Baking and frying OK

Acrylamide is a chemical used in certain industries. It was found to cause cancer in animals. In 2002, it was discovered that acrylamide naturally forms — but in tiny amounts — when certain foods are baked or fried for a long time at high temperatures. As always happens in such cases, warnings were issued — often contradicting each other — dietary recommendations were changed, and everybody was generally confused.

In 2003, a study found that acrylamide in food does not increase the risk of kidney, bladder and large intestine cancers, and now a new study found that it does not increase the risk of breast cancer either.

Perhaps a different point of view is in order. Here’s how Chinese medicine would view the issue. Since acrylamide is formed by heat, the foods that contain it belong to the Fire element. This means that these foods are likely to be beneficial to those who have deficient Fire, and are best avoided by those who have excessive Fire. They should also be avoided by those who have excessive Earth, because Fire increases Earth. Excessive Earth is the cause of cancer. For everybody else, the key is moderation, as in all things.

All the above applies only to acrylamide as it occurs naturally in food, not to exposure through industrial processes or contamination.

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