Food Pharmacy

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Bad News: Beware of the Toast

A while ago, the British authorities warned that toast can cause health problems. Ten years ago we would have sighed and said to ourselves, “But seriously, how dangerous can it be? No one has ever died from eating a piece of toast!”. But today, we now know that approximately 100 years ago a French scientist by the name of Mailliard discovered that food could become toxic, if heated too much too quickly.

In our book we give you six keys to a stronger gut flora and immune system. As a matter of fact, one of the keys is about lowering the temperature when cooking food (more about that here). We’re not saying that you have to adopt a full time raw food diet. Our best tip is that you cook food gently in the oven, or steam instead of frying, stir-frying or using the grill. Why? Well, when food reaches temperatures over 170-212° Fahrenheit (80-100° Celsius), poisonous substances are released, such as acrylamide, one of the more known toxics.

As early as 2002, The Swedish National Food Administration warned about an increased cancer risk among people who consume too much acrylamide, as a result of cooking at high temperatures. During the past 15 years, the link between acrylamide and cancer has grown stronger. The British equivalent to the Swedish National Food Administration, the Food Standards Agency, has actually launched a campaign to warn the British people, since they consume too much acrylamide. The warning relates to foods such as toast that is a bit too brown, breakfast cereal, cookies, coffee and crackers, but above all, foods that are high in starch, like fried potatoes, chips and fries. The FSA says you could reduce the levels of acrylamide by boiling or steaming your food.    

The good news is that it’s sooo much easier than you would think to lower the temperature a few degrees. On the contrary, every time we set the oven to 212°F (100°C), and remove the fish from the heat at 125°F (52°C), we feel like we are Gordon Ramsay.

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