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View Full Version : Starbucks mugs, acrylamide in coffee


Garrett Smith
12-07-2007, 10:07 AM
Wow, I thought this was really interesting:

Defective Starbucks coffee mugs (http://drbenkim.com/starbucks-mug-recall-burn-hazard.html)

Acrylamide in coffee and tons of other foods (http://drbenkim.com/articles-acrylamide.html)

Listen up, coffee-pounding PMenu IFers:
The top 20 foods by average acrylamide intake by the U.S. population are as follows:


French Fries (made in restaurants)
French Fries (oven baked)
Potato Chips
Breakfast Cereals
Cookies
Brewed Coffee (I'd assume that the darker the roast and the higher temp that the coffee is made with, the higher the acrylamides within)
Toast
Pies and Cakes
Crackers
Soft Bread
Chile con Carne
Corn Snacks
Popcorn
Pretzels
Pizza
Burrito/Tostada
Peanut Butter
Breaded Chicken
Bagels
Soup Mix

Holy cow (mostly paleo) foods:

Sunsweet Prune Juice--239
Pastene Imported Pitted Ripe Olives, Extra Large--798
Trader Joe's Veggie Chips Potato Snacks--1970 (!!!, most potato chips are outrageous, but this doubles even the other high ones!)
Terra Exotic Vegetable Chips--828 (sorry Steve!)
Blue Mesa Grill Sweet Potato Chips--4080 (ack!, no more TJ's sweet potato chips for me!)

Now, I'll admit that I haven't done a whole lot of research into what "toxic" doses of acrylamide are, so take the numbers above FWIW. The sweet potato chips, on a cursory glance, were the highest on the entire list. Ouch.

Now I have even more reason to continue taking my N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) on a daily basis. From a quick search of Pubmed under "acrylamide vitamin" came this:

Metabolism of acrylamide to glycidamide and their cytotoxicity in isolated rat hepatocytes: protective effects of GSH precursors. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=16699760&ordinalpos=7&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsP anel.Pubmed_RVDocSum)

GSH precursors such as N-acetylcysteine and methionine provided significant anti-cytotoxic effects on the decrease of GSH content and cell viability of hepatocytes induced by GA and AA.


For now I'll definitely be adding the acrylamide issue as a serious one to my list of toxic components of the nightshades (cooked potatoes, in general, destroy everything else in average acrylamide content).

sarena kopciel
12-07-2007, 11:18 AM
Ouch, big ouch. But the only thing I eat off that list (er drink) is coffee. Now I cant have that either Dr G? What about organic beans I brew at home, are they ok? So an occass Starbucks needs to go?:confused:

Garrett Smith
12-07-2007, 12:49 PM
Calling Mr. Wolf...hormesis alert!

Sarena, I'm going to need to look up this article in full, maybe Robb already has it...

Nutritional hormesis. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=16885926&ordinalpos=5&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsP anel.Pubmed_RVDocSum)

Maybe coffee will be a small enough dose as to be beneficial. Too much, taken everyday, might be too much for optimal health. Then again, Paleo no-nightshade eaters might get a low enough dose to not really be concerned, as they aren't eating a lot of high-carb items in general.

Also, like I mentioned, the lighter the roast and the less heat used in brewing (from what I've gathered from the coffee snobs, no offense intended, is that a drip coffeepot is "lower heat", which would be better in an acrylamide sense), the less acrylamide would be present. Also, the lighter the roast, while containing more caffeine, also contains more antioxidants (from being less oxidized!).

I'd avoid Starbucks anyway, they're all "corporation-y". I find their coffee in general to be extremely bitter, and I'm about as far from a coffee snob as there is.

As for organic, I don't know if that would make a difference.

I'm currently using the Colombian Peaberry beans from TJ's. Medium roast, and I make it in a drip coffeepot. It's good stuff to me!

sarena kopciel
12-07-2007, 01:23 PM
Calling Mr. Wolf...hormesis alert!

Sarena, I'm going to need to look up this article in full, maybe Robb already has it...

Nutritional hormesis. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=16885926&ordinalpos=5&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsP anel.Pubmed_RVDocSum)

Maybe coffee will be a small enough dose as to be beneficial. Too much, taken everyday, might be too much for optimal health. Then again, Paleo no-nightshade eaters might get a low enough dose to not really be concerned, as they aren't eating a lot of high-carb items in general.

