But while the chemical, which forms during high-temperature cooking and frying, has been found to cause cancer in mice, its effects on humans are still unknown. Nevertheless, the FDA announced a plan last September to reduce concentrations of acrylamide in breads, cereals, and potato products. "We're not recommending pregnant and nursing women never touch a chip again," says Michael Jacobson, Ph.D., executive director of the consumer watchdog group Center for Science in the Public Interest, in Washington, D.C. "But it makes sense to limit heavily fried foods."
Can't fight your fry craving? Cut a potato into sticks, spray them with olive oil, and bake them, suggests Samantha Heller, R.D., a nutritionist at New York University Medical Center. Or try to find snacks with lower levels of the chemical. Look up the acrylamide levels in different foods at www.cfsan.fda.gov (select "acrylamide" from the drop-down menu).