Research

Soaking potatoes in water before frying can nullify cancer

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A study has shown that soaking potatoes in water before frying cuts down on the formation of the suspected carcinogen acrylamide. Acrylamide is formed when starch-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures, (120 degrees Centigrade) such as frying, baking, grilling, broiling or roasting. Raw or even boiled potatoes test negative for the chemical. Boiling and microwaving appear less likely to form acrylamide as the cooking does not involve very high temperatures. Longer cooking time increases the amount of acrylamide produced when the temperature is high enough. Potato chips and French fries contain high levels of acrylamide compared to other foods, with lower levels also present in bread and cereals. In a study published in Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, it has been found that simply soaking potatoes before frying can significantly reduce the formation of acrylamide. The researchers tried three different approaches. They washed raw French fries, soaked them for 30 minutes, and soaked them for two hours. This reduced acrylamide levels by up to 23 percent, 38 percent and 48 percent, respectively, but only if the fries were cooked to a light color. It’s not clear whether the same reductions could be achieved if French fries are cooked to a deep, dark brown. The cooking and re-cooking of fried foods in the same fry pan or broiler is the main cause. Even the thoroughly washed iron skillet can continue to contain submerged carcinogens collected from previous use. Most restaurants use the same rancid cooking oil for days or even weeks and even reusing it after washing the pot. Traditional Ayurveda has been advocating against deep frying and has been advocating low temperature cooking for centuries. However, occasional consumption of these products is not likely to be a health concern. Apart from foods, cigarette smoking is the other source of acrylamide.

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