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No link between cooked potatoes and cancer
Latest Updated by 2003-07-08 10:32:39

A study conducted in Europe has failed to show a link between eating fried or baked potatoes and an increased risk of cancer, according to an international team of researchers.

Swedish scientists sparked a worldwide food scare last year when they found high levels of acrylamide, a suspected human carcinogen, in high-carbohydrate foods including crackers, certain cereals and cooked potatoes.

The new study provides "reassuring research evidence for the lack of an important association between consumption of fried or baked potatoes and cancer risk," according to the report in the International Journal of Cancer.

However, the findings may not be applicable to all countries, because of different eating habits, the researchers say.

In the study, Dr. Claudio Pelucchi, of the Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche in Milan, Italy, and colleagues

reexamined a series of studies conducted in the 1990s involving more than 7,000 Italian and Swiss men and women with various types of cancer.

All of the men and women answered questions pertaining to diet and, specifically, how often each week they ate fried or baked potatoes and how large a portion. In each study, cancer patients were compared to a larger group of healthy people.

Even so, Pelucchi and colleagues say their findings are limited to southern European populations that use different cooking methods and cooking oils than northern Europeans and Americans.

Acrylamide is a colorless compound labeled as a probable carcinogen based on data from animal research. Scientists believe acrylamide is formed during the cooking process, when starchy foods like potatoes, rice and cereals are fried or baked at high temperatures.

 
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