Also, like I mentioned, the lighter the roast and the less heat used in brewing (from what I've gathered from the coffee snobs, no offense intended, is that a drip coffeepot is "lower heat", which would be better in an acrylamide sense), the less acrylamide would be present. Also, the lighter the roast, while containing more caffeine, also contains more antioxidants (from being less oxidized!).

I'd avoid Starbucks anyway, they're all "corporation-y". I find their coffee in general to be extremely bitter, and I'm about as far from a coffee snob as there is.

As for organic, I don't know if that would make a difference.

I'm currently using the Colombian Peaberry beans from TJ's. Medium roast, and I make it in a drip coffeepot. It's good stuff to me!

Thanks for update Dr G and thanx for package too! Pls keep me posted about the coffee. Funny isnt it--I never ever drank coffee until I started CFing!
And now me wants my cup or two (never more) a day! Just bought a new Cuisinart coffee pot today (in the am)!!

Also forwarded this article to my pregnant daughter. Thanks for keeping us so informed!!

Kevin Perry
12-07-2007, 02:19 PM
Calling Mr. Wolf...hormesis alert!

Sarena, I'm going to need to look up this article in full, maybe Robb already has it...

Nutritional hormesis. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=16885926&ordinalpos=5&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsP anel.Pubmed_RVDocSum)

Maybe coffee will be a small enough dose as to be beneficial. Too much, taken everyday, might be too much for optimal health. Then again, Paleo no-nightshade eaters might get a low enough dose to not really be concerned, as they aren't eating a lot of high-carb items in general.

Also, like I mentioned, the lighter the roast and the less heat used in brewing (from what I've gathered from the coffee snobs, no offense intended, is that a drip coffeepot is "lower heat", which would be better in an acrylamide sense), the less acrylamide would be present. Also, the lighter the roast, while containing more caffeine, also contains more antioxidants (from being less oxidized!).

I'd avoid Starbucks anyway, they're all "corporation-y". I find their coffee in general to be extremely bitter, and I'm about as far from a coffee snob as there is.

As for organic, I don't know if that would make a difference.

I'm currently using the Colombian Peaberry beans from TJ's. Medium roast, and I make it in a drip coffeepot. It's good stuff to me!

Hey now I work at Starbucks :( don't hate. Of course, I don't get along with the snoby coffee drinkers and have come close to getting fired for it multiple time. I like my coffee mug and occasional late.

Garrett Smith
12-07-2007, 03:35 PM
Kevin,
Didn't mean to hate--I just don't really like their coffee (unless I need a big caffeine zap!) and I prefer local coffee shops. Just preferences.

Back to the acrylamide or this will turn into a big coffee thread again...not that I didn't enjoy the last one...

Tony Ferous
12-07-2007, 04:41 PM
Its slightly surprising that coffee is up there as all the other foods are high carb.
I always suspect the ac' is formed when baking sweet potatos(180degrees) so i usually boild them, not as tasty obviously!

See this from Dr Ben kim:

http://drbenkim.com/articles-acrylamide-foods.html

Kim Dowse
12-07-2007, 08:43 PM
Hey now I work at Starbucks :( don't hate. Of course, I don't get along with the snoby coffee drinkers and have come close to getting fired for it multiple time. I like my coffee mug and occasional late.

Hey Kevin - I'm a partner as well...in New Mexico! Hmmm...don't think I can give up my french press or shots of espresso.

Garrett Smith
12-08-2007, 06:52 AM
I want to get the original article on nutritional hormesis, so I can see if a daily dose of coffee is over the limit or not...

I'd guess if one was eating lots of veggies and getting their antioxidants, coffee would not be much of a concern.

Seriously, that list is just another nail in the coffin for those on the SAD, sad diet.

Mike ODonnell
12-08-2007, 07:20 AM
What about all the stories of coffee and it's antioxidants? Wouldn't that be a self regulating system? Mercola says Decaf will give you cancer.

Another reason I drink Americano/Expresso...supposedly healthier and contains more antioxidants....in the end...who the hell knows...but I like my Americano...maybe I drop a Vit C tablet in it.....

Steve Liberati
12-08-2007, 10:09 AM
Pastene Imported Pitted Ripe Olives, Extra Large--798
Trader Joe's Veggie Chips Potato Snacks--1970 (!!!, most potato chips are outrageous, but this doubles even the other high ones!)
Terra Exotic Vegetable Chips--828 (sorry Steve!)
Blue Mesa Grill Sweet Potato Chips--4080 (ack!, no more TJ's sweet potato chips for me!)


