Cancer Causing Foods
It’s pretty common knowledge that leading a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition and exercise can help decrease your risk of disease and cancer, but there are also certain foods that can contribute to cancer growth and increased risk for other diseases.
Here’s a list of foods that are thought to increase the risk for developing cancer:
- Processed meats-Eating just 50 grams of processed meat each day (that’s around two slices of ham) can increase the risk of colon cancer by 18 percent, according to the report. The problem comes not just from the meat itself but from the main methods of processing it, which include smoking, curing, or adding salt or preservatives. When cooking certain meats, sodium nitrites combine with natural amines in the meat to form cancer-causing N-nitroso compounds. Avoid sausage, bacon, hot dogs, and ham, due to an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
- Canned goods, especially tomatoes-The lining of almost all canned foods are made with a chemical called bisphenol-A, or BPA. This is shown to cause changes in the way genes work in the brains of rats in some studies. Tomatoes are believed to be exceptionally dangerous due to their high acidity, which seems to cause BPA to leech from the lining of the can into the tomatoes themselves. Currently, FDA doesn’t have specific standards for labeling BPA so simply because a can does not say it has it does not mean that it does not contain BPA. Be safe and avoid cans. Cook fresh or buy glass bottles.
- Microwave Popcorn-Microwave popcorn is loaded with artificial butter, and the fumes from it contain the toxic compound diacytel that is associated with lung cancers,” says professor Eitan Yefenof, PhD, chairman of the Lautenberg Center for Immunology and Cancer Research at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. Also known as a “butter bomb,” diacytel gives popcorn that distinctive buttery flavor and aroma. There’s more: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognizes the perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in microwave popcorn bag linings as “likely” carcinogenic. Make your own popcorn at home the old fashioned way!
- Farmed Salmon-it’s less expensive, but it has the potential to have more cancer-causing compounds than it’s wild counterpart. Salmon is rich in healthy fats known as omega-3 fatty acids, and when consumed in place of a high-fat protein source, it can help control weight. Obesity is a major risk factor for many cancers, so get your weight under control today.
- Charred Meats-Super high temperatures used in the grilling process produce cancer-causing heterocyclic aromatic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are carcinogenic.
- Artificial Sweeteners-Research into the potentially toxic effects of other artificial sweeteners is inconclusive at this point, and more studies are being done. Why take the risk and consume something potentially carcinogenic until further proof is out? Try a natural sweetener like stevia.
- Excessive Alcohol Consumption-According to the National Cancer Institute, clear patterns have emerged between alcohol consumption and the development of head and neck cancer, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, breast, and colon cancer. If you’re not ready to quit completely, cutting back is a good way to start.
- Trans fat-When manufacturers turn liquid oils into solid fats, in a process called hydrogenation, trans fats are formed. This increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods. Trans fats can be found in a laundry list of foods including vegetable shortening, margarine, crackers, cereals, candies, baked goods, cookies, granola bars, chips, snack foods, salad dressings, fats, fried foods, and many other foods. Potato chips are fried in high temperatures to make them crispy but this also causes them to make a material called acrylamide, a known carcinogen that is also found in cigarettes
- High Glycemic Index Foods-Consuming foods with a high glycemic index (those they rapidly elevate blood sugar levels), was found to potentially increase risk of developing lung cancer in non-Hispanic whites, according to a study from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. High GI foods are white breads and bagels, corn flakes, and puffed rice, so stick to lower GI foods like brown rice, steel cut oats, and whole wheat bread.
- Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs): The rapidly growing industry of genetically modified crops are infiltrating our food supply at an alarming rate. More than 90% of our corn and soy are now genetically modified. This fairly new practice is the source of many debates. Experts agree that adequate testing was not done before GMO foods were added to the ingredient listing of thousands of products. In other words, no one – including the growers and manufacturers of GMO foods – knows the long-term effect they will have on human health. Look for GMO-free labels whenever possible or buy organic (which always means a product is not genetically modified).
- Refined Sugar: The biggest cancer causing food (by far) is high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and other refined sugars. Even brown sugar is highly refined white sugar with some of the removed molasses added back in for flavor and color. Refined sugars (and foods made with them) are the source of major insulin spikes and feed the growth of cancer cells. Since the majority of the sugar supply in the U.S. is made using genetically modified (GMO) sugar beets, a healthier option is organic honey, coconut sugar, or maple sugar. Now that oncologists are using diabetes medication to fight cancer cells, there’s no doubt (finally) that those mutated cancer cells love sugar. Beat your sugar addiction here!
- Soda and Carbonated Beverages: Sodas have been at the center of the health debate for two decades as a major cancer causing food. Filled with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), dyes, and a host of other chemicals, they are very bad for every aspect of your health. They provide zero nutritional value and rob your body of the nutrients you get from other foods. Adding “diet” to the label means you’re also likely consuming aspartame – which is no better than rat poison to human cells.
- Non-organic fruits-Fruits that are non-organic are contaminated with some very dangerous pesticides such as atrazine, thiodicarb, and organophosphates, as well as high nitrogen fertilizers. Atrazine is banned in Europe but still used here. This is a weed killer that causes severe problems in humans, especially in our reproductive capabilities.
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“Top 10 Cancer Causing Foods.” The Truth About Cancer, 8 May 2017, thetruthaboutcancer.com/cancer-causing-foods-2/.
“16 Cancer Causing Foods You Probably Eat Every Day.” NaturalON – Natural Health News and Discoveries, 23 Apr. 2016, naturalon.com/10-of-the-most-cancer-causing-foods/.
Mann, MS Denise. “Cancer-Causing Foods That Cancer Docs Never Eat.” Reader’s Digest, www.rd.com/health/healthy-eating/cancer-causing-foods/1/.