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Warning: brown breakfast toasts can be a cancer risk


Healthy breakfast: Better not to toast too much
For many Germans, toast is part of the daily breakfast. Experts point out that the slices should not be roasted too much. Otherwise they can become a health risk.

So that food does not become a health risk
"Food has never been as safe in history as it is today," said Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel, President of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in a communication on the International Green Week in Berlin (January 20-29). In some cases, consumers can also help ensure that food does not become a health risk. For example at the breakfast toast.

Do not roast slices of toast too long
Many Germans like crispy toast for breakfast. However, if the slices are roasted too much, they can pose a health risk.

The food toxicologist Prof. Bernd Schäfer from BfR said in a message from the dpa news agency: "The more browned they are, the higher their acrylamide content."

Acrylamide has long been suspected of causing cancer. According to Schäfer, there are scientific studies with animals that indicate this. But there are no studies with people.

Other experts, such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), have also warned in the past of the increased cancer risk from acrylamide in food.

Cancer risk from acrylamide
As Schäfer explained, acrylamide is formed by heating starchy foods that also contain the amino acid asparagine. From temperatures of around 120 degrees, acrylamide, a substance that is genotoxic, forms in such foods. That means it damages the DNA.

Investigations into chips, fried potatoes and frozen fries often also found high levels of acrylamide.

"Potato products such as chips, potato pancakes and French fries as well as cereal products such as crispbread, crackers and biscuits have the highest acrylamide content," writes the BfR in the notification.

"Gilding instead of charring"
According to Schäfer, you don't know how much of the substance is really dangerous. "We cannot set a safe lower action threshold," says the expert, according to dpa.

However, no one has to worry who exceptionally eats a dark toasted bread. "Risks can arise, however, if you regularly consume higher amounts of acrylamide."

According to the BfR, the rule of thumb is “gold plating instead of carbonization”: at temperatures below 180 degrees Celsius, significantly lower amounts of acrylamide are produced than at higher temperatures.

No increased cancer risk due to high coffee consumption
As the agency report goes on to say, depending on the degree of roasting, coffee also contains more or less acrylamide. With the popular hot beverage, there are obviously interactions between different ingredients.

"It is believed that coffee also contains substances that have a kind of protective effect against the effects of carcinogenic substances," said Schäfer, referring to a study by the World Health Organization (WHO) last year.

However, it is not yet clear how this works. But: "According to the study, there is no connection between high coffee consumption and an increased risk of cancer." (Ad)

Author and source information



Video: Cancer risk: avoid overcooked starchy foods (September 2021).