You hear different reasons why the raw food diet is healthy. It is the enzymes, they say, the life force in the food that makes it easier to digest. Or it is the denaturation, the loss of minerals and other nutrients during cooking that makes cooked food unhealthy. Although these arguments are based on scientific theories, they are still often disputed.
I would say the most solid footing for a scientific argument for raw foods now is in the verifiable fact that cooked foods contain cancer-causing toxins: acrylamides, neurotoxins, carcinogens, mutagens, and pathogens.
Simply point people to Proposition 65, which requires the disclosure of harmful toxins to consumers in California. Starbucks prominently displays this plaque (pictured) annoucing that cancer-causing toxins called Acrylamides are present in their products.
â€œProposition 65 Warning: Chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and reproductive toxicity, including acrylamide, are present in coffee, baked goods, and other foods or beverages sold here.Â Acrylamide is not added to ourÂ products, but results from cooking, such as when coffeeÂ beans are roasted or baked goods are baked.â€
Studies show that Acrylamides are present in all heated carbohydrates. The FDA’s toxicology department thought to issue a warning to consumers however they were told by an advisory bureau that this would be useless. I saw the Docket shortly after the research study was published about 10 years ago though I can’t find it on the FDA website any more. (If anyone stumbles upon this, I’d love to have it!)
It said something like…
“If you were to alert the public to these acrylamides in heated carbohydrates then you would also have to alert them to the toxins in just about all heated, packaged, and processed food, and there would be little left for people to eat“.
It is well-known that cooking causes the molecular structure of foods to change. That’s the point of cooking, to change the temperature, texture, taste and smell of foods. However, when you take a molecule that is perfectly structured to provide nourishment to your body and then you change that molecule, you are changing a perfect structure to an imperfect structure.
Below this article are some links to FDA (Food and Drug Administration) documents showing that the FDA is well aware of the science proving that cooked food is toxic. They simply are not aware that there is another way to eat.
The mass-delusion that eating cooked food does not cause cancer is not helping! According to the American Cancer Society, by 2020 one in every two Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. (It isn’t much better now, at 1 in 2.5). (http://www.cancer.gov/newscenter/entertainment/tipsheet/cancer-health-disparities)
Cancer is not simply old age. Cancer is not “normal”. What’s “normal” is eating cooked food and what’s natural is that cooked food causes cancer. You damage the cell of a nutrient with heat, then you eat those damaged cells, yet you expect those damaged nutrient cells to create healthy cells in your body? That makes zero sense.
You are what you eat. You eat cooked, you are cooked. You eat vital, vibrant, alive and healthy foods, and you are vital, vibrant, alive and healthy!
Why is it so hard to stop eating cooked foods? Because they are toxic! And toxins are addictive!
But what can we do about it? There is no easy answer. These foods are not just highly addictive but they are also insidious as they are all around us and not widely recognized as toxic! In fact, many of these killer foods are regarded as “healthy”!
The difficult truth is that there is really only one way to avoid the ravages of cooked food addiction, and that, I believe, is by getting on the 100% RAW wagon!
We will continue to explore in our Blogs and Websites ways to overcome cooked food addiction and ways to inspire people to go raw. We will continue to improve our Programs to provide people the best resources to make it easier for people to go raw and stay raw for life! We are also working with researchers and doctors to help bring this information to the public.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Food and Drug Administration
[Docket No. FDA-2009-N-0393]
Acrylamide in Food; Request for Comments and for Scientific Data
AGENCY: Food and Drug Administration, HHS.
ACTION: Notice; request for comments and scientific data and
Formation and Exposure
Acrylamide forms in foods primarily from a reaction between
asparagine, an amino acid, and reducing sugars such as glucose and
fructose. This reaction is part of the Maillard reaction, which leads
to color, flavor, and aroma changes in cooked foods (Refs. 2, 3, and
9). Acrylamide formation usually occurs at elevated temperatures used
when frying or baking (above 120 [deg]C (248 [deg]F)) and in low
moisture conditions, although acrylamide has also been identified in
some fruit and vegetable products heated at lower temperatures or
higher moisture conditions (Refs. 10 through 13). Also, formation
occurs primarily in plant-based foods, notably potato products such as
French fries and potato chips; coffee; and cereal-grain-based foods
such as cookies, crackers, breakfast cereals, and toasted bread.
(Jinjee’s note: It’s not just french-fries, it’s BREAD too!!!)
