A New Cancer Warning On Your Starbucks

Acrylamide is a known carcinogen.

It’s been in the news recently that Starbucks coffee in California might need to start coming with a cancer warning!  It is no surprise that it came out of a California court since they keep a list of possible carcinogens on file. This particular chemical now in question is acrylamide, which is created when the coffee beans are roasted and stays in the coffee in what is considered a high amount after being brewed.  Acrylamide was actually added to the carcinogen list back in 1990, and there have already been previous lawsuits over it; first over fries in fast food restaurants in 2007, and again in 2008 over bagged potato chips.

So what is acrylamide?

Well, it’s a chemical used to make polyacrylamide and acrylamide copolymers, which is used in several industrial processes.  You’ll find it pop up in production of paper, dyes, plastics, and the treatment of drinking water and wastewater. It is also found in products like caulking, food packaging, and even in some adhesives.  It’s just great thinking about a component of glue and caulking in our coffee. Acrylamide can even be found in high sugar foods like potatoes when they are heated at a high temperature, but mostly it’s found in tobacco smoke.  While tobacco smoke is definitely the number one source of exposure to acrylamide, it’s definitely unsettling thinking that something like that is in the coffee that we drink every day.

Recently there was some research of acrylamide on rats where they gave them the chemical in their drinking water.  The results showed evidence that exposure to the acrylamide increases your risk of kidney damage, hepatocellular insufficiency, and chronic liver disease.  The most  interesting point is that other research studies have actually shown evidence that drinking coffee actually decreases your risk of liver cancer and disease!  It’s not uncommon to have conflicting studies being published with evidence supporting two opposite point and the media only shares half of the story.  This is a great example of why we need to shut off the news and do our own research so we get the whole story and can make an informed decision!

Coffee in and of itself isn’t bad

Now we know what you’re thinking, these things come and go.  They used to say butter and eggs were bad for us, and now they are coming out and saying coffee is bad for us when previous articles touted the health benefits of the morning cup of joe.  Yes, coffee does have health benefits. Studies on regular coffee consumption have shown evidence that it decreases the likelihood of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC, a malignancy of the liver) and chronic liver disease (also known as CLD). Coffee has also been touted to reduce your risk of heart disease, multiple sclerosis, Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and even some cancers like melanoma and prostate cancer. This is probably because coffee is filled with many positive antioxidants such as caffeic acid, caffeine, the chlorogenic acids, eugenol, gamma-tocopherol, isoeugenol, p-coumaric acid, scopoletin and tannic acid. In fact, coffee is the primary source of beneficial, protective antioxidants in the American diet!

Coffee is highly contaminated

However, coffee is also known to be one of the most contaminated crops worldwide! Conventionally grown coffee is heavily sprayed with pesticides, chemicals, and combined with solvents. So if you are going to indulge, make sure to buy and drink organic coffee whenever possible. Although research has shown that most of the pesticides used on coffee are destroyed during the roasting process, we really should not rely on this as a safety measure.

In addition to the pesticides, a review by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, found that drinking very hot beverages might be carcinogenic to humans due to burns on the esophagus. Though at the time there was no relation to the chemical acrylamide, maybe we should consider cold brew instead.  Additionally, most coffees are also filled with loads of sugar, particularly flavored coffees and the creams we put in them.

Let’s face it, how many of us actually drink our coffee black with no sugar added? Sugar is a well known inflammatory substance, especially in large amounts. Frequent coffee consumption can also put your nervous system into a chronic sympathetic state, so between that, the pesticides on the beans, and the sugar loaded frappuccinos it can really mess with your nervous system.

The importance of a healthy nervous system

The nervous system is the power source for your body. Without it our bodies simply just cease to function, and decreasing its flow can really upset your vital systems and major organs.  So when we are presented with options to help maximize its function, whether from drinking or eating organic, cutting back a little on how much coffee we have, or going to see our chiropractor, we should jump at the opportunity.

Chiropractic’s main goal is to help enhance our nervous system by removing misalignments in our spine causing interference to the expression of our bodies’ innate wisdom, much the same way you would straighten a kinked garden hose.  A lot of times people believe that an actual force must be applied to cause subluxations (misalignment of the spine), but you would be shocked by how many subluxations are caused by a simple exposure to chemicals like the acrylamide.  Make sure you see your chiropractor regularly to help relieve the effect these chemicals have on our bodies.

To schedule a complementary spinal health screening call our office at 970-377-3557.

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