Most people think of eating pork or pastries when thinking about food choices to avoid, and avoiding these particular foods is something that we would generally recommend. However, most people don’t realize how even common foods can turn dangerous depending on how they are cooked and how they are stored.
Take potatoes, for example.
If people avoid potatoes, it’s often because these people are avoiding carbohydrates or because they are avoiding fried foods, so they avoid french fries and other foods made from potatoes. Unfortunately, these same people will use potatoes in a way that harms their bodies, as well.
In cooking potatoes, frying potatoes or charring them are very common methods of cooking. What these higher temperature cooking methods do, though, is cause the potatoes to release a toxin called acrylamide, which has been shown to cause a variety of cancers in animal tests. Additionally, for humans, acrylamide has been shown to cause nerve damage.
Sweet potatoes, grains, and coffee all produce acrylamide during cooking or roasting.
Acrylamide is white, odorless, and dissolves in water. This toxic substance is generated when starchy foods are cooked at temperatures above 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s not just the temperature, however, that causes an issue. The length of time the food is cooked can make the danger worse. Naturalnews.com says,
“[C]ooking time is also an important consideration. For example, when potatoes are cooked above the aforementioned temperature threshold, they continue to progressively produce more acrylamide the longer they are cooked. For this reason, it is important for home cooks to pay attention to both temperature and cooking duration when preparing food for their families at home.”
How you store your potatoes produces a different issue as the storage method can cause the potatoes to produce more acrylamide when cooked and/or produce a different toxic substance. Again, from naturalnews.com:
“When potatoes sprout, they produce a toxic substance known as solanine that has been shown to trigger gastrointestinal and neurological problems when ingested.
To avoid this, always store your potatoes in a dark, cool place where they are not exposed to the light. It is also important to avoid storing potatoes in your refrigerator because this actually increases the amount of acrylamide produced when those potatoes are later cooked.”
Of course, you can avoid potatoes altogether in your diet, but if you follow these few simple storage and cooking rules, you can continue to enjoy potatoes in your diet.