Dutch scientists have said in a study that burning your food may lead to certain types of cancer, particularly in women. Scientists also say that more research is needed to make a definite determination and that there are other factors that could be to blame.
"This new study supports our current advice, which already assumes that acrylamide has the potential to be a human carcinogen. Since acrylamide forms naturally in a wide variety of cooked foods, it is not possible to have a healthy, balanced diet that avoids it," said a Food Standards Agency spokesman.
According to the study, acrylamides, a chemical produced when cooking foods high in carbohydrates over 120 degrees Celsius in the frying, toasting and grilling processes, is a likely cause of some womb and ovarian cancers. Although it was found in 2002 that the chemical may be a cause of some cancers, the new study shows, for the first time, a link between the chemical in a human diet being a cause. To date, there is no evidence to suggest the chemical may cause breast cancer.
Scientists followed and monitored 120,000 people over an 11 year period, of whom 62,000 were women. Of the women, 300 ended up contracting ovarian cancer with 327 contracting womb cancer.
The study concluded that more than 40 micrograms of the chemical, or one bag of potato chips per day, is twice as likely to cause cancer in women.
"General advice, resulting from this project, is to avoid overcooking when baking, frying or toasting carbohydrate-rich foods," said a spokesman for the European Union.