Bits of charred food from the bbq is a favorite for many and has become a concern for health authorities who continue to work on the link between charred food and cancer development. While it is not 100 percent clear on just how it is all related, health professionals do warn about eating certain types of foods that have been charred or even heated at high temperatures for long periods of time.
The concern lies in the acrylamide, a chemical that can form in some foods during high-temperature cooking processes such as frying, roasting and baking. Acrylamide has been found to form in carbohydrate-rich foods rather than in protein-rich foods. It is the chemical reaction between proteins and sugars that gives cooked foods a dark color and distinctive taste.
You won’t find acrylamide in uncooked or boiled food and buying organic does not make a difference since studies have shown that it’s the type of food, not whether it’s organic or not. Even eating burnt toast can be a hazard since the formation of acrylamide exists.
While scientists have identified the source of acrylamide, they have not yet fully established that it is definitely a carcinogen in humans when consumed at levels found in food, however, the FDA does warn against eating charred food all the same.
They say “acrylamide caused cancer in animals in studies where animals were exposed to acrylamide at very high doses. In 2010, the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) concluded that acrylamide is a human health concern.”