The compound acrylamide has been found in roasted coffee beans. When consumed in high amounts, this compound can be toxic. Some believe that cancer can be caused by acrylamide.
Anyhow, research says that consuming moderate amounts of coffee is mainly safe, and can even have a beneficial effect on overall health.
Furthermore, we are going to explain more about acrylamide and its effect. Also, we are going to talk about which types of coffee contain this compound, how much of it is inside, and if humans should forget about this worldly famous hot beverage.
As a piece of extra information, you will read which coffees do not contain acrylamide, as well as which other products contain it.
Explanation of Acrylamide
This toxic compound is a white crystal chemical. It is odor-free and is used in many chemical and industrial processes such as the production of dyes, plastics, paper, and textiles. Interestingly, it is produced during the treatment of drinking water too.
Where can you Healthline?
- Cigarette smoke
- Certain adhesives
- Food packaging
Cooking specific types of starchy foods at high temperatures can lead to the natural production of acrylamide, as Healthline explains. This compound is a byproduct of the roasting of coffee beans too.
How Dangerous Acrylamide Is?
The human nervous system can be damaged if exposed to high acrylamide concentrations for a longer period. But, this is mainly a risk for those who work in industries where acrylamide is used or produced.
Nonetheless, in the US exposure to acrylamide in the workplace is limited. EPA or Environmental Protection Agency controls the levels of acrylamide in drinking water.
Long-term exposure to acrylamide may lead to a higher risk for cancer.
The IARC or International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified acrylamide as a Group 2A cancer-causing agent. So, according to IARC, acrylamide has a high chance of causing cancer in humans.
Nevertheless, we need more human research since the larger part of this data is collected from animal studies.
On the other hand, Trusted Source says that a systematic review from 2014 explains that studies done on humans do not provide sufficient evidence of the connection between cancer and acrylamide.
In Which Coffees Can Acrylamide be Found?
As we mentioned earlier, acrylamide is produced during the roasting of coffee. If coffee is produced via roasting, then it will contain acrylamide for sure. Here belongs instant coffee too.
Also, there are coffee substitutes that contain acrylamide. Such are chicory root coffees and cereal.
Furthermore, we will dig deeper into the amount of acrylamide in different coffee types.
The amount of Acrylamide in Coffee
Bean variety does not have an impact, but roasting time has an important impact on the level of acrylamide in coffee.
A 2013 study explains the level of acrylamide in 42 types of coffee as well as coffee substitutes and instant coffee.
Generally, the results of the study reveal that:
- The highest acrylamide level (818 mcg/kg) is found in coffee substitutes from chicory root and grains.
- Instant coffee contains 358 mcg/kg of acrylamide.
- The lowest concentration of acrylamide is found in natural roasted coffee (179mcg/kg).
Moreover, the study did not reveal a meaningful difference between acrylamide content in various types of coffee beans.
Can We Safely Continue Drinking Coffee?
Even though study results show that coffee contains this toxic compound called acrylamide, other research says that consuming coffee may serve as a protection against specific cancer types. Besides being a protector, coffee may provide us with other health benefits too.
In a 2015 review, the author recognized that a possibly dangerous chemical named acrylamide is found in coffee. However, they have not found a connection between coffee consumption and heightened cancer risk. On the contrary, they have revealed that consuming coffee may decrease the risk of developing breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and liver cancer.
Additionally, in 2017 a study was conducted that reviewed a great number of meta-analyses on how coffee affects overall health. The authors of the study concluded that consuming coffee in moderate doses is mainly safe, as well as, can have a positive impact on human health.
Coffee lowers the risk of specific types of cancer such as:
- Skin cancer
- Oral cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Liver cancer
- Endometrial cancer
Also, the study revealed many other benefits, some of them are a decreased risk of:
As researchers revealed, people who consumed 3-4 coffee cups per day gained the most benefits. The FDA advises that adults should not consume more than 4-5 coffee cups per day.
Coffee Without Acrylamide
All coffee types that are made from roasted coffee beans contain acrylamide. Coffee substitutes such as chicory root coffees and cereal may also contain acrylamide if they have been roasted.
The only types of coffee that are acrylamide-free are green and unroasted. However, the taste of these coffee types is not the same as roasted types.
If you prefer to have these acrylamide-free coffee varieties, you can Healthline.
Food That Contains Acrylamide
Baked and cooked foods contain acrylamide too.
Starchy foods may contain a bit of acrylamide if prepared at high temperatures. Scientists have given a name to this chemical process – the Maillard reaction.
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- Bread and cookies (baked goods)
- French fries
- Potato chips
- Breakfast cereals
This potentially dangerous chemical, acrylamide is a byproduct of the roasting process. Therefore any coffee variety containing roasted beans, and instant coffee as well, will include small amounts of it.
Coffee substitute such as grain chicory coffee, when roasted, contains acrylamide too.
Drinking water and baked and cooked food also contain this chemical.
Despite concerns that acrylamide may cause cancer, most studies suggest that coffee may be beneficial to human health by protecting against various cancer types and other diseases. Of course, we can experience these benefits by moderate daily consumption of coffee.
Source: Medical News Today