It could be you just got back from shopping for groceries and you came back with a big sack of potatoes and the thing that comes to your mind is to store them in the fridge.
Not so fast, you may want to reconsider after reading this. When it comes to potatoes, sticking them in the refrigerator could increase your risk of cancer! The colder temperature of a fridge can help to convert the starch in potatoes into sugar. Then, when you bake or fry the potatoes at temperatures above 250ºF, those sugars combine with the amino acid asparagine and produce a chemical called acrylamide, according to the American Cancer Society.
According to the National Cancer Institute, Acrylamide is a chemical that is used to make paper, dyes, and plastics, as well as to treat drinking water and sewage. Perhaps, the most obvious way people are exposed to acrylamide is through smoking, but it’s also found in foods such as French fries and potato chips, crackers, bread, cereals, and coffee.
So the big question is how dangerous is acrylamide? Research in mice has shown that the chemical increased the subjects’ risk of cancer. Studies in humans have not yet demonstrated consistent evidence that exposure to acrylamide through diet raises the risk of cancer, but there have been mixed results about kidney, endometrial, and ovarian cancer.
While mice and humans metabolize acrylamide at different rates, experts have classified the chemical as a carcinogen based on studies of lab animals that ingested acrylamide in drinking water.
The good news? Studies have shown that not refrigerating potatoes and decreasing cooking time to avoid browning can reduce acrylamide content. Experts recommend keeping them out of the fridge, storing them in a cool, dry place, such as a cabinet or pantry, and just cooking them lightly.