Browned Off

According to the Geneva Convention’s protocol for “conduct of war”, medical officers are not allowed to shoot anyone, including the enemy and dentists. Creates extra work. The enemy in turn is not allowed to shoot at us, which is why we paint our vehicles with a big Red Cross that, from afar, resembles a bull’s eye. But in the unlikely event that we are attacked by the enemy/unhappy patients who might confuse us for dentists, we are instructed on the use of a sidearm. As officers we use the Browning semi-automatic. 

At our one and only military doctor’s shooting session, the female medical officer standing beside me was having problems hitting the target, possibly due to the fact that she forgot to remove the safety prior to pulling the trigger. As she waved her Browning about, complaining of not being able to shoot straight, I took appropriate precautions and ducked so that she was now pointing at the female medical officer standing on my other side. With luck they could start pointing at each other while possibly discovering the safety switch. The moral of this poignant war story is that Brownings are dangerous. We know that browning of the skin under the cancerous rays of UV light is dangerous, Browning semi automatics may cause acute lead poisoning and now we learn that the browning of food could be hazardous to your health. 

Imagine a country with no McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s (the restaurant) or any other fervid fryers of French fries. Recent really relevant research reveals that a substance called ACRYLAMIDES are formed by frying or baking foods that are heavily laden in carbohydrates. Boiling or eating a raw potato, for example, will not raise your serum acrylamide level one iota. But fry or bake the same spud and a chemical change comes over this potato that turns it from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Potatohyde. It is now an evil acrylamide and if you eat enough of them then you might…well… we’re not sure. Nobody really knows what acrylamides will do to us, but, with a name that sounds like it could put goosebumps on your goosebumps, we know it can’t be good. If they had given it a nicer name like Reece’s Pieces we probably wouldn’t have worried about it. What is known is that those who are overexposed to acrylamides in the workplace may suffer nerve damage and impaired fertility. Studies done in certain rodents (mice, rats, shortstops) conclude only that acrylamides are carcinogenic to rodents. Speaking of lawyers, one of the California species wants to force McDonalds and Burger King to label all French fries as a carcinogenic health hazard, similar to what is done to cigarettes. But I fear that this would only serve to increase their popularity amongst the invincible high school set. Signs would appear in school NO FRYING IN WASHROOMS. (“I’m sorry kids but you’ll have to eat those outside, this school is a no fry zone.”) Pancakes, chips, cereals, baked cookies etc. are also extremely high in acrylamides. Any carbohydrate baked or fried to a toasty brown will likely be loaded with it. So isn’t this special. Eating has now become a high risk activity that may be hazardous to your health. “Tune into FEAR FACTOR Tuesday night where contestants will raft the Niagara, bungee jump naked over Alligator Alley and eat an entire bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios.”    

The World Health Organization has suggested that this recent finding of acrylamides in our browned carbohydrates is a “cause for concern.” A recent study courtesy of the Dutch has now established a direct link between acrylamide consumption and the nasty ovarian and endometrial (womb) cancers. Clark University research professor Dale Hattis estimates, based on rodent-to-human study correlation, that “acrylamides cause several thousand cancers per year in Americans.” But like any toxin, “the dose makes the poison.” So while we don’t need to start boiling our buns, breads and bagels just yet, we should exercise common sense and keep our acrylamide ingestion down to a few browning points. Perhaps this is another reminder that supersize could mean supercoronary and superchemo. 

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