Breaking News on Industrial Baking & Snacks

Read more breaking news



Snack Size Science: Getting to the heart of acrylamide

By Stephen Daniells , 06-Mar-2009
Last updated on 18-Mar-2009 at 12:48 GMT2009-03-18T12:48:37Z

Snack Size Science: Getting to the heart of acrylamide
Snack Size Science: Getting to the heart of acrylamide

FoodNavigator's Snack Size Science brings you the week's top science. This week, acrylamide intakes may not pose a problem for pre-menopausal breast health, but it may be dangerous for heart health, according to a couple of new studies. And Belgian researchers give a glimpse of ways to prevent formation of the compound in the first place.

Here is a direct transcription of this podcast:

This is FoodNavigator’s Snack Size Science. I’m Stephen Daniells - bringing you the week’s top science in digestible amounts.

Acrylamide, a little compound with an unsavoury reputation, has barely been out of the headlines this week. Researchers from Harvard reported that the compound, which is known to cause cancer in lab rats, had no impact on the risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer amongst American women.

The results echoed those of other human studies that everyday exposure to acrylamide in food is too low to be of concern, but this hasn’t stopped regulators and the global food industry from initiatives to reduce or remove the compound from food.

Produced by the heat-induced reaction between sugar and an amino acid called asparagine, acrylamide burst in to the public consciousness in 2002 when Swedish scientists found high levels in carbohydrate-rich foods, like French fries and potato chips.

While the Harvard study may offer some hope with respect to pre-menopausal breast cancer risk, concerns surfaced this week for acrylamide’s impact on heart health following a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by Polish and Swedish researchers.

This study looked at feeding volunteers an unhealthy 160 grams of potato chips per day, and found an increase in the levels of compounds linked to oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which may increase the risk of certain chronic disease.

While it is questionable how many ‘normal’ consumers would eat 160 grams of chips a day, the results do support the efforts of companies involved in reducing or eliminating the formation of acrylamide in such products.

Enzymes such as DSM’s Preventase and Novozyme's Acrylaway, work by converting asparagine into aspartic acid, thereby preventing it from being converted into acrylamide. The effect is a reduction in acrylamide in the final product by as much as 90 per cent.

Other approaches have looked at adding other amino acids to compete with asparagine, and Belgian researchers reported this week that adding cysteine could reduce the concentration of acrylamide by a tasty 99 per cent.

Questions remain over how cysteine may affect the colour, texture and flavour of the finished products, but the approach may represent another way of removing the unsavoury from the savoury.

For FoodNavigator’s Snack Size Science, I’m Stephen Daniells.

Related products

NPD category busters: From ‘Teagurt’ to coffee fruit energy to Milo expansion

NPD category busters: From ‘Teagurt’ to coffee fruit energy to Milo expansion

Jane Barnett

Insights manager for Australia-New Zealand, south east Asia and India,...

USDA WASDE: Wheat supply up but ‘quality issue emerging’ says AHDB

Wheat supply up but ‘quality issue emerging’

Wheat supplies have hit record levels across the globe, but for France and some...

UK gluten-free businesses should storm Europe

Europe is ripe for UK gluten-free businesses

France and other European countries are prime targets for the UK’s established gluten-free (GF)...

Manufacturers are struggling with healthier food calls

Bakeries struggling with calls to cut salt, sugar and fat

Manufacturers of baked goods are reaching a point where calls to cut salts, fats...

Thins in packaged bread could spark growth, Mintel

Can ‘thins’ save a dwindling packaged bread sector?

‘Thins’ have taken off in the US and Canada with bread, bagel and even...

Bread innovation needed amid carb, additive backlash: Mintel

Additives and carb backlash stumps bread innovation, says Mintel

Stephanie Pauk and Pam Yates

Analysts, Mintel

Snacks and candy blur: NPD and retail fueling, says NCA

Is that a snack or a candy? ‘It’s so blurred now’, says NCA president

Snacks and confectionery have truly blurred from a product perspective and retail slant, says...

Egyptian bakery firm invested out of Arab Spring crisis

Prospering amid political crises: How one Egyptian firm invested its way out

Egyptian bakery equipment firm Morcos has faced financial difficulties amid political unrest in its...

How has social media changed food marketing?

How has social media changed food marketing?

The rise of social media has led to a shift in the way consumers...

Bakery sector ExxonMobil Anuga FoodTec

Bakery sector satisfies sweet tooth at ExxonMobil Anuga stand

ExxonMobil treated guests to samples of bakery products, in partnership with its customers who...

Snack innovation: Packaging inspiration Anuga FoodTec

Critic-free innovation: What snack makers should learn from students

Snack manufacturers can follow in the footsteps of design students – innovating positively, without...

Dave's Killer Bread takes on the carb-bashers at Expo West

Bread is back! Dave's Killer Bread takes on the carb-bashers at Expo West

While retail sales of packaged bread have been pretty sluggish in recent years, one...

Popcorn packaging: Innovations from ISM 2015

Popcorn packaging: Innovations to draw in snackers…

Popcorn is increasingly competitive and manufacturers are battling for shelf space and consumers with...

Does the edible bugs trend have the legs to succeed?

Does the edible bugs trend have the legs to succeed?

Not a week goes by without media headlines talking about the potential of insects...

Snacking trends video at the Winter Fancy Food Show 2015

Lights, camera, action! Snacking trends at the Winter Fancy Food Show

What are the hottest trends in snacks? Sprouted grains? Baked popcorn? Gourmet jerky? Join...

William Reed Business Media Holiday video

Happy Holidays 2014 from William Reed Business Media!

The holidays are fast upon us, so let’s put ‘business’ to one side and...

Nutrition Facts panel: Snack impact?

How will Nutrition Facts panel changes hit snacks?

Snack makers and suppliers will be under pressure to make fast changes across all...

Food safety in bakery behind the curve, claims B&CMA advisor

Bakers are behind the food safety curve, claims tech expert

Food safety is important for bakers but use of technology is behind the curve...

Key Industry Events