Many love fried, baked, and barbecued foods. But there may be a less tasty side to these culinary delights: high temperature cooking methods may produce large amounts of cancer-producing compounds, aka carcinogens.
A Swedish report found that when starchy foods such as flour and potatoes are baked or fried at high temperatures, they produce the carcinogenic (i.e. cancer causing) chemical acrylamide 1. Prolonged exposure to acrylamide has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals and may do the same in humans 1.
The generation of carcinogens from frying is not limited to only starchy foods. During the process of frying protein-rich foods, such as meat and fish, various kinds of carcinogenic heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are produced, particularly whencooking temperature is very high (above 400oF )2. Heterocyclic amines have been shown to cause malignant tumors in the colon and breast of mice and rats, and they are possible or probable carcinogens for humans 2.
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