Eating too much toasted bread and french fries may lead to neuropathy.
Foods prepared at high temperatures via frying, grilling or toasting can result in the formation of a substance called acrylamide and scientific studies have proven that long-term exposure to small doses of acrylamide causes nerve damage in the extremities.
Potential symptoms of overexposure to acrylamide include numbness of the limbs, and weakness with lack of coordination in the legs.
Since high temperatures and starchy foods are necessary to form this neurotoxin, the good news is that diets low in fried starchy foods contain very low levels of acrylamide.
Food choice and acrylamide exposure
- Acrylamide has been found primarily in food made from plants, such as potatoes, grain products, and coffee. Acrylamide is not typically associated with meat, dairy, or seafood products.
- Acrylamide is typically found in plant-based foods cooked with high heat (e.g., frying, roasting, and baking), not raw plant-based foods or foods cooked by steaming or boiling.
- Some foods are larger sources of acrylamide in the diet, including certain potato products (especially French fries and potato chips), coffee, and foods made of grains (such as breakfast cereal, cookies, and toast).
There are a couple of nutritional supplements that are believed to offer protection against acrylamide’s toxicity:
One study indicated N-acetyl-cysteine and lipoic acid have been shown to be protective against acrylamide’s toxic effects and offer a dietary means of counteracting acrylamide’s bad effects.
Another study showed that acrylamide’s neurotoxicity was due to a dramatic reduction in glucose metabolism in nerve cells, and that lipoic acid could help prevent this negative effect and help restore normal metabolism and prevent damage.