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Please . . . . ! Not another coffee cancer scare

Posted by on December 1, 2013

Everything causes cancer.  At least that’s the way it seems if you keep up with health and diet news.

And now another player has raised its head.  The offender?  It’s called Acrylamide.

Something else to make your hearts race and your minds worry.

Evidently acrylamide is a chemical found in many plant based foods, brought about by certain high temperature cooking processes like baking, roasting and frying.

For coffee the roasting process brings out the chemical.  But as one researcher said, acrylamide formation is at its peak when the coffee is still very light (before being drinkable).  In other words it shows up early in the roasting process and then dissipates the more the coffee is roasted.

And then the miniscule amount that is left after the coffee has been fully roasted is further reduced during brewing.

So should we now be scared of the coffee we’re drinking.  Is it going to cause cancer?

As a medical layman I can’t say yes or no.  But as a thinking person, which you no doubt are yourself you know a few things

  • Coffee has been roasted, brewed, and consumed for about 1,000 years (fortunately roasting and brewing methods have improved over the years J).
  • Cancer was almost non-existent at the turn of the century (1900)
  • The cancer rate has steadily increased since that time

So should we be scared of coffee?  Is it a cancer causer?  Personally, I don’t think so, as long as we are moderate in our consumption.

But we should be scared of all the foods that weren’t foods in 1900.

  • All the processed foods that we’re assaulted with
  • All the foods packaged in what wasn’t packaging since that time (i.e. plastic)
  • All the chemicals that have been added to our food
  • All of the genetically modified foods

Add to that all the chemicals that have been added to our water, and that are in the air, and that are in the packaging surrounding our food.

Hmmm, was all that there prior to 1900?  No.  But since then we’ve seen the slow yet ever advancing rise of cancer.  So where should we point the finger?  Is it acrylamide?  Is it coffee?

Highly doubtful!

While I’m no scientist I do try to think (which is a discipline that seems to be a vanishing aspect of the human condition).  And looking at the evidence I’ve got to think that natural food and naturally occurring acrylamide and all those other naturally occurring substances probably aren’t too much of a problem since people have been frying, baking, and roasting since the discovery of fire.

Whew, after all that exertion time for a cup of coffee, acrylamide be damned!

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