Toast, cancer,
Burnt toast and fried potatoes are being linked to cancer. [Representational image]Reuters

So far, scientists had found that starchy food like potatoes are linked to diabetes, obesity and heart disease, but latest research has revealed that these may also be linked with cancer.

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A harmful chemical compound called acrylamide (C3H5NO), known to be a carcinogen, is formed when starch gets burnt. Its exact role in the growth of cancerous cells in the human body is still not clear.

Though tests on animals pointed towards a correlation with humans, the concentration of acrylamide in rats was found to be much higher than the physiological concentration in the human body, Science World Report says.

Acrylamide is said to directly interact with DNA and transform it to cause cancer, according to Cancer Research UK. But there is no strong evidence to support this theory according to scientists at the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Much-loved fast food, fried potatoes and burnt toast, are highly calorific and are known to be a leading cause of obesity, which gives rise to the second-highest cause of preventable cancer, after tobacco.

"They are full of needless calories and obesity is the second leading cause of preventable cancer in the US, just behind tobacco," said Richard Wender, the Chief Cancer Control Officer at the American Cancer Society.

The Food Standard Agency (FSA), UK, has also started a campaign -- Go for Gold -- to educate people to avoid overcooking potatoes, chips and burning toast and follow healthy cooking practices to lower the chances of feeling the ill effects of acrylamide.

"As a general rule of thumb, aim for a golden yellow colour or lighter when frying, baking, toasting or roasting starchy foods like potatoes, root vegetables and bread," FSA advised on its official website.

Despite all these findings, the exact impact of fried potatoes and burnt toast on humans is still imprecise.