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Scientists Warn, Again: French Fries May Increase Risk of Cancer

2 minute read

New evidence in animal studies suggests that regularly eating fried, browned or burnt foods—such as French fries or toast—may increase the risk of cancer, a British government agency said today.

The link between fries and disease isn’t new, but the U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) has found that acrylamide, a substance produced when starchy foods are heated at high temperatures, has been linked to cancer in animals. The FSA suggest people cook foods at lower temperatures and aim for a more golden color, rather than crispy brown, Reuters reports.

“The scientific consensus is that acrylamide has the potential to cause cancer in humans,” the FSA warned. “As a general rule of thumb, aim for a golden yellow color or lighter when frying, baking, toasting or roasting starchy foods like potatoes, root vegetables and bread.”

Read More: Should I Eat French Fries?

The FSA also recommends other ways to reduce excessive acrylamide consumption, including not overloading on starches through a balanced diet and not storing raw potatoes in the fridge.

The agency is launching a “Go for Gold” campaign to publicize the recommendations, but some experts said people would be better off monitoring behaviors with stronger links to cancer, such as smoking, according to Reuters.


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Write to Julia Zorthian at julia.zorthian@time.com