Eating Too Much of Certain Foods May Increase Cancer Risk
It’s difficult to prove that certain foods cause cancer. However, observational studies have repeatedly indicated that high consumption of certain foods may increase the likelihood of developing cancer.
1. Refined Sugar, Soda and Carbonated Beverages
Processed foods that are high in sugar and low in fiber and nutrients have been linked to a higher cancer risk. The biggest cancer causing food (by far) is high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and other refined sugars. Refined sugars are the source of major insulin spikes and feed the growth of cancer cells. In particular, researchers have found that a diet that causes blood glucose levels to spike is associated with an increased risk of several cancers, including stomach, breast and colorectal cancers. Higher levels of insulin and blood glucose can contribute to inflammation in your body. This may be why people with diabetes have an increased risk of certain types of cancer. Nowadays oncologists are using diabetes medication to fight cancer cells.
2. Processed Meat
Processed meat refers to meat that has been treated to preserve flavor by undergoing salting, curing or smoking. It includes hot dogs, ham, bacon, chorizo, salami and some deli meats.
Observational studies have found an association between consuming processed meat and an increased cancer risk, particularly colorectal cancer.
3. Overcooked Food/Grilled Red Meat
Cooking certain foods at high temperatures, such as grilling, frying and barbequing can produce harmful compounds like heterocyclic amines (HA) and advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) cotributing to development of colon cancer. To minimize cancer risk, avoid burning food and choose gentler cooking methods, especially when cooking meat, such as steaming, stewing or boiling.
Several observational studies have indicated that high dairy consumption may increase the risk of prostate cancer.
One study followed almost 4,000 men with prostate cancer. Dairy is also associated with increased risk of lung cancer, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer in people with lactose intolerance. More research is needed to determine possible cause and effect.
5. Overweight or Obese
Obesity is linked to increased cancer risk. Other than smoking and infection, being obese is the single biggest risk factor for cancer worldwide. It increases your risk of cancer, including of the esophagus, colon, pancreas and kidney, as well as breast cancer after menopause.
6. Microwave Popcorn
The possible link between microwave popcorn and lung cancer isn’t from the popcorn itself, but from chemicals called perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) that are in the lining of bags.
PFCs have also been used in:
pizza boxes, sandwich wrappers, Teflon pans, other types of food packaging
7. Canned Goods
Most cans are lined with a product called Bisphenol-A (BPA), which has been shown to genetically alter the brain cells of rats. Many plastic goods, thermal paper, water lines, and many dental composites also contain BPA. BPA, a chemical that is known to cause birth defects and has been linked to breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and other serious health problems.
8. Salted, Pickled, and Smoked Foods
These products typically contain preservatives, such as nitrates, which are intended to prolong shelf life. The additives used in processed foods can accumulate in your body over time. When smoked foods are cooked at high temperatures, the nitrates are converted to the much more dangerous nitrites. (Note: By pickled foods we don’t mean the fermented foods you make at home.)
9. White Flour
When flour is refined, nutritional value is decreased. It’s bleached with chlorine gas to make it more appealing to consumers. White flour spikes your insulin levels without providing nutritional fuel. Carbohydrates are converted to sugars by your body, so excessive products that contain white flour can lead to increased insulin resistance. Simple sugars (like refined carbohydrates) are the preferred fuel source for cancer.
10. Hydrogenated Oils
Vegetable oils are chemically extracted from their source, chemically treated, and more chemicals are added to change the smell and taste. They’re packed with unhealthy omega-6 fats and have been proven to alter the structure of our cell membranes. Consumption of high amounts of trans-fatty acid may increase the risk of colorectal neoplasia.
11. Processed meats
At the top of the cancer causing foods list is processed meat. The World Health Organization has classified processed meats including ham, bacon, salami and frankfurts as a Group1 carcinogen which means that there’s strong evidence that processed meats cause cancer. Eating processed meat increases your risk of bowel and stomach cancer. When certain meats are cooked, sodium nitrites combine with natural amines in the meat to form cancer causing N-nitroso compounds.
12. Artificial sweeteners
Cyclamate in combination with saccharin caused bladder cancer in laboratory animals.
13. Excessive amounts of alcohol
Clear patterns have emerged between alcohol consumption and the development of head and neck cancers, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, breast, and colon cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
14. Pickled foods
These foods contain several preservatives and nitrates that can be carcinogenic, consuming large amounts of pickled foods increases your risk for stomach and esophageal cancers, as well as thyroid and ovarian cancers in some women.
15. High-salt foods
Too much salt leads to high blood pressure and has a high association with a greater risk of certain cancers, like cancers of the stomach, nose, throat and pancreas.
16. Artificial flavors
Artificial flavors have been linked to a lot of health disorders, including cancer. The FDA banned artificial flavors ingredients like benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, eugenyl methyl ether, myrcene, pulegone, pyridine, and styrene.