Fact or Myth: Can Potato Chips Cause Cancer?

This is a FACT.

potato chips and cancerThose crispy chips you love to crave are loaded with a known carcinogen—acrylamide. Heating foods at temperatures above 250° F produces toxic chemicals proven to damage the human genome and cause cancer. Acrylamide is the byproduct of heating industrialized foods like potato chips, French fries, roasted cereals, grains, processed snacks, roasted coffee and coffee substitutes such as chicory. And research keeps confirming that these acrylamide-containing processed snack foods and beverages aren’t worth the health risks.

The Acrylamide/Cancer Link

The HEATOX Project, funded by the European Union to investigate heat generated food toxicants, reached some formidable conclusions regarding potato chips and acrylamide. Research shows that acrylamide is classified by WHO (World Health Organization) as a probable human carcinogen. Acrylamide levels were associated with a higher breast cancer risk, and even at low doses acrylamide brings about neurotoxicity in the fetus. Researchers also concluded that acrylamide can cause tumors to develop in the intestines.

How much acrylamide is too much? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the limits at 0.2 micrograms of acrylamide per day. Sounds minuscule, but according to the Prob 65 cancer requirement, a food set at this limit should be labeled with a cancer warning. According to a report by the Environmental Law Foundation, potato chips have acrylamide levels over 900 times higher than the limit set by the EPA! So can potato chips cause cancer? You betcha!

Some potato chips fare better than others. According to the report, Cape Cod Robust Russet potato chips contain acrylamide levels 910 times higher than the limit set by the EPA, while Pringles Stacks, Lay’s Baked, and Cape Cod Classic chips boasted the lowest acrylamide levels.

Keep in mind that it’s not just potato chips that contain acrylamide. Within any industrialized food heated at high temps—including processed snacks like muffins and scones—lurk carcinogens like acrylamide.