Fried = Cancer? Maybe not…

July 26, 2011 – Chips (aka French Fries), samosas and chicken; Kenyans love their fried foods! Maybe it’s the addictive crispy texture or simply the pretty glistening sheen that catches our eyes?

Newsflash – I hope this isn’t the first time you’ve heard this, but unfortunately researchers have found carcinogenic chemicals such as acrylamide in fried foods that potentially are cancer-causing.

Acrylamide has been the subject of research fury, and since April 2002 when the first research reported potentially cancer-causing chemicals were found in fried foods, more research has confirmed that acrylamide is found in many high-carbohydrate foods that have been prepared at high temperatures.


Does Acrylamide Cause Cancer?

Researchers believe that acrylamide has been part of our diets for hundreds and maybe even thousands of years – probably since our ancestors used heat to cook food.

So if for generations we’ve been preparing our food the same way, does that mean researchers have simply become paranoid?

Animal studies show that large exposures to acrylamide may cause damage to the nervous system and increased risk of cancer. However, the acrylamide that we ingest through our food supply is just a small fraction of the levels of exposure used in laboratory studies.


The Verdict

Since Swedish researchers broke the news about acrylamide and it’s potentially cancer-causing properties in 2002, no conclusive research shows that acrylamide will cause cancer in humans.

However, even if research does not show acrylamide in fried foods are cancer-causing, it certainly makes sense to limit our exposure to this chemical.

Generally, fried foods are high in fat and saturated fat, which is very bad for your health. Fried-anything should not be a major part of your diet regardless of acrylamide content unless it’s not fried and soaked in oil.

Other Options

Available in Kenya from July 2011, you can now fry your food without the oil. The Philips AirFryer uses their patented Rapid Air technology to fry food.

For someone who loves to cook and fears the cancer-causing debate, such as myself, I have to say, the AirFryer sounds pretty cool.

AirFyrer was tested in the countries where the French Fry originated, France and Belgium. Remarkably, two thirds of the people that were polled preferred AirFryer fries than another leading brand. You can even make chicken nuggets!

Give this AirFryer recipe a try, and tell me how authentic your fried-food experience was without soaking your food in the dreadful oil.




1 egg yold
100g feta
2 tablespoons flat-leafed parsley, finely chopped
1 green onion, finely sliced into rings
Black pepper
5 sheets of frozen filo pastry, defrosted
2 tablespoons olive oil


1. Beat the egg yolk in a bowl and mix the feta, parsley and green onion, season with pepper to taste.
2. Cut each sheet of filo pastry into three strips.

3. Scoop a full teaspoon of the feta mixture on the underside of a strip of pastry. Folk the tip of the pastry over the filling to form a triangle, folding the strip zigzag until the filling is wrapped up in a triangle of pastry. Fill the other strips of pastry with feta in the same manner.

4. Preheat the Airfryer to 200°C

5. Brush the triangles with a little oil and place five triangles in the basket. Slide the basket into the Airfryer and set the timer to 3-5 minutes. Bake the feta triangles until they are golden brown.