Based on measured levels of acrylamide in certain foods and on how
frequently these foods are consumed in the United States, FDA
identified the following 10 foods (in ranked order) that contribute the
most acrylamide to the U.S. diet: French fries (restaurant prepared),
French fries (oven baked), potato chips, breakfast cereals, cookies,
brewed coffee, toast, pies and cakes, crackers, and soft (nontoasted)
breads (Ref. 14). The JECFA evaluation concurred that the major foods
contributing to total exposure for most countries were French fries,
potato chips, coffee, pastry and sweet cookies, and breads and toasts
The HEATOX Project,
“Guidelines to Authorities and ConsumerÂ Organisations on Home Cooking and Consumption,” 2006. AccessedÂ online at http://www.slv.se/upload/heatox/documents/D59_guidelines_to_authorities_and_consumer_organisations_on_home_cooking_and_consumption.pdf.
Risks from cooked food
Food has been cooked for thousands of years, primarily to easier digest, but also to increase taste. A by-effect was better food safety primarily in microbiological terms. There are, to summarise, a number of very good reasons to cook foods.
However, research in the last decades suggests that toxic chemicals can be formed during heat treatment of foods. For some of these chemicals, for example polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, advice on smoking and frying over open flames have been issued in many European countries to reduce the contamination of foods. These recommendations do not affect the levels of other toxins, nutrients, taste or palatability.
The conclusions of the HEATOX project can be summarised as follows â€¢ Acrylamide has been classified as a probable human carcinogen by WHO,
World Health Organisation. This conclusion is strengthened by the project.
There seems to be no risk for other toxic effects after exposure via foods. â€¢ Risk assessments and recommendations to minimize exposure to acrylamide
made by WHO are still valid. â€¢ Other compounds formed during cooking of food, for example HMF, Furan, and a variety of Maillard reactants and lipid oxidation products may also constitute an increased cancer risk for consumers. Approximately 50 substances that would require risk assessment has been identified within the project.
Office of Environmental Health Hazard Association
Excerpt: Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, was enacted as a ballot initiative in November 1986. The Proposition was intended by its authors to protect California citizens and the State’s drinking water sources from chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and to inform citizens about exposures to such chemicals.
Proposition 65 requires the Governor to publish, at least annually, a list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.
Current List of Hazardous Chemicals
(Includes all toxins available to us in water and medicines too, not just those in cooked foods)
Prop 65 on Acrylamide
Acrylamide is formed in some baked, fried and roasted foods. Â It is also present in tobacco smoke. Smokers are exposed to particularly high levels of acrylamide.
Acrylamide is a carcinogen. It was added to the Proposition 65 list in 1990 because studies showed it produced cancer in laboratory rats and mice.Â In February 2011, acrylamide was added to the Proposition 65 list as causing reproductive and developmental effects because, in studies of laboratory animals, acrylamide affected the growth of offspring exposed in the womb and caused genetic damage that resulted in the death of mouse and rat embryos.
Plant-based foods that are rich in carbohydrates can form acrylamide when baked, fried or roasted â€“ whether they are cooked at home, in restaurants or by commercial food processors and manufacturers.Â French fries, potato chips, other fried and baked snack foods, coffee, roasted grain-based coffee substitutes, roasted asparagus, canned sweet potatoes and pumpkin, canned black olives, roasted nuts, prune juice, breakfast cereals, crackers, cookies, breads, and toast all may contain varying amounts of acrylamide.Â Foods that have been boiled or steamed do not contain acrylamide. (Jinjee’s note: Interesting!)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other health and scientific organizations continue to study the health effects of acrylamide in food.Â The FDA has not advised people at this time to stop eating products that contain acrylamide.Â The FDA does advise people to quit smoking.
More information on acrylamide in food can be found at the external web sites listed below.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
â€¢ Acrylamide in FoodÂ http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/FoodContaminantsAdulteration/ChemicalContaminants/Acrylamide/default.htm
â€¢ Survey Data on Acrylamide in Food: Individual Food Products (2006) â€¨http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/FoodContaminantsAdulteration/ChemicalContaminants/Acrylamide/ucm053549.htm
National Cancer InstituteÂ â€¢ Acrylamide in Food and Cancer Risk (2008) â€¨http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/acrylamide-in-food
National Toxicology ProgramÂ â€¢ Report on Carcinogens, Acrylamide (2005)â€¨Â http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/roc/eleventh/profiles/s003acry.pdf
â€¢ Fact Sheet on Acrylamide (2011) â€¨http://www.niehs.nih.gov/about/materials/acrylamide-fact508.pdf
European UnionÂ â€¢ EU Acrylamide â€¨http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/chemicalsafety/contaminants/acrylamide_en.htm
â€¢ Ways to Lower the Levels of Acrylamide Formed in Food (2003)â€¨Â http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/chemicalsafety/contaminants/acryl_guidance.pdf
Toxins in Cooked Foods
American Nutrition Association:
The Hidden Toxins in Cooked Foods
Toxins in the Cooking Process
Bastyr Center for Natural Health
The Below sources are all from the FDA.gov website
This one shows that research is being conducted on food cooking by-products that may be toxicâ€¦.
