Coffee is in the news again. It may soon come with a cancer warning label in California. It does not seem to be giving java drinkers the jitters.
Coffee is more than a drink, it is an experience and a morning ritual for millions of Americans.
The health benefits of drinking coffee are pretty convincing. It has been shown to enhance brain function, lower the risk of dementia and to top it off some say coffee drinkers seem to live longer.
However, acrylamide, a potentially harmful chemical, is formed during the coffee bean roasting process. When you drink a cup you are exposing yourself to the chemical. But the crispy brown crust that makes french fries, fried potatoes and toast so tasty are also hot spots for the chemical. It is found in cookies, crackers, cereal grains and some baby food that contains processed bran. We are also exposed to the chemical through cigarette smoke as well as personal care products and household items. The National Cancer Institute reports, high doses of acrylamide can be harmful in animals, but there is no evidence that small amounts of dietary acrylamide causes harm in humans and people are exposed to substantially more acrylamide from tobacco smoke than from food.
Washington State Health Officer, Kathy Lofy said this is why it is so important to raise the minimum purchase age for tobacco products.
According to a 2014 review of scientific research, the health impacts of acrylamide in food need further research. Bottom line , acrylamide is not a new problem. More than likely it has been around in some form or amount since we began to cook. Given the potential health benefits of coffee, scientists say it is not something you have to cut out just yet.
WA State Department of Health agrees with the FDA’s advice for acrylamide and eating. People should adopt a healthy eating plan, consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2015-2020), that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products; includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and limits saturated fats, trans fats, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
However, if you are still concerned, know this: Dark roasted coffee has less of the chemical than lighter blends and instant coffee has substantially more than the lighter blends combined.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story had an image of the Ladder Coffee logo in error that has since been removed.