Is Burnt Toast a Health Risk?

A surprising news story to grab the media’s interest this week surrounds how brown your toast should be.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has launched a campaign to raise public awareness of the possible health risk of acrylamide; a chemical which is made when starchy foods (e.g. potatoes, bread) are cooked at high temperatures.

Acrylamide is currently defined by the World Health Organization as “probably carcinogenic to humans”. High levels of acrylamide have been linked to cancer after tests on rodents.

The ‘Go for Gold’ campaign advises people to aim for a golden yellow when frying, baking, toasting or roasting starchy food.

Reaction to the campaign has been mixed and some of the media has leant towards ridicule. Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain joked about the dangers of eating brown toast while The Sun quoted John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, as saying:

“Barely a day goes by without a public health decree from the army of nanny statists funded by taxpayers. The FSA doesn’t even know if this chemical is bad for us, yet it sees fit to tell us how to cook our chips just in case.”

Cancer Research UK gave a more balanced view, stating that while the link between acrylamide and cancer in humans is unclear, “…eating fewer high calorie foods like crisps, chips and biscuits, which are the major sources of acrylamide” would be of benefit.

This is certainly true and a ‘bigger picture’ view would focus not on the occasional piece of burnt toast with unconfirmed links to cancer, but rather on the known serious risks.

Reducing the Risk of Cancer

There are a series of activities and lifestyle choices which have been proven to raise or lower the risk of cancer.

  • Reducing smoking
  • Reduce excessive drinking of alcohol
  • Be very careful with sunlight exposure due to risk of skin cancer
  • Avoid too much red or processed meat and restrict consumption of fatty foods
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Choose a healthy, balanced diet – rich in fruit and veg (5 portions a day!)
  • Exercise and keep active

Medical Advice

Those looking to make major lifestyle changes – starting on exercise regimes, tackling type 2 diabetes through diet, or quitting smoking for example – could seek support from the GP. Especially if there are any health concerns.

Diet and Nutrition

When it comes to diet and nutrition, specialist support can also be valuable. The Smart Clinics, London has a team of trained and qualified nutritionists and dietitians who are experienced in a wide range of dietary and nutritional concerns including weight loss.

The Smart Clinics

Private Healthcare London

The Smart Clinics is a private healthcare company established in 2013, offering a membership-based alternative to NHS care for individuals and families.

The Company describes itself as:

London’s pre-eminent integrated healthcare clinics

Vital health services include private GPs, travel clinic, skin treatments, physiotherapy and much more. Children’s services include immunisation and speech therapy.

The company offers patients a choice of two conveniently located and comfortably equipped clinics at Brompton Cross (South Kensington) and Wandsworth, both of which now offer excellent private dentistry services in well-equipped studios.

Telephone our team on 020 7052 0070.

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Services are available through our a affordable membership packages or on a drop in 'pay as you go' basis. High quality medical healthcare is readily available:

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