Excerpt: The IAG has led to the investigation of the mechanism-of-action and toxicity assessment of many classes of chemicals including cosmetics, endocrine-disruptor compounds, food contaminants, food cooking by-products, dietary supplements, drugs, and anesthetics.
Food Contaminants and Adulteration, Acrylamide
Excerpt: Researchers in Sweden, the U.K., and Norway have reported finding the chemical acrylamide in certain foods. The acrylamide appears to form as a byproduct of certain cooking processes, such as frying. FDA scientists have developed a method to measure acrylamide levels in foods. The FDA is posting this method on its website to provide other researchers the opportunity to review and use the method.
(Jinjee’s note: It has sinse been found that acrylamides are also caused via baking and roasting.)
Food Contaminants & Adulteration
Excerpt: The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) provides the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with broad regulatory authority over food that is introduced or delivered for introduction into interstate commerce. Section 402(a)(1) of the FFDCA provides that a food is deemed to be adulterated if it contains any poisonous or deleterious substances, such as chemical contaminants, which may or ordinarily render it harmful to health. Under this provision of the FFDCA, FDA oversees the safety of the U.S. food supply (domestic and imports), in part, through its monitoring programs for natural toxins (e.g., mycotoxins), pesticides, and anthropogenic (e.g., industrial chemicals, such as dioxins; cooking or heating related chemicals, such as acrylamide; trace elements, such as lead) contaminants in food and the assessment of potential exposure and risk.
Excerpt: On April 24, 2002, researchers at the Swedish National Food Administration and Stockholm University reported finding the chemical acrylamide in a variety of fried and oven-baked foods. The initial Swedish research indicated that acrylamide formation is particularly associated with traditional high temperature cooking processes for certain carbohydrate-rich foods. Since the Swedish report, similar findings have been reported by researchers in numerous other countries, including Norway, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Japan, Korea, and Switzerland. Analysis by the FDA revealed that U.S. results were also in basic agreement with these findings. The discovery of acrylamide in food is a concern because acrylamide is a potential human carcinogen and genotoxicant, based on high-dose animal studies, and a known human neurotoxicant.
(Jinjee’s note: WHO Recommendations below, from the same document, sound confused)
The WHO/FAO consultation advised that food should not be cooked excessively, i.e., for too long a time or at too high a temperature, but also advised that it is important to cook all food thoroughly–particularly meat and meat products–to destroy foodborne pathogens (bacteria, viruses, etc.) that might be present.
People should eat a balanced and varied diet, which includes plenty of fruit and vegetables, and should moderate their consumption of fried and fatty foods
Jinjee’s Note: I believe that the FDA knew that acrylamides were formed by heating, but substituted the work “Frying” because people already know fried foods are dangerous. So since “Fried” and “Heated” are used interchangably it may be a matter of time until the above recommendation reads “People should moderate their consumption of cooked foods and foods containing animal fats”.
In the distant future we may see the switch to: “People should eliminate their consumption of cooked foods and foods containing animal fats”.
Dangers of Acrylamide
Contents: Dangers of Acrylamide. Warning requesting the FDA warn people about acrylamides in the interest of preventing cancer. List of some foods and their acrylamide content.
More comprehensive list of foods containing acrylamide:
June/July 2007 Ask the Regulators: Acrylamide, Furan, and the FDA
Acrylamide and furan are both potential human carcinogens that occur in food as a result of cooking or heat processing. Both compounds sprang onto the world stage as important food contaminants within the last several years, and research is ongoing in the areas of toxicology, exposure, formation, and mitigation. The full impact of these findings on food processors and regulators will not be clear until pivotal research is completed. With research on cooking-related contaminants continuing, it seems likely that more such compounds will be detected in the future.