Damn Dr. G, you are just killing me!! Actually thanks for bringing this to my attention. Guess its time to nix the Terra Chips from the shopping list. Save me a few bucks and maybe a few tumors as well. But boy are they good.

Troy Archie
12-09-2007, 03:54 PM
To start off with I'm a certified coffee geek/snob. I work as a barista at a roaster/espresso bar that draws in and caters specifically to coffee enthusiasts and geeks. Needless to say I am jaded towards studies and conclusions like this.

I think we pulled the jump to conclusions mat way too quickly here. Way too many questions to be asked about this especially along the lines of carbohydrates, not just coffee.

"Please remember that raw or boiled potatoes test negative or very low for acrylamide. Acrylamide is formed in substantial quantities when starchy foods are fried or baked at high temperatures."

Ok, so the main cause of the high Acrylamide levels in these items appears to be the high temperatures associated with processing them. So what about baked potatoes then? Are they high in Acrylamide? Could the same be said for baked yams and squashes. I love wrapping up veggies like cauliflower, celery, onions, cabbage and roasting them in the oven. Are they high in Acrylamide then? Or are they void because of their lower carb/starch values?

Onto the issue of coffee now, Iíd be really interested in knowing further details about the roast profiles associated with this high Acrylamide level. If the levels are high in coffee then we can assume that it perhaps isnít necessarily the starch/carb levels associated with the item (as coffee contains no/trace amounts of carbs) but perhaps the heat involved. Would there be then a high Acrylamide level in say a burnt steak or over cooked meat or again roasted veggies?

Starbucks burns the shit out of their coffee. Why? Because they buy low-grade beans. Roasting the beans to an extremely high temperature then destroys and hides any imperfections in the coffee but also destroys any perfections and wonderful little bits of flavor and aroma that gives a certain coffee from a certain part of the world, distinct notes that makes it special. Roasting coffee at high temperatures just makes all coffee taste the same regardless of its region of origin. Coffee is just like wine that way. So the same can be said for beef, you buy a $5 steak and $30 steak, burn the shit out of both of them and youíll be hard pressed to find the difference. Coffee is not meant to be burnt. Itís also a perishable item just like green veggies but with a little bit longer shelf life, usually about 3 weeks post roast and yes Iíve seen coffee mold. From there it goes stale and loses many of its wonders. Thereís my little coffee rant. Sorry.

"While I can understand the decision to drink coffee in rare circumstances - like on a day when you are sleep deprived and need to be as alert as possible to drive - I believe that the acrylamide issue alone makes coffee a poor food choice.Ē

This person doesnít know anything. Coffee is more than just a caffeine delivery system.

ďThe bottom line is that regular coffee drinkers have a higher risk of developing a wide variety of health challenges than people who don't drink coffee on a regular basis."

So do vegetarians. Itís easy to take a look at the statistics of every coffee guzzling, pizza eating, sugar addicted American and compare it to those who donít drink coffee, (a demo graph that often quits coffee when they decide to quit the junk foods and start exercising) isnít very scientific. This type of thinking is the same that got us into the whole low fat high carb problem that weíre in right now. Some asshole looked at some statistics and saw that the US ate more fat than other modernized nations and had a higher heart disease rate so automatically assumed it must be fat that is the root cause. He thought wrong.

If coffee makes you happy or, improves your performance or, you LOVE the taste, aroma, flavors and romance that is involved with it or, all of the above, then drink it.

Allen Yeh
12-10-2007, 04:48 AM
Well thought out response.

Mike ODonnell
12-10-2007, 05:03 AM
I wasn't about to give up my Americano......or Guinness.

Garrett Smith
12-10-2007, 10:56 AM
To start off with I'm a certified coffee geek/snob. I work as a barista at a roaster/espresso bar that draws in and caters specifically to coffee enthusiasts and geeks. Needless to say I am jaded towards studies and conclusions like this.

At least we have the conflicts of interest disclosed early...:D

I think we pulled the jump to conclusions mat way too quickly here. Way too many questions to be asked about this especially along the lines of carbohydrates, not just coffee.

"Please remember that raw or boiled potatoes test negative or very low for acrylamide. Acrylamide is formed in substantial quantities when starchy foods are fried or baked at high temperatures."

Ok, so the main cause of the high Acrylamide levels in these items appears to be the high temperatures associated with processing them. So what about baked potatoes then? Are they high in Acrylamide? Could the same be said for baked yams and squashes. I love wrapping up veggies like cauliflower, celery, onions, cabbage and roasting them in the oven. Are they high in Acrylamide then? Or are they void because of their lower carb/starch values?

