Cancer, like most health topics, can be controversial. The causes, the cures, the statistics are all put on the chopping block constantly and are ever changing as well. One day you hear that refined sugar is toxic and feeds cancer. The next day you hear that there is no difference between high fructose corn syrup and a less refined sugar, and both can be consumed safely.
What should we make of all of these contradictory recommendations on how we should eat and live our lives in this modern world? One thing is for certain, there are many sources of information out there and weeding through it all is no easy task.
I do not wish to add to the confusion by creating my own list of toxic foods and the dos and don’ts of nutrition. But I would like to somewhat dissect the many culprit foods we have been told contribute to the development and proliferation of this many faceted and complex disease we so flippantly call by one name: Cancer.
16 Cancer-Causing Foods To Avoid
Here are 16 foods we have been told cause cancer and why they may contribute to the chronic and often deadly disease.
1. Hydrogenated Oils
Hydrogenated oils contain trans fats. Trans fat is known to cause cancer, heart disease, and immune system problems. Even the FDA says that trans fats are not generally regarded as safe (GRAS) like they previously thought.
2. Potato Chips
French fries and potato chips are fried in hydrogenated oil and then heavily salted. Foods like french fries and potato chips that are heated above a certain temperature produce high levels of acrylamide. The National Cancer Institute says that acrylamide increases the risk of cancer. Potatoes are also high on the list of pesticide ridden produce.
3. Microwave Popcorn
Microwave popcorn contains perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Exposure to this chemical markedly increases the risk of cancers of the kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas and testicles as found in various studies on both humans and animals.
4. Processed Meats
Processed meats like bacon, luncheon meats, hot dogs, and sausages are believed to dramatically increase risk of pancreatic cancer according to a study by the University of Hawaii. Hot dogs commonly contain non-naturally occurring sodium nitrite, a cancer causing ingredient that the USDA has been trying to prohibit for decades.
5. Red Meat
Red meat has long been blamed for increased cancer risk. A recent study illustrates how a molecule called Neu5Gc, a sialic acid, becomes part of our own cells when we consume red meat and is attacked by our immune system, resulting in inflammation and a greater risk for cancer. Grass-fed organic beef counteracts this risk due to its high content of conjugated linoleic acids that can actually prevent certain cancers.
6. Farmed salmon
Farmed salmon is often laden with cancer causing toxins like pesticides, antibiotics, PCBs, mercury, and flame retardants according to a study by The University at Albany. You can still reap the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids that salmon usually provides by choosing wild salmon without those contaminants.
7. Diet foods
Diet foods are packed with artificial colors, sweeteners and flavors. The National Cancer Insitutue determined that saccharine causes cancer in lab rats. The Center for Science in the Public Interest says the three most widely used food dyes, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are contaminated with known carcinogens. Red dye 3 was slated a carcinogen by the FDA years ago and is still in our food supply.
8. Refined White Flour
Refined white flour is bleached and residue of the chemicals in the bleach remain in the food. It also unsettles the blood sugar balance inside our body and can lead to increased production of insulin. Some believe this feeds cancer cells.
9. GMO Foods
GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are now found in a large percentage of our food supply. Many GMO foods can withstand heavy doses of the pesticide glyphosate found in RoundUp. Some are engineered to contain toxins that kills pests. Some studies show GMOs cause rapid tumor growth in lab rats. Recently glyphosate has been linked to birth defects, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and intestinal problems.
10. Refined Sugar
Refined sugar is said to be a hazard because it is produced from GMO sugar beets. It also rapidly spikes insulin levels. CNCA health warns this, in turn, feeds cancer cells.
11. Canned Tomatoes
Canned tomatoes in bisphenol A lined cans are believed to increase cancer risk. The acid in thetomatoes strips the BPA off of the cans and into your meal.
12. Foods High In Nitrates
Foods high in nitrates do not necessarily cause cancer. But these chemicals change once they are inside the body into N-nitroso composites, which are associated with an increased risk of developing cancers.
13. Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial Sweeteners, especially aspartame, has chemicals that break down in the body into a deadly toxin called DKP. Your digestive system processes this chemical, and in turn it produces chemicals that can cause cancer, especially brain tumors.
Alcohol use is a leading and preventable cause of cancer. Excessive drinking can result heart failure, stroke, and sudden death. The WHO has stated that excessive consumption alcohol is the leading cause of mouth, esophagus, liver, colon, mouth, rectum, and breast cancers.
15. Conventionally Grown Fruit
Conventionally grown fruit is laden with threatening pesticides such as atrazine, organophosphates, and high nitrogen fertilizers. Atrazine causes severe problems in our reproductive organs. It is banned in Europe but is still used here in the United States.
Soda is high in fructose, a sugar believed to be a serious cancer offender as well. It contains the caramel color known as a carcinogen. Soda acidifies our body and causes cancer cells to multiply. Sodas are a source of empty calories, cause weight gain and contribute to obesity. Drinking large quantities of this easily absorbed sweetener causes your blood sugar to spike, leading to both insulin resistance and inflammation.
While it may be difficult to avoid all of these foods all of the time, we can definitely make choices that reduce our risk of developing cancer from their consumption.