Eating Chao Da (Burnt) Food Doesn’t Actually Directly Increase the Risks of Cancer


Last Updated on 2021-10-04 , 4:25 pm

Chao Da, Chao Dah, Chao Ta or Chao Tah, or however you may call it, simply means that it’s burnt. I’m sure this is one situation many would have encountered before:

Mum: Girl ah, why you bake the Bak Kwa until chao da? 

Me: Huh? Chao da then nice mah.

Mum: You siao ah? Don’t eat the chao da part.

Me: Why…

Mum: It’s very toxic, you will get cancer!


Now, is it true that eating burnt food will cause cancer? Let’s delve right into it.

If there’s anything you need to take away from this reading, it’s this: it’s high levels of a compound called acrylamide that leads to an increased risk of cancer.

What is acrylamide?

This is the substance that makes your starchy foods, like bread and potatoes, turn golden in colour when fried, baked, toasted or roasted.

When these foods are cooked at temperatures above 120 degrees Celsius, it will be formed as a result of glucose reacting with asparagine (an amino acid naturally found in starchy foods).

Here’s one rule of cooking – through the colour. Anything from golden to brown means that you’re on the right track, but a huge warning sign for you when it turns black.

How serious is this?

Studies have shown its links with cancer through animal testings and since “it’s carcinogenic in animals, it would be carcinogenic in humans,” according to Donald Mottram, emeritus professor of food chemistry at the University of Reading in the UK.

A Dutch Study

According to BBC News, Dutch researchers quizzed 120,000 people on their eating habits and found that women who ate more acrylamide appeared more at risk.

Out of the 120,000 volunteers, 62,000 women were followed closely for 11 years after their initial questionnaire. Results? 327 of them developed endometrial (womb) cancer, and 300 developed ovarian cancer during the period.

Here’s what you need to know about the findings:

Those who ate 40 micrograms of acrylamide a day – equivalent to half a pack of biscuits, a portion of chips or a single packet of crisps – were 2x as likely to fall prey to these cancers.

How to reduce acrylamide exposure?

The most obvious suggestion would be to reduce your intake of foods high in acrylamide – crisps, chips and biscuits, just to name a few.

Or instead of frying, grilling, roasting or even baking, consider boiling? Boiling will lower the risk because acrylamide is not formed.

Let’s also not forget that there are other factors that lead to cancer, like drinking alcohol.

All in all, just remember that it’s absolutely impossible to eliminate acrylamide from our diet altogether. So, keep a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, and don’t forget to incorporate some exercises into your day-to-day adventures.


Health is wealth, peeps.

Featured Image: William McDill /

Fresh grads, you don’t need any experience to earn up to $4,200 with this “secret”:

Read Also: