Many people only wave if the toast is slightly toasted. Others claim that burnt bread can have a carcinogenic effect. Shouldn't we be eating toast now? The answer to the question is simple.

An indispensable accessory to a good breakfast is golden brown toast, which many people use not only because of the dry bread, but also simply because of the pleasant taste of bread baked in this way. And this is not just an explanation, there is an interesting chemical process behind baking, including making toast.

The so-called Maillard reaction occurs at a temperature of about 120 degrees Celsius and occurs when reducing sugars and amino acids react with each other at high temperatures. As a result, a complex molecular mixture containing brown pigments (melanoidins) and aromatic substances is created. The Maillard reaction is responsible for the distinctive color and flavor of many foods, such as grilled meats, toast, caramel, coffee, and cocoa.

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However, there is a small problem. Another organic compound, acrylamide, is produced during the Maillard reaction, and is surprisingly white, although it is produced, for example, when baking toast. It is known to be neurotoxic, which means it has a negative effect on the nervous system, and long-term consumption through food can increase the risk of developing nervous system disorders. It can cause problems with the development of the fetus. If that wasn't enough, research has also shown that high levels of acrylamide cause cancer in animals, and epidemiological studies indicate that the same applies to humans. In addition, it quotes IFL Science European Food Safety Authority data sheet – may be present in food from the beginning of cooking, and is practically impossible to remove from the diet.

So now toast and many other foods cause cancer? Fortunately, the picture is much more accurate than that. In order to prove that something causes cancer, clinical tests must be done, but clinical tests cannot be done with carcinogens. However, the levels of acrylamide used in animal studies were much higher than those found in human food. Previous human studies have relied on self-report. They asked questions about who prepared their food and how, and then followed their health for ten, fifteen, twenty years. This is not a very reliable test.

Regardless, the question can now be asked: is acrylamide consumption really dangerous? Does toast cause cancer? The answer is probably “no” to both questions. Not only is the level to which we are exposed today lower than it was, say, twenty years ago, but the protective mechanisms built into our bodies can also prevent the negative effects of the compound. We don't eat acrylamide alone, there are many other ingredients in food, such as antioxidants, that help reduce and prevent toxic mechanisms.

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the IFL Science Therefore, some simple methods are recommended to reduce acrylamide levels. In potatoes, for example, the level of this compound decreases by approximately 90 percent if they are soaked in hot water for just 10 minutes. For toasted bread, the rule is simpler: don't burn it, just toast it a little, because the level of acrylamide is linked to the browning of this food.

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