A study conducted in Europe has failed to turn up an association 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.
Despite this good news, the findings may not be applicable to all countries, which may have different eating habits than the population studied, the researchers say.
In the study, scientists re-examined 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 and/or baked potatoes and how large a portion. In each study, cancer patients were compared to a larger group of healthy people.
The team reports that they found no evidence for an interaction between fried or baked potato consumption and cancer. The findings are limited to southern European populations that use different cooking processes and cooking oils than northern Europeans and Americans do.
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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