Acrylamide, a neurotoxic and potential carcinogen agent, is present in many fried and oven-baked foods such as cookies. It is a by product of a reaction occurring between amino acids and reducing sugars or carbonyl sources when heating food at temperatures higher than 120 °C (Maillard reaction).
Dong Li and co-workers, Zhejiang University, Hangzho, China, demonstrated that the generation of acrylamide can be limited by including antioxidants during food preparation. The researchers examined the ability of sodium erythorbate, tea polyphenols, vitamin E, tert-butyl hydroquinone, and bamboo leaves antioxidant extracts to reduce the amount of acrylamide produced when baking cookies. Although all the antioxidants tested were able to limit acrylamide formation, the strongest effects were achieved when using bamboo leaves extracts and vitamin E.
These two substances, moreover, did not alter cookies’ sensory qualities. Hence, they are valuable food additives to contrast acrylamide generation.
- Study on Mitigation of Acrylamide Formation in Cookies by 5 Antioxidants,
D. Li, Y. Chen, Y. Zhang, B. Lu, C. Jin, X. Wu, Y. Zhang,
J. Food Sci. 2012.