This one is fascinatingâ€¦The notes from a meeting amongst FDA Researchers, Specialists and Doctors to discuss the dangers of Acrylamide and what should be doneâ€¦
FOOD ADVISORY COMMITTE Meeting: Acrylamide – Transcript of Proceedings February 25, 2003
DR. LEE: Ken Lee. I just wanted to follow up a little bit about the message and behavior. If you came out with a very direct message, hypothetically–I know we are not going to do this–and said people should avoid foods with acrylamide, what, in your opinion, would be the actual behavior? Would people change the way they eat? Would it spike for a few weeks and then go back to the way it was? What is our track record in that regard?
DR. ACHESON: I think, like dealing with any nutritional issue, the general population does not necessarily follow advice. That pertains not just to this but many, many other significant problems. I think our goal would be to give the best scientific advice that we can and couch it in such a way as a consumer message that it was not complicated and easy to understand.
MS. HALLORAN: We are obviously starting to get into the discussion about policy. I had one more question about–you have said a couple of times that you have a concern that somehow, if there was a message about cooking, that the result would be that people would undercook things with pathogens, which is basically meat.
I wonder if you have any data or focus groups that would suggest that people would get confused in that way. To me, it is not necessarily apparent that a message about cooking potatoes and grains would be confused with a message about cooking meat.
(Jinjee’s note: Clearly a major concern in alerting people to the dangers of cooking is that they will get sick from not cooking their meat. Solution: Recommend that people do not eat meat. For now though, we’re on our own, and will not receive proper warnings except from the few warnings out there due to Prop 65.)
Excerpt: Like acrylamide, furan is a substance that can form in certain foods during heat processing, most notably canning. Furan also causes cancer in laboratory animals at high doses, and is therefore a potential human carcinogen. CFSAN recently posted the furan levels detected in more than 250 food samples, including breads, crackers, gravies, and snacks. Furan levels detected in approximately 600 food samples are now available on CFSAN’s web site. FDA has also posted a revised version of its furan method titled “Determination of Furan in Foods.” The headspace incubation temperature has been lowered from that in the original method of 80 Â°C to 60 Â°C. This modification was made after FDA scientists determined that very small amounts of furan (< 3ng/g) can form in certain high-fat food samples during incubation at 80 Â°C. FDA plans to perform additional research to evaluate the effects of this incubation temperature change on other foods, although only very minor differences are expected. A companion document to the revised furan method document, titled “Method Ruggedness Testing,” has also been posted on CFSAN’s website and discusses in detail the reason for the incubation temperature change.
FDA continues to advise consumers to eat a balanced diet, choosing a variety of foods that are low in trans fat and saturated fat, and rich in high-fiber grains, fruits and vegetables.
(Jinjee’s note: This advisory is posted on many FDA documents, and can be translated as: Avoid animal products as they are high in trans and saturated fat, and choose whole grains, fruits and vegetables. They know! They just don’t know what to do about it)
Excerpt: Acrylamide Forms Naturally during Food Cooking and Processing.Â Naturally-occurring carcinogens and other environmental toxicants, like mycotoxins, are present in our foods without a doubt.Â Acrylamide, however, is not known to occur naturally in the environment, and it is not unique with regard to the formation of potential carcinogens during the cooking process.
Cooking foods to enhance flavor and provide protection from foodborne pathogens can lead to formation of acrylamide.Â Indeed, this is not the first time that science has discovered a potential carcinogen that is formed during the cooking or processing of a food. In his presentation at the CeresÂ® Roundtable, Professor Steven Tannenbaum of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology identified several carcinogens that arise naturally in the environment or as a result of processing or cooking foodsâ€”polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heterocyclic amines, mycotoxins, nitrosamines, urethane, chloropropanols, and acrylamide.
The Center urges FDA to:
1. Assess the risk to public health from foods containing acrylamide and use this assessment as a template for other substances that surely will be â€œdiscoveredâ€ in the future. This risk assessment should include:Â a) a thorough and critical re-examination of the literature on cancer risk and acrylamide and b) a critical evaluation of research gaps that need to be filled before a regulatory policy is put in place;
2. Manage the public health risk from acrylamide in foods if a hazard exists.Â The center suggests that FDA collaborate with scientists from industry and academia to eliminate or minimize the hazard if the risk assessment shows that there is a risk to be managed.
3. Develop a risk communication plan together with communications experts from the public relations and/or advertising industry, media, and consumer advocacy groups that accurately communicates the level of risk to public health from acrylamide in cooked foods and from foodborne illness from improperly cooked foods.