Beware of the Toxic French Fry – What You Need to Know

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4 Ways to Reduce the Impact of Acrylamide in Your Food

As a natural practitioner, I spend a lot of time analyzing and evaluating foods.  It is my job to research and recommend which foods each of my patients should eat.  The toxic chemical acrylamide keeps popping up as an ingredient in many foods.  Here is what it is and how to cut its impact on your health.

Acrylamide is a chemical used primarily as a building block in making polyacrylamide and acrylamide copolymers. Manufacturers use Polyacrylamide and acrylamide copolymers in many industrial processes, such as paper, dyes, and plastics production and in drinking and wastewater treatment, including sewage. They are also found in consumer products, such as caulking, food packaging, and some adhesives. Trace amounts of acrylamide generally stay in these products post-production. (1)

Researchers in Europe and the United States have found acrylamide in certain foods heated to a temperature above 120 degrees Celsius (248 degrees Fahrenheit), but not in foods prepared below this temperature.(2)  Potato chips and French fries were found to contain higher levels of acrylamide compared with other foods.(3)  The World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations stated that the levels of acrylamide in foods pose a “major concern” and that we need more research to find the risk of dietary acrylamide exposure.(3)

In 2002, acrylamide was first detected in food.(5) In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning that acrylamide can cause cancer in certain lab animals.(4) On June 4, 2015, EFSA published its first full risk assessment of acrylamide in food. Experts from EFSA’s Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) reconfirmed previous evaluations that acrylamide in food potentially increases the risk of developing cancer for consumers in all age groups.

Evidence from animal studies shows that acrylamide and its metabolite glycidamide are genotoxic and carcinogenic; they damage DNA and cause cancer. But, evidence from human studies that dietary exposure to acrylamide causes cancer is limited and inconclusive. (5)

Toxic Plate Authors at the Worlds Healthiest Foods have compiled a list of foods that contain the highest amounts of acrylamide per serving.  (6)

Food:                                              Acrylamide Content:

Grain Based Coffee Subs.           5.399 ppm

Potato Chips                                  9270 ppb

French Fries                                   1.325 ppm

Dehydrated Onion Soup Mix      1.184 ppm

Toasted Wheat Cereal                  1.057 ppm

Cookies                                            0.995 ppm

Cocoa                                               0.909 ppm

Cynthia Sass is a news editor from ABC News and she offers some everyday advice to help lower the potential risks of acrylamide:

  1.  Don’t Panic.  Putting yourself into a state of fight or flight is no good for anyone.  The body’s innate design is healthy so just add acrylamide to the list of things to keep on your radar when trying to make the healthier food choice.
  2. Eat More Raw Foods.  Plain and simple.  Acrylamide is not present in these foods.
  3. Eat Foods that offset acrylamides (cruciferous vegetables).  Eat foods that have been proven to fight cancer and cardiovascular disease so if you do get exposed to the toxic substance then you have already prepared your body with preventative foods.
  4. Soak your potatoes for 30 minutes before cooking. There are many studies showing how certain food preparation can lower the amount of acrylamide in foods.

Each and everyday I try to make better choices of what I put into my body to fuel the God-given potential that flows through my veins.  I hope this information will help you the next time you are looking at the menu and trying to decide between the side salad or french fries for your side dish.

Dr. Andrew Kender, III, D.C.
March 16, 2016

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians

To schedule an appointment, click here


  2. Stadler RH, Blank I, Varga N, et al. Acrylamide from Maillard reaction products. Nature 2002; 419(6906):449–450.
  3. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. World Health Organization. Summary report of the sixty-fourth meeting of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). Retrieved July 24, 2008, from:

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