"Acrylamide is such a complicated dietary factor," said editorial author Lorelei Mucci, an assistant professor of medicine in the department of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. "It's in so many foods that are really bad for you, but a large portion of acrylamide comes from whole grain cereals and breads that are good for you."
"The public health message should really be to look at factors that really will lower your risk of cancer: exercise, keeping a healthy weight and not smoking. If there is an association with acrylamide and cancers, it's probably a small one," Mucci said.
"This study is good research, and they asked good research questions, but don't get distracted. For preventing cancer, the focus is on weight control, physical activity and consuming a mostly plant-based diet," said Collins.
"There's no reason to think we would do anything different in terms of eating habits as a result of this study," she said, adding, "There are a lot of good reasons to limit your consumption of potato chips, French fries, cake and cookies."
Learn more about acrylamide from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
SOURCES: Janneke G.F. Hogervorst, M.Sc., department of epidemiology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands; Karen Collins, M.S., R.D., nutrition adviser, American Institute for Cancer Research, Washington, D.C.; Lorelei Mucci, Sc.D., assistant professor, medicine, department of epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; April 28, 2009, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, online