Taurine, the ingredient most famously linked to energy drinks, may help reduce levels of acrylamide in foods, suggests new research from Korea.
French fries exposed to a taurine solution prior to frying contained 96 per cent less acrylamide than control fries, according to new data published in Food Research International
“Thus, taurine, when used in a narrow range of reasonably low levels, is a candidate to inhibit acrylamide formation during frying process,” report the researchers from the Korea University, Namyang Dairy Products Co., and the Korea Food Research Institute.
Taurine, a derivative of the amino acid cysteine, if found naturally in foods including seafood and meat. It has gained a certain notoriety by being used as an ingredient in energy drinks, with some national regulators questioning the safety of the ingredient. Taurine is used in energy drinks because some report it helps boost energy – a claim that was rejected by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently.
With regards safety, EFSA’s Scientific Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food found no safety issues for taurine or D-glucurono-y-lactone at average daily energy drink consumption of 0.5 cans.
Since taurine can participate in the Maillard reaction that produces acrylamide, the researchers investigated if taurine could reduce the levels of acrylamide in French fries. They found a dose-dependent reduction in acrylamide levels when French fries were soaked in a taurine-solution prior to frying. Indeed, levels were reduced by up to 96 per cent, depending on the concentration and pH of the solution, said the researchers.
The findings are very promising, and the researchers confirmed that work was continuing in this area.