Is coffee carcinogenic?
Statistics show that seven billion cups of coffee are consumed every day in the world; That is one cup per person. In the United States, as in many other parts of the world, coffee is one of the most popular beverages. However, according to a court ruling in California in 2018, coffee should be offered like a cigarette with a carcinogenic warning because it contains acrylamide, which is a chemical compound that is added to the roasting process. In this article we are going to answer this question: Is coffee carcinogenic??
What is acrylamide and what is the risk to human health?
Acrylamide is a white, odorless chemical crystal produced in chemical industries and processes such as plastics, tiles, paints, and paper. In the roasting process, acrylamide coffee beans are one of the by-products that are produced and there is no way to separate it from coffee; Therefore, when you drink coffee, you expose yourself to this chemical.
Prolonged exposure to acrylamide can damage the human nervous system. People who have direct contact with the substance at work are at risk. For this reason, in the United States, there are laws and restrictions on exposure to this chemical in the workplace. Laws have also been enacted by the Environmental Protection Agency to manage the amount of acrylamide in drinking water.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, acrylamide is one of the groups of substances that may put people at risk for cancer. However, most of the data provided are from animal experiments, and more human experiments are needed to confirm the carcinogenicity and dangerousness of acrylamide. Also, a study conducted in 2014 considered the evidence of acrylamide in the human diet to be insufficient.
Is there acrylamide in coffee?
Acrylamide is formed during roasting in coffee. All coffees made with roasted beans, including instant coffees, contain acrylamide. However, the amount of acrylamide varies from coffee to coffee, and differences in the amount available can determine whether one type of coffee is carcinogenic or another.
What determines the amount of acrylamide in coffee is the duration of roasting, not the type of coffee beans. A 2013 study of acrylamide in 42 different types of coffee found that, on average, coffee substitutes made from whole grains or chicory root had the highest levels of acrylamide, at 818 micrograms per kilogram. There is a chemical. Instant coffees are in second place with 358 micrograms per kilogram, and naturally roasted coffees contain the lowest amount of acrylamide, with only 179 micrograms per kilogram.
Research on how acrylamide is formed in the coffee roasting process shows that it peaks in the early stages of heating and decreases with increasing roasting time, so it is more abundant in light-roasted coffee beans than in dark-roasted ones, which are exposed to heat for longer. Are.
Other carcinogens in coffee
Another reason why coffee is on the list of beverages that may increase the risk of cancer in humans is that it is brewed at temperatures above 65 degrees. According to research by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, consuming any beverage that is above 65 degrees Celsius can be carcinogenic.
Despite what has been said, is coffee harmful to health? Do we get one step closer to cancer every time we start our day with a cup of hot coffee?
Coffee causes cancer or protects against it
In the first place, it should be noted that the results of research on the carcinogenicity of acrylamide in humans are not very clear. Although the high carcinogenicity of acrylamide and exposure to this chemical for hours on end cause irreparable damage to human health, its small amount of carcinogenicity still requires further evidence and testing.
The amount of acrylamide that enters the human body through eating and drinking is very small. However, if you are a smoker or are exposed to secondhand smoke, a large amount of this substance enters your body every day, which is far more than the amount contained in a cup of coffee.
According to research on the amount of acrylamide in different types of coffee, this substance has not been proven to be associated with cancer. At the same time, whether or not you have this harmful substance, consuming coffee reduces the risk of prostate, liver, blood, skin, uterus and mouth cancers. There has been a lot of research on the health benefits of coffee, which shows that drinking coffee, in addition to being very enjoyable, reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, liver disease and depression.
Coffee without acrylamide
However, if you are both obsessed with coffee and looking for an acrylamide-free alternative due to the concern of consuming this substance, you should consider that this substance is available in all types of roasted coffee. The only option available to people with underlying disease or genetic history of cancer is to use green or unroasted coffee beans that taste very different from roasted varieties.
There is a small amount of acrylamide in many of the foods and beverages you consume throughout the day, so there is no reason to deprive yourself of this popular beverage; But if you want to drink your daily coffee without any remorse, go for green coffees and think for a while before consuming them to balance the temperature; This way you get both the daily caffeine and make sure you take care of your health by drinking coffee.