I would make the assumption that the acrylamide production is related to temperatures higher than boiling, and that the acrylamide content is related to the carbohydrate content in starchy/sugary foods. I would assume that the roasted veggies you speak of would have higher acrylamide content than if they were boiled or steamed, and that acrylamide content would be proportional to the amount of carbohydrates in each vegetable (not necessarily "high" in amount).

Onto the issue of coffee now, Iíd be really interested in knowing further details about the roast profiles associated with this high Acrylamide level. If the levels are high in coffee then we can assume that it perhaps isnít necessarily the starch/carb levels associated with the item (as coffee contains no/trace amounts of carbs) but perhaps the heat involved. Would there be then a high Acrylamide level in say a burnt steak or over cooked meat or again roasted veggies?

OK, so I found this link while searching for "coffee acrylamide":
Reducing coffee's acrylamide may also hit flavour, antioxidants (http://www.beveragedaily.com/news-by-product/news.asp?id=75129&idCat=&k=coffee-acrylamide-antioxidant)

Now I'm slightly confused about what it is in coffee (since it likely isn't the carbohydrates) that makes acrylamide--is it inherent in coffee, or is it produced through roasting? I ask this because as one goes through the article, it is said that "Increasing the roasting degree led to a decrease in acrylamide concentration as well as radical scavenging capacity." So, a darker roast leads to less acrylamide and antioxidants. I understand the reduction in antioxidants, the reduction in acrylamide is confusing based upon how I thought acrylamide comes to be.

Starbucks burns the shit out of their coffee. Why? Because they buy low-grade beans. Roasting the beans to an extremely high temperature then destroys and hides any imperfections in the coffee but also destroys any perfections and wonderful little bits of flavor and aroma that gives a certain coffee from a certain part of the world, distinct notes that makes it special. Roasting coffee at high temperatures just makes all coffee taste the same regardless of its region of origin. Coffee is just like wine that way. So the same can be said for beef, you buy a $5 steak and $30 steak, burn the shit out of both of them and youíll be hard pressed to find the difference. Coffee is not meant to be burnt. Itís also a perishable item just like green veggies but with a little bit longer shelf life, usually about 3 weeks post roast and yes Iíve seen coffee mold. From there it goes stale and loses many of its wonders. Thereís my little coffee rant. Sorry.

Rant taken.

"While I can understand the decision to drink coffee in rare circumstances - like on a day when you are sleep deprived and need to be as alert as possible to drive - I believe that the acrylamide issue alone makes coffee a poor food choice.Ē

This person doesnít know anything. Coffee is more than just a caffeine delivery system.

To Dr. Kim, maybe his suggested use of coffee is as a caffeine delivery system, a "whole-food" based one (better than caffeine pills, I'd say). I'm of the belief that admitting compounds we take in for the drugs that we use them for allows us to better realize when they might be affecting us negatively. People always try to find reasons why their drug of choice can be justified as having positive benefits for them.

ďThe bottom line is that regular coffee drinkers have a higher risk of developing a wide variety of health challenges than people who don't drink coffee on a regular basis."

So do vegetarians. Itís easy to take a look at the statistics of every coffee guzzling, pizza eating, sugar addicted American and compare it to those who donít drink coffee, (a demo graph that often quits coffee when they decide to quit the junk foods and start exercising) isnít very scientific. This type of thinking is the same that got us into the whole low fat high carb problem that weíre in right now. Some asshole looked at some statistics and saw that the US ate more fat than other modernized nations and had a higher heart disease rate so automatically assumed it must be fat that is the root cause. He thought wrong.

Dr. Kim has been treating patients for a long time at his clinic, I doubt he is basing this on simply statistics. He's not a big fan of stimulants in general.

If coffee makes you happy or, improves your performance or, you LOVE the taste, aroma, flavors and romance that is involved with it or, all of the above, then drink it.

I agree. That being said, I also find that the foods that people are most emotionally attached to are most likely the ones affecting their health in the most negative ways.

Considering what I eat on a daily basis--not really high in starchy or sugary carbohydrates--I'm not planning on giving up my ~14 oz. of coffee in the morning. Now I'm simply left with the decision between medium roast and dark roast, based upon acrylamide, antioxidants, and caffeine content.

"Set down the coffee roaster, back away slowly, we don't want any trouble..." :cool:

Garrett Smith
12-11-2007, 04:25 PM
Troy,
I was anxiously awaiting some response.

Mr. Wolf must not be patrolling this forum much these days, being a minor league fitness celebrity and all...