestive system. Just keep in mind, burning during preparation is the number one mistake to avoid. Raw food snacks can be added to your diet to take the place of foods high in acrylamide content like potato chips.
Free radicals and antioxidant protection are important and represent a completely different disease causing battle. Proper preparation of foods is the key to reducing acrylamide in a diet. The next time eating high calorie, fried foods seems like the only options; concerns of Trans fats and calories should not be the only thing in mind. The carcinogen levels can be just as harmful to your health.
Copyright 2005 Daniel Weigum
This article was posted on January 05, 2006