Cancer Concern?

By: Sahar El-Hodiri
By: Sahar El-Hodiri

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It's too early to say if something in starchy foods like french fries and potato chips causes cancer. That's the latest from scientists at the World Health Organization's emergency meeting.

As we first told you this week, early research finds a high level of a cancer causing substance in some high carbohydrate foods. WHO officials are not asking you to avoid those foods. They say there is a concern, but not enough proof.

After three days, scientists at the World Health Organization emergency meeting say acrylamide, a substance believed to increase our risk for cancer, is a major concern. A concern that warrants more research.

The questions all started a few months ago with a Swedish study, and got more attention when researchers in Britain and Norway published similar findings.

The studies find baking or frying starchy foods like potatoes or breads form high levels of acrylamide. But scientists aren't ready to issue guidelines against eating them.

Kathy Gilmartin with the American Cancer Society agrees.

"At this point what we need to do is eat in moderation and take in proper diet and exercise and just wait for the results from more research and more education," Gilmartin said.

There seems to be a link between the length of cooking starchy foods and the level of acrylamide. But so far, it's only been proven to cause cancer in rats. Now, scientists are trying to find out if it does the same in humans.

The Food and Drug Administration is now doing it's own test on starchy foods and acrylamide. Scientists worldwide are trying to find out why cooking at high temperatures forms the